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Biden forms inter-agency body to combat antisemitism, Islamophobia

Move comes amid an uptick in hate speech from high-profile figures
US President Joe Biden speaks in Roosevelt Room of the White House, on 13 December 2022 in Washington, DC (AFP)

The Biden administration on Monday formed a new inter-agency body to combat antisemitism, amid reports of an uptick in antisemitic rhetoric.

The agency will be led by the White House Domestic Policy and National Security councils, and will consult with community leaders, government officials, lawmakers, and activists as it drafts a national strategy to tackle antisemitism and Holocaust denial, the White House said in a statement.

“This strategy will raise understanding about antisemitism and the threat it poses to the Jewish community and all Americans,” the statement said.

According to the press statement, the agency will also counter Islamophobia, though it wasn’t directly mentioned in the introduction or conclusion of the statement.

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Middle East Eye reached out to the National Security Council to see what focus the new agency will place on countering Islamaphobia but didn’t receive a reply by the time of publication.

Like antisemitism, anti-Muslim rhetoric has long existed in the US, where Muslims are five times more likely to experience police harassment because of their religion, compared to those of other faiths, a study by Rice University shows.

Earlier this month, the White House hosted Jewish leaders to discuss what the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris called an epidemic of antisemitism in the United States. Douglas Emhoff, whose official title is the second gentleman, headlined the roundtable.

The Biden administration has stepped up its rhetoric against antisemitism amid a series of high-profile incidents. Former US President Donald Trump hosted a well-known Holocaust denier and rapper Kanye West - who has publicly praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

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