WASHINGTON – Human Rights First welcomed the release of the Biden administration’s U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism as an important step toward addressing the rise in violence targeting the Jewish community and the conspiracies that undergird attacks on other communities.
“Human Rights First has long challenged antisemitic hate, in part, because it is a central driver in antidemocratic far-right extremism,” said Human Rights First’s Senior Researcher on Antisemitism and Extremism Liz Yates, PhD. “Antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories are now being espoused in Congress and by influential media personalities; antisemitic violence has only grown with the mainstreaming of this hate. We applaud the administration’s strategy for its emphasis on the normalization of hate and are eager to see it implemented.”
Human Rights First joins the administration in calling on elected officials at all levels of government to “speak out against, stigmatize, and condemn prominent individuals and groups” who promote antisemitism. We must expose antisemitism and other forms of hate that are often normalized through dog whistles and euphemisms, and hold those who perpetuate this hate accountable.
Human Rights First lauds the strategy’s recommendation that Congress require greater transparency from online platforms with respect to recommendation algorithms, content moderation, and standards enforcement. We are also encouraged by the administration’s commitment to digital and media literacy. We must increase the public’s access to evidence-based research and tools that assess the hate and disinformation that permeate contemporary discourse.
Antisemitic conspiracy theories have inspired many recent terrorist attacks that targeted Jewish, Black, Muslim, and immigrant communities in the United States and around the world. Human Rights First has repeatedly exposed the threats inherent in these theories and portended in their mainstreaming.
Our December 2022 report, “Digital Soldiers: QAnon Extremists Exploit U.S. Military, Threaten Democracy,” described how the antidemocratic far-right extremist movement spreads and normalizes antisemitism. It called for the Department of Defense to include antisemitism in programs and training addressing extremism in the military community.
Last week, Human Rights First Senior Advisor on Extremism Amy Spitalnick testified to the threat of far-right, white supremacist and antisemitic extremism in a hearing in the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability.
In a June 2022 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senior Researcher Liz Yates testified about the danger of the antisemitic “great replacement” conspiracy theory.
In two recent Congressional briefings, Human Rights First’s advocates outlined the role of antisemitic conspiracy theories in animating anti-immigrant, xenophobic, and white supremacist extremism.
Human Rights First’s recent resources on this issue:
– Press Statement: Human Rights First Denounces Extremism in Congressional Hearings
– Op-Ed: Nativists are Coming For Democracy