Aaron Keyak, Jewish Engagement Director at Biden for President, said Friday, “take off your kippah (head covering) and hide your magen david (star of David)” if you fear for your life as a Jew.
Keyak’s comments follow a major increase in antisemitic incidents:
It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your life or physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david. (Obviously, if you can, ask your rabbi first.) https://t.co/Dca2hpfY2s @shirahanau @BenjaminSales
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) May 21, 2021
Jewish and non-Jewish Twitter users criticized Keyak’s recommendation to hide Jewish identity. One woman replied to Keyak, “I wore my Magen David today. It’s a little on the small side. I need a bigger one. And I do fear for my safety in the ‘current climate.'”
One man asked Keyak, “Should I hide my eyes to avoid being targeted for being Asian?”
Comparing Keyak’s statement to victim-blaming, another Twitter user said, “She was wearing an awfully short skirt….”
Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak encouraged self-defense over fear:
The only thing you should conceal (legally) is your firearm.
Second Amendment protects the First. We are not Europe. https://t.co/DwlXWJ6os7
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) May 25, 2021
The Biden Administration passed executive orders in support of gun control. Keyak has made several comments online in support of gun control in the past:
Thank G-d. RT @ap: Senate rejects conservative effort to block debate on post-Newtown gun control bill.
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) April 11, 2013
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) February 13, 2013
Despite receiving backlash from his statement, Keyak doubled down on his position, saying, “It’s important that those who wear kippot (head coverings) don’t feel more pressure to put our lives in unnecessary actual danger.”
In September 2020, Keyak blamed former President Donald Trump for antisemitism in the United States, saying, “We know that Donald Trump’s use of antisemitic tropes has emboldened all those who hate Jews.”
Keyak still serves as the Jewish Engagement Director for Joe Biden for president, according to Bluelight Strategies, the company he c0founded.
President Joe Biden took days to condemn the rise in antisemitic attacks, only doing so on Monday.
As reported by Breitbart News, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said while his organization called out former President Donald Trump at times, “‘none of the people committing’ recent antisemitic attacks ‘were wearing MAGA hats,’ rather, ‘we have people waving Palestinian flags and then beating Jewish people.'”
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators were filmed Thursday as they attacked Jews in Manhattan. https://t.co/0JEvY8zdFK
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 21, 2021
Antisemitic incidents are on the rise globally. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “During the two weeks of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reported to ADL increased by 63% compared to the two weeks before the fighting began, from 126 to 205, according to preliminary data.”
A Twitter analysis by the ADL revealed more than 17,000 tweets between May 7 and May 14, 2021, contained a variation of the phrase “Hitler was right.”
Recent antisemitic incidents reported by Breitbart News include a group in London yelling, “F*** the Jews,” and “Rape their daughters,” as well as a masked pro-Palestinian mob allegedly attacking Jewish diners in Los Angeles and a pro-Israel walk in Illinois being disrupted by protestors yelling “Kill the Jews.”