February 28, 2023
American Jewish Committee (AJC) today convened a meeting at the White House of antisemitism envoys from around the world as part of the efforts of an interagency group created by President Biden to build a national strategy to combat antisemitism.
The envoys were welcomed to the White House by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who delivered opening remarks. Also present were Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, Shelley Greenspan, White House liaison to the Jewish community, Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and other senior officials.
“At a time of rising antisemitism, and when AJC’s survey shows over 40% of Jews feel less secure, we are grateful that the President has done more than acknowledge that there is a problem,” AJC CEO Ted Deutch said. “Today's meeting at the White House will ensure that the United States is in a better position to deploy best practices from abroad in its efforts to create a national strategy to fight antisemitism.”
The envoy meeting follows a December roundtable at the White House hosted by Emhoff, where Deutch urged the Biden administration to implement recommendations from AJC’s Call to Action Against Antisemitism in America, including ensuring interagency coordination and creating a national strategy to fight antisemitism. That strategy, announced on Dec. 12, is the first order of business for this interagency group tasked with fighting hate and related forms of bias and discrimination within the U.S.
AJC, the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, has worked with other nations to help create their own strategies to combat antisemitism.
“Antisemitism is a 2,000-year-old problem,” said Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life. “We need to make sure the commitment to fight antisemitism and national action plans are long-term and are not politicized.”
The envoys, who work closely with AJC, joined Deutch, AJC International Jewish Affairs Director Rabbi Andrew Baker, and U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism Holly Huffnagle, at the White House. Along with von Schnurbein they included:
- Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism. Klein is also an alumnus of Project Interchange, an AJC institute that brings global decision-makers to Israel to learn about its reality and complexity for themselves.
- Lord John Mann, Advisor to the Government on Antisemitism, United Kingdom
- Eddo Verdoner, Netherlands’ National Coordinator for Countering Anti-Semitism
- Oystein Lyngroth, Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief and Head of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance delegation in Norway
- Fernando Lottenberg, Organization of American States (OAS) Commissioner for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism
AJC leaders will also accompany the envoys to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress. Some of the envoys will travel to Miami and Los Angeles to meet with local officials and Jewish leaders.