Posted by on January 25, 2023 6:47 pm
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Emhoff heads to Europe to expand push against antisemitism

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will bring his work fighting antisemitism to the international stage this week, traveling to Europe amid a global rise in hate against Jews and other groups.

Emhoff will travel Thursday to Krakow, Poland, and will spend Friday visiting the Memorial and Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the most notorious concentration camps from World War II. He will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day there by attending a wreath-laying ceremony.

The second gentleman, who is Jewish, will visit Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory museum. Schindler saved hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. Emhoff will also attend a roundtable with community leaders about the rise in antisemitism and how to fight it.

Emhoff on Sunday will tour the historic Jewish quarter of Krakow before departing for Berlin, where he will attend meetings with international leaders tasked with combatting antisemitism. Emhoff will be joined by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

Emhoff has used his platform as the first male spouse of a president or vice president to elevate the issue of antisemitism and talk about the importance of his Jewish faith.

“The trip is about reflecting on what we know is a dark difficult history and then renewing our commitment to take action in current times,” a senior administration official told reporters. “Throughout his engagements, the second gentleman will make clear that President Biden and Vice President Harris are fully committed to countering the rise in antisemitism.”

Emhoff has become more outspoken on the issue in the wake of several high profile instances of antisemitism.

Former President Trump in November hosted the rapper Ye and Nick Fuentes, an avowed white nationalist and Holocaust denier, for dinner at his residence last month.

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, then went on the right-wing radio show of Alex Jones and espoused antisemitic rhetoric attacking Jewish people and expressing appreciation for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

In recent weeks, Emhoff has attended a White House roundtable on the issue, met with students in Arizona on the topic and spoken with members of a White House task force focused on formulating a strategy to fight antisemitism.

The Europe trip reflects how there are broader concerns about antisemitism on an international stage, however. Administration officials noted how Russia has manipulated Holocaust history and used antisemitic tropes to further its agenda in its invasion of Ukraine, where the president and much of the population is Jewish.

One senior administration official also pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a “proliferation of conspiracy theories” targeting Jews.

Administration officials said there are not likely to be major policy developments out of Emhoff’s travel this week, but said the trip is more about sharing best practices and having “an honest, frank, candid exchange of ideas.”

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