As Prepared for Delivery:
Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for inviting me here today and hosting us under such challenging circumstances. I am so grateful to be here with my colleague and friend, Secretary Cardona.
My name is Neera Tanden, and I am President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor. In this role, I am so proud to lead our work to counter antisemitism, alongside Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, the first-ever Jewish spouse of an American President or Vice President, and Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall.
This works includes implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which is focused on addressing the scourge of antisemitism in the U.S.
First off, I just want to say, there are no words to describe the horrifying attack on Israel. I am heartbroken by this tragedy.
It was the most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust.
These issues affect us all personally.
I know that many of you may have family and friends in Israel. I know that, for many of you, your minds are probably partly here, and partly there—maybe you are worried for your loved ones.
Many of you are, understandably, scared about the horrific spate of antisemitism we have seen at many college campuses around the country.
Maybe some of you have experienced this antisemitism first-hand.
Unfortunately, we also know that unrest in Israel tend to be associated with a spike in antisemitism here in the U.S.
This is simply unacceptable. Period.
When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, when Jews are held accountable for the actions of the government of Israel, that is antisemitism. And that is unacceptable.
Please know that the Biden-Harris Administration is working around the clock to protect Jewish students and Jewish communities.
This is a major priority for President Biden. He decided to run for President after watching Neo-Nazis march through Charlottesville, Virginia.
And it’s a major priority for me, as President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor.
People who peddle these antisemitic conspiracy theories and fuel hatred against Jews also target other communities. So, our work to counter antisemitism is part and parcel of our broader efforts to counter hate.
We reject all forms of hate—whether against Jews, Muslims, Arabs, or anyone else. As President Biden has said, “That’s what great nations do. And we are a great nation.”
Antisemitism on college campuses was a major problem before October 7. In fact, the Department of Education launched this important Antisemitism Awareness Campaign in May, under our National Strategy. These site visits began in September.
Our urgency and focus on this issue have only deepened over the past four weeks.
In addition to Secretary Cardona and the Department of Education’s work, our Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are leading efforts to make sure that your campus law enforcement is coordinating with state and local law enforcement to keep you safe. They are also providing cybersecurity experts to support universities in assessing online risks.
Today, we are in listening mode. I am so grateful to you all for taking the time to share your experiences, to tell us how you’re feeling, and to let us know how we can support you.
I will turn it back over to Secretary Cardona.