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Second gentleman Doug Emhoff to host roundtable focused on antisemitism

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will host a roundtable with Jewish leaders and White House officials Wednesday to discuss the rise of antisemitism in the United States and efforts to combat hate in the country.

Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Harris, is the first Jewish spouse of a vice president.

The event has been in the works for weeks but takes on added significance in the wake of former president Donald Trump’s recent dinner at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and the rapper Ye, who has been spouting antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories in recent weeks.

According to the White House, other participants joining Emhoff will include Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser; Deborah Lipstadt, special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism; and Keisha Lance Bottoms, senior adviser to the president for public engagement and the former mayor of Atlanta.

The gathering will also include 13 Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress and Jewish on Campus, according to CNN, which first reported Emhoff’s plans.

Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, a leading global Jewish advocacy organization, thanked the White House for organizing the roundtable, given how long the group has advocated for a gathering on rising antisemitism and hate crimes.

“Antisemitism is not a problem for the Jewish community alone. Venomous hate targeting Jews threatens American society, indeed our democracy,” said Deutch, the former Florida Democratic congressman who recommended Biden appoint a task force to develop an action plan to address antisemitism.

“By convening this important roundtable, the Biden Administration has demonstrated that it recognizes the severity of the problem and is committed to taking additional steps, in partnership with the Jewish community, to more effectively confront antisemitism in all its forms.”

A White House advisory gave no indication that President Biden would attend, but he has spoken out against antisemitism in recent days.

On Friday, in a tweet seemingly directed in part at Trump, who has not disavowed his dinner guests, Biden wrote: “The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity.”

Last week, Elon Musk said he suspended Ye’s Twitter account after he shared an image of a swastika combined with the Star of David. The Twitter suspension was part of the continued fallout for Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after he began making frequent antisemitic comments online and in interviews, which also caused him to lose multiple lucrative business deals.

The suspension followed an interview with far-right Infowars founder Alex Jones that sparked an uproar Thursday after Ye said, “I like Hitler.”

In a retweet of a clip from the interview, before Musk announced his suspension, Ye promoted his appearance, in which he also said: “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.” He sent the swastika image in a separate tweet.

During the talk with Jones, alongside Fuentes, Ye also said, “I see good things about Hitler,” and denied that Adolf Hitler, as leader of the Nazi party, oversaw the murder of 6 million Jews.

Emhoff said Friday on Twitter that spreading lies encourages antisemitism. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were more than 2,700 antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2021 — an all-time high.

“I’m in pain right now,” Emhoff tweeted. “Perpetuating lies, such as the denial of the Holocaust, and praising fascist murderers, is dangerous and fans the flames of antisemitism and hate.

“We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts,” the Georgetown University Law Center professor added. “We must not stay silent.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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