White House Hanukah party

U.S. President Joe Biden (center) and Second Husband Douglas Emhoff attend the White House Hanukah party on December 11, 2023.

(Photo: President Joe Biden/X)

US Jews Demand Biden Apologize for Linking Their Safety With Israel

"This is false, Israel is the least safe country for Jews, Israel fans the flames of antisemitism, their genocidal and apartheid behavior makes us less safe everywhere," said one critic.

Progressive Jewish Americans on Tuesday expressed anger and disbelief after U.S. President Joe Biden linked their safety with Israel—a nation which many critics say is placing Jews around the world in danger by waging a genocidal war on Gaza.

Speaking at the White House Hanukah party on Monday evening, Biden said, "Were there no Israel, there wouldn't be a Jew in the world that is safe," a reprise of earlier comments in which he asserted that Israel is "the only ultimate guarantee" of Jewish safety.

"We are deeply alarmed by President Biden's antisemitic statement that only Israel can keep Jews safe. As president of the United States, it's his job to make this country safe for everyone, including Jewish Americans," saidEva Borgwardt, national spokesperson for the peace group IfNotNow. "We demand that he apologize for his hurtful remarks."

Alyssa Rubin, another campaigner at IfNotNow, said that Biden's remarks were "a truly unhinged thing to say to a room of American Jews at the White House Hanukkah party."

Jewish Daily Forward contributing columnist Emily Tamkin asserted that Biden, as president of a country that millions of Jews call home, is ultimately responsible for the safety of all Americans.

Tamkin wrote:

There have been Jews in the United States, today home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, for longer than it has been a country. Some American Jews' families have been here for generations, and some immigrated here themselves. But all of us—and I can't believe I am typing this in 2023—are a part of the fabric of this country. And our safety should not rely on the existence of a foreign state.

"I am an American. And my safety, as well as my family's safety, here in the United States should not be contingent on a foreign leader," she added, referring to far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I would hope that the head of the state in which I actually live would be the first to recognize that."

Stephen Wertheim, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said on social media that "as a Jew in America, I resent the implication that Jews in America are unsafe and that they must rely upon a foreign government, rather than their own, to make them safe."

Biden's Hanukah party remarks came after Jewish-led activists demanding an immediate end to Israel's assault on Gaza demonstrated outside with White House, with 18 women elders chaining themselves to a fence. The women were all later arrested. Protests spearheaded by Jewish-led groups—mostly Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow—have swept the nation since Israel began its retaliatory war on Gaza on October 7.

Since then, Israeli forces have killed, maimed, or left missing more than 70,000 Palestinians—mostly women and children—while obliterating much of Gaza and displacing at least 1.9 million Gazans, or around 85% of the besieged strip's population, according to United Nations officials.

Biden has been widely derided as "Genocide Joe" for his self-described "rock-solid and unwavering" commitment to Israel following the October 7 Hamas-led attacks, and for his pushing a $14.3 billion emergency military aid package to boost Israel's fighting power. The vast bulk of Israel's imported arms and ammunition come from the United States.

Some critics have argued that Israel's slaughter in Gaza—and U.S. support for it—is endangering Jews around the world. Human rights groups report antisemitic incidents have risen sharply over the past two months, as have Islamophobic attacks and other bigotry against not only Muslims but also Sikhs and others, by mistake.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.