Tell Biden: Pick a Special Envoy that will be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists — not Palestinians and students.
The failed insurrection by Trump’s violent coalition of Proud Boys, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, militia groups, QAnon supporters, and life-long Republican voters must become a turning point in American history.
To win the battle for the soul of our country, our political leaders must strip those who attacked our democracy of their political power. Democratic leaders are already working to impeach Trump and expel the Republicans who attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election; their lies, and their votes continue to empower Trump’s mob.
But President-Elect Biden must ensure that his administration continues the effort being led by Congressional Democrats. His administration must prioritize building long-term structures that can fight and dismantle the far-right and build a multiracial democracy so that everyone in our country can move forward together.
Some actions to take down the far-right and reform our democracy require new legislation or executive orders. But there is something Biden can do right now using the Executive-level appointments he has at his disposal: pick a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism who will be a true leader of this larger effort. Under Trump, too many government leaders claimed to combat antisemitism by protecting the Israeli government from criticism — including by misusing the IHRA definition of antisemitism to go after Palestinians, other people of color, and students — rather than stopping neo-Nazis.
Sign the petition to President-Elect Biden now: Demand that his pick be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists — not Palestinians and students. This action is one step in the larger strategy to make sure that this right-wing violence finally comes to an end.
American Jews can do our part by publicly urging the Biden team to choose a Special Envoy who truly understands the greatest threat against us and actually represents our community. We need a Special Envoy who takes the threat of white nationalist antisemitism seriously and will use the position to fight nationalist extremists, at home and abroad.
The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism is a position in the State Department, appointed by the president, that was first created in 2004. It is the highest-ranking public official in the country tasked with fighting antisemitism. The Trump Administration mostly used this appointment to attack anti-occupation activists and limit criticism of Israel. But with that bully-pulpit, the right Biden appointee can go on offense against the white nationalists who threaten our democracy — extremists whose hatred of Jews exists alongside their racism.
Take action now to tell President-Elect Biden: your pick should be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists — not Palestinians and students.
The white nationalists who marched last week with the intent to hold our political leaders hostage are the same white nationalists who waved Confederate flags in Charlottesville, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” The right-wing militants who attacked the hallowed symbols of our democracy hold the same white nationalist ideology that moved domestic terrorists to massacre Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, Latinx folks at the El Paso Walmart, Black Christians at the Charleston church, and vandalize countless mosques across the country. The insurrectionists are the same people who invaded the Michigan state capitol with semi-automatic guns, used antisemitic tropes in countless shutdown protests, and attacked Black Lives Matter protests in every corner of the country.
There is a direct line between the white nationalist extremists Trump has empowered and those who have used violence to maintain a racist power structure throughout American history: the Europeans whose first act was the genocide of Indigenous people; the southern leaders who seceded from the Union and started the bloodiest conflict in American history in order to uphold the racist institution of slavery; the 1898 coup in Wilmington, NC where white supremacists overthrew a democratically elected multiracial government; the Tulsa Massacre in 1921 when city officials armed white supremacists to destroy Black Wall Street; the 20,000 Nazi-supporters who filled Maddison Square Garden in 1939; the Klan members and White Citizen Councils that bombed churches, lynched Black people with impunity, and attacked civil rights activists.
This is who America is.
But, if Biden leads right now, it is not who America has to be.
One way he can lead is by appointing the right personnel. As we have seen, antisemitism goes hand-in-hand with white supremacy, misogyny, and authoritarianism. We cannot have a democracy that works for all of us if we aren't combating antisemitism; but the person tasked with combatting antisemitism at the highest level must also be committed to combating the anti-Black, misogynistic, xenophobic actors and systems.
That is why we must come together and demand that Biden’s pick for Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism be willing to fight and dismantle the far-right.
As former Congressman Tom Perriello said this week, “People who think that the way forward is to brush this under the rug seem to have missed the fact that there is a ticking time bomb under the rug.”
Biden’s entire presidential campaign was framed around the threat the far-right posed to Black people, Jews, immigrants, and so many others in our country. The first two words in Biden’s campaign announcement video were “Charlottesville, Virginia.” He chose to run for President after Trump uttered his “very fine people on both sides” equivocation between white nationalists and left-wing activists. In that announcement video, Biden said: “In that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”
And, as capitol police were still clearing Trump’s mob last Wednesday, Biden said “Our democracy is under unprecedented assault...The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor, respect, the rule of law.”
There are so many urgent priorities for the Biden Administration to address on January 20th: COVID, our economy, racism, the climate crisis. But, as last week’s failed insurrection showed, if the Biden Administration does not make far-right actors face consequences for their actions and dismantle their violent infrastructure that encourages attacks on our country, the far-right will continue to grow.
There are many ways for the Biden team to take action to disempower the far-right. This is one important way that American Jews can be part of the broader call for accountability today.
Send the Biden Administration a message today, demanding that the next Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists, not Palestinians and students.
From: [Your Name]
Pick a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism who will be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists, not Palestinians and students.
Your Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism must be someone who will be a true leader of this larger effort in building long-term structures that can fight and dismantle the far-right and create a multiracial democracy so that everyone in our country can move forward together.