Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman, hosted a roundtable at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the recent surge of antisemitism in the U.S., NPR reports. In a speech, Emhoff warned attendees of an "epidemic of hate facing our country."
"Words matter," Emhoff said. "People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud; they are screaming them."
Several White House officials joined Vice President Kamala Harris' husband, including Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Biden's special envoy to monitor antisemitism; domestic policy adviser Susan Rice; and Director of Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms. Representatives from more than a dozen leaders in the Jewish community attended the event, including representatives from Hillel, the Orthodox Union, and the Anti-Defamation League.
Emhoff had been planning the event for weeks. Still, White House aides say the discussion became more significant in light of a recent surge of antisemitic comments and actions from high-profile people, per CNN. Rapper Ye recently praised Adolf Hitler, the latest in a string of anti-Jewish remarks. Last month, former President Trump came under fire for hosting the rapper and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes for dinner at his estate.
Ambassador Lipstadt told the roundtable that the threat of antisemitism has not been taken seriously enough.
"For too long, Jew-hatred has been belittled or discounted because Jews have erroneously been considered white and privileged," she said. "This is a very real threat to Jews, and that alone would make it worth fighting with all our soul and with all our might."