Reconstructing Judaism is a member of the Progressive Israel Network.
PIN Statement on Biden Administration’s Strategy Regarding Antisemitism
The Progressive Israel Network (PIN) welcomes the Biden administration’s national-level plan to fight antisemitism, a plan that demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to confronting this serious threat.
At a time when the threats of far-right extremism and antisemitism have surged in the United States, it’s deeply encouraging to see the White House make this issue a top priority and adopt a nuanced, well-considered and comprehensive approach to supporting and protecting American Jews. The report includes a wide range of critical recommendations for government agencies and bodies to direct substantial resources and efforts towards comprehensively combating antisemitism.
PIN member organizations are gratified that the administration did not focus its strategy solely on the problematic International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and did not seek to formally codify this definition into US law. We have sadly seen this definition and its accompanying examples used by some as a political weapon to quash legitimate criticism and activism directed at Israeli government policies by tarnishing individuals and organizations as antisemitic.
The obsessive focus on the IHRA definition in particular from some Jewish groups has served unhelpfully to focus the debate about antisemitism on parsing criticisms of Israel, instead of on combating the overwhelming threat of violence and hatred coming from the antisemitic extreme right.
In recent weeks, PIN member groups have urged the Biden administration to listen to a wide range of Jewish communal opinion on this issue and to recognize that there is a broader diverse array of tools, resources and definitions available to confront antisemitism in all its forms. We are glad to see that the administration’s final strategy acknowledged multiple important tools as touchstones for this work.
The Progressive Israel Network brings together twelve organizations representing Americans who are committed to pursuing democracy, equality and peace in Israel. The coalition provides a strong, unified voice in support of its members’ common goals: democracy and equal rights, religious freedom and pluralism, and a two-state solution that would secure a peaceful future for Israel and an end to a military occupation now well into its sixth decade.
The Network weighs in on significant challenges that face Israel and the US-Israel relationship. It coordinates campaigns designed to mobilize the majority of American Jews who share its progressive values and goals, supports the work of Israeli progressives, and advocates for the US government to adopt policies that further Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Network fights against US and Israeli policies that promote annexation, entrench occupation, undermine human rights, and corrode liberal democracy in Israel.