Biden antisemitism czar accuses media of fostering antisemitic views

President Biden’s antisemitism czar Deborah Lipstadt accused the media on Tuesday of unconsciously being complicit in spreading antisemitic views during an interview with the Washington Post, which she called out specifically.

“Governments are standing up to address antisemitism,” she said while discussing what has changed regarding anti-Jewish bias since the 1930s.

“The bad news is that we have not seen that in the whole of society, not to knock my hosts, The Washington Post, or the media in general, and even the Washington Post, to a certain degree, in particular, has fostered that view,” Lipstadt said.

“I’m not suggesting that they consciously spread antisemitism, but when they talk about rich New York City Jews forcing [the New York Police Department] to clear encampments…I worry.”

The event, “The State of Antisemitism,” was moderated by Jonathon Capehardt, an associate editor at The Post. Lipstadt is Biden’s special enjoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, as well as a leading historian on the Holocaust.

During the event, Lipstadt discussed the stark rise in antisemitism since October 7.  According to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the group recorded 7,524 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2023 compared to 3,697 in 2022.

Asked about Lipstadt’s criticism, a Washington Post spokesperson said in an email it “routinely reports on those with power, wealth and influence trying to effect change in politics and policy.”

Lipstadt has previously criticized the media, including during a November press briefing at the State Department, when she said that she has “noticed a strange phenomenon” where journalists only “talk about anti-Semitism within a larger context.”

“I’ve noticed it in other countries as well. Is that when decrying antisemitism, a event or an incident that is clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic, what journalists will often do, and not just journalists, politicians as well, is they’ll decry antisemitism and all sorts of other forms of prejudice,” she said at the time.

Her office did not respond to a request for specifics on which outlets and articles were helping spread antisemitism.

Since October, House Republicans have placed an intense spotlight on college campuses in an attempt to stomp out perceived antisemitism at colleges across the country. Members of Congress, including Speaker Mike Johnson, have visited Columbia and other universities that had large encampments.

The protestors at these universities have insisted that their movement is anti-Zionist and not antisemitic, pointing out that many Jewish students have joined the movement too.

There has also been a rise in Islamophobia in the months since Hamas attacks Israel on Oct. 7.

During Tuesday’s event, Capehardt also asked Lipstadt about the ceasefire deal the U.N. Security Council agreed to yesterday. Lipstadt declined to comment on the specific deal, but said a cessation of violence and peace in the region would help lead to a “leveling off of antisemitism.”

Lipstadt also commented on the surge of far-right parties in Europe in this weekend’s EU parliamentary elections, specifically on those parties’ histories of antisemitism and anti-immigrant rhetoric. And she suggested the involvement of some immigrant students in campus protests could bolster the anti-immigrant agenda.

“There is also a concern in certain places…there are certain places, including in this country, where we see recent migrants, where we see recent arrivals, where we see foreign students engaging in these behaviors which gives fodder to people who want to blame everything on immigrants,” she said.

In recent months, Republicans, including former President Trump and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), have called for the deportation of foreign students in the U.S. who have participated in pro-Palestine protests, should be deported.

Updated: 9:37 a.m. on June 12

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