Pollak: Why Did It Take Joe Biden So Long to Speak Out Against Antisemitism?

Joe Biden checks watch (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

President Joe Biden finally spoke out Monday about a wave of antisemitic attacks across the U.S., days after Jewish groups wrote to him to ask for a more forceful to the response that erupted during the Palestinian Hamas terrorist war with Israel.

Vice President Kamala Harris, married to a Jewish man, but also late to the party, tweeted her own version of the statement:

Biden’s statement was welcomed by Jewish groups and by Israeli politicians. Left-wing Israeli politician Isaac Herzog, who is campaigning for the ceremonial post of president of Israel, called Biden’s statement “an example to the entire world.”

But Biden’s statement came after days of silence — even after Jewish groups had begun speaking out, asking him to respond.

For a week, Pro-Palestinian thugs  attacked Jewish people on the streets of American cities, from Los Angeles to New York. MLS goalkeeper Luca Lewis, who is not Jewish, said he was threatened by Palestinian thugs with knives who asked his religion. A synagogue near Chicago was vandalized on May 16, with a “Freedom for Palestine” poster left behind. Yet Biden was silent.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told MSNBC last week that there had been a “50% surge in anti-Semitic attacks here in the United States from New York City to Los Angeles to Florida to New Jersey to South Carolina.”

Many on the left have been slow to speak out against the violence, partly because they fear damaging the Palestinian cause. Vogue cover model Paloma Elsesser, for example, posted that people should think twice before protesting antisemitism.

Jewish groups, noting the silence of President Biden, wrote a letter to him on Friday urging him to speak out against the violence. But he refrained — despite speaking out against anti-Asian hatred, and against inter communal violence in Israel.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) finally broke his own silence on Friday, after coming under criticism for failing to address antisemitic violence in New York. White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice also spoke out.

But Biden said nothing last week, or over the weekend. As of Monday morning, Press Secretary Jen Psaki has a four-day-old tweet about the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, but nothing about the spate of antisemitic attacks.

Cartoonist-turned-pundit Scott Adams noted the lack of media coverage of Biden’s delay, suggesting that if President Donald Trump had taken this long to acknowledge and condemn antisemitism, the media would have presumed he supported it.

Biden claimed in 2019 that his main purpose in running for president was to oppose antisemitism and bigotry such as was seen on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. He claimed President Donald Trump had equivocated about neo-Nazis shouting antisemitic slogans.

Biden, and the media, claimed that Trump supported bigots, because they were supposedly his voters.

Now Biden must be judged by his own standard. Why did it take him so long? Is it because pro-Palestinian thugs are the Democratic base?

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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