At the end of May, the Biden administration released the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism. This document looks at the threat anti-Semitism poses to America, outlines ways the federal government can improve the safety and security of Jewish communities, offers plans for countering anti-Semitic discrimination online, in media, and in schools, and describes the administration’s vision for partnering with various religious and civic groups to address the issue.
The existence of this strategy is both praiseworthy and worrying. Often in Jewish history it has been the very governments to which Jews are subject that themselves fuel or carry out anti-Semitic attacks; now, the government is trying to prevent them. Still, the fact that such a national strategy is now needed is a sign of some disturbing trends in American culture and American public life.
Tevi Troy, a veteran of the American government, recently analyzed the Biden administration’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism in a new essay, called “How to Combat Anti-Semitism,” for the journal National Affairs. Here, he joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to discuss his ideas.
In particular, he wonders if, however, praiseworthy or well-intended the impulse behind this national strategy might be, the federal government has the wherewithal to do any good here. Then, looking a little more deeply into the report, he raises other questions—questions having to do with the definition of anti-Semitism, the strategic conceptions deployed to fight against it, the partners that have been enlisted to help implement these initiatives, and so forth.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.