U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and Special Representative on Antisemitism, Racism and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, praised President Joe Biden today for his ongoing engagement in pushing back against hate-based violence and for answering the call from Congress and others to develop a unified, national strategy to counter antisemitism.
On Tuesday, December 13, Senator Cardin is chairing a hearing of the Helsinki Commission on "The Alarming Rise in Antisemitism and its Threat to Democracy" in the OSCE region, which includes the United States. Witnesses are the State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, and Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on Combating Antisemitism and Director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
"Antisemitism is a danger to America and our national security. It erodes public trust in democratic institutions and the rule of law. Long intertwined with bogus conspiracy theories and outright lies, antisemitic hate, intentional disinformation and related violence are on the rise once again. The numbers, a small snapshot of which were released today by the FBI as part of its annual hate crimes report, are cause for great concern. As a nation, we cannot allow antisemitism -- or any other type of prejudice or intolerance -- to be normalized.
"I appreciate that President Biden has encouraged a "whole-of-society' response to prevent, respond to, and recover from hate-fueled violence, and to foster national unity. We all must take a stand in this fight against hate. Instances of antisemitism need to be addressed publicly or the perpetrators will be emboldened. I would encourage other leaders throughout our nation to reject antisemitism and return Holocaust deniers and haters to the shadows rather than grant them national spotlights to peddle their malicious tropes.
"Two weeks ago, I convened a working group with high-level officials from across the government -- including the White House, DOJ, DHS, State -- and the non-profit sector who are actively engaged in countering antisemitism. This dialogue and call for better coordination was followed by a White House meeting hosted by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Last week, I was proud to join my colleagues, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Jim Lankford (R-Okla.) on a bicameral letter to the president reiterating our call for a unified national strategy against antisemitism.
"I believe coordination is essential -- Congress included. As events occur, creating a timely, centralized forum for agencies to share information with Congress, key stakeholders -- and each other -- will strengthen our response to future antisemitic and hate-based activity. I look forward to working with President Biden and his administration on building an effective, unified national strategy based on strengthening education, protecting public safety, training law enforcement and data collection, coalition building with other groups, and above all, public leadership."