Biden to Condemn Antisemitism at Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony

President Biden on Tuesday will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance, where he will draw on the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel to amplify concerns about antisemitism in the United States and abroad.

Mr. Biden’s address from Capitol Hill comes during weeks of protests on American college campuses against Israel’s war in Gaza, with students demanding that the Biden administration stop sending arms to Israel. In some cases, the demonstrations have included antisemitic rhetoric and harassment targeting Jewish students.

“You can expect the president to make clear that during these sacred days of remembrance, we honor the memory of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust and recommit to heeding the lessons of this dark chapter. Never again,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said on Monday.

“He will speak to the horrors of Oct. 7, when Hamas unleashed the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust, and he will speak to how, since Oct. 7, we’ve seen an alarming rise in antisemitism in the U.S., in our cities, our communities and on our campuses.”

The speech comes at a critical moment for Mr. Biden, who has struggled to balance his support for Israel’s war against Hamas with outrage over the toll it has taken on civilians in Gaza. Jewish groups have been pressuring the administration to take firmer actions to combat antisemitism.

On Tuesday, the administration will release new guidance from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to every school and college in the country, outlining examples of antisemitic discrimination, as well as other forms of hate, that could lead to investigations for violations ofthe Civil Rights Act. The landmark legislation prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin, and the department has interpreted it as extending to Jewish students.

Since the Oct. 7 attack, the department has opened more than 100 investigations into complaints about antisemitism and other forms of discrimination under Title VI.

For months, Mr. Biden has faced fierce criticism over his support for Israel, even from within his own party; some protesters have branded him “Genocide Joe.”

Ms. Jean-Pierre said that during his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Biden would also reaffirm the administration’s commitment to “respect and protect the fundamental right to free speech,” but emphasize that “there is no place on any campus, or anywhere, for antisemitism.”

The protests have led to police raids and arrests on several campuses and have spilled into the start of graduation season.

Mr. Biden has walked a tightrope in responding to the campus protests, denouncing violence and harassing behavior while also trying to acknowledge the anger over the conditions in Gaza. Health officials there say the death toll has surpassed 34,000 Palestinians, and humanitarian agencies have warned that the besieged enclave is on the brink of famine.

“There’s the right to protest but not the right to cause chaos,” Mr. Biden said last week in his first in-depth remarks on the campus demonstrations. “People have the right to get an education, the right to get a degree, the right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked.” Antisemitism, he added, “has no place” in America.

Ms. Jean-Pierre said on Monday that Mr. Biden understood it was an “incredibly painful time” and that he respected Americans’ right to protest — but reiterated his position that vandalism, trespassing and forcing the cancellation of graduations did not apply.

“The president understands how important this moment is,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

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