‘Almost hard to believe’: Joe Biden attacks antisemitism on the left in US and UK

Gino Spocchia
·2 min read
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticised anti-antisemitism on the left: REUTERS
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticised anti-antisemitism on the left: REUTERS

Joe Biden has issued criticism against those whose condemnation of Israeli politics veered towards antisemitism.

“Criticism of Israel’s policy is not antisemitism,” the presumptive Democratic nominee for president told donors on Tuesday. “But too often that criticism from the left morphs into antisemitism.”

It comes as Mr Biden’s presidential campaign considers how he can appeal to progressives on the left of the Democratic party, and younger voters in particular, who criticise Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Mr Biden, who was asked about antisemitism among sections of the left in the US and UK, said that whilst antisemitism was “the mother of all conspiracy theories”, Americans had not heard enough about the dangers of the Holocaust happening again.

“So many people forget,” said Mr Biden, “it’s almost hard to believe.”

“Arguably, we haven’t heard enough about the Holocaust because people are still trying to deny its horrible reality,” said Mr Biden on the call transcript sent to The New York Times.

On Monday, his campaign published an action plan on tackling antisemitism in the US that alleged Donald Trump had “emboldened” antisemitism on the right.

“[We have to] fight the pernicious, persistent evil of antisemitism at every level. We need an unequivocal denunciation of this kind of behaviour starting with the president,” continued Mr Biden. “Whatever the source, right, left or centre.”

“People are walking into the state legislative body and in front of her driveway carrying assault rifles, Nazi banners and Confederate flags,” he added. “The president is not saying a word.”

The Democrat, who assured donors that his “commitment to Israel is absolutely unshakable,” admitted that he was disappointed with Prime Minister Benjamin turning “so, so far to the right”.

According to a pool report of the call, Mr Biden called on Israel to “stop the threat of annexation” of West Bank territories because it will “choke off any hope of peace” between Israel and Palestinians.

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Mr Biden reportedly pledged to restore US diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, which have come undone during the Trump administration.

He would not, however, move the United States Embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem after Mr Trump’s controversial decision in 2018.

That move was criticised within academic circles and beyond, and amongst those who have boycotted Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Mr Biden’s campaign states that the BDS movement, which Congress condemned last year, “singles out Israel — home to millions of Jews — and too often veers into anti-Semitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.”