US President Joe Biden said "America will not be silent" as he slammed antisemitism at a White House party to commemorate the second day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Addressing the party on Monday, Biden said: "I will not be silent and America will not be silent."
The President noted that he was speaking to the crowd "in the midst of a rising emboldenment of antisemitism at home, and quite frankly around the world", reports the BBC. "I recognise your fear, your hurt. You're worried that this violent venom is becoming too normal.
As your president, I want to make this clear: As my dad would say, and many of you have said, silence is complicity. We must not remain silent." This year's holiday comes amid a rise in antisemitic violence and crime.
According to an April report by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-hate monitor, there were 2,717 antisemitic incidents in the US last year -- a 34 per cent increase from 2020 and the highest total since the group began tracking such incidents in 1979.
This year, the White House is also displaying its own menorah -- the candleholder that Jews light for eight consecutive nights -- for the first time. The National Menorah is also lit outside the White House each year.
As he unveiled the first-ever permanent White House menorah, Biden said: "This year we thought it was important to celebrate Hanukkah with another message of significance... Permanence. Permanence." He added said that "evil" and "hate" would not prevail in the US.