Biden condemns 'hateful' anti-Semitic attacks in US

'The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable and they must stop,' the US president said

US President Joe Biden has condemned a reported spate of "hateful" attacks and acts of aggression against Jews in the US after the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas.

"The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable and they must stop," Mr Biden tweeted. "I condemn this hateful behaviour at home and abroad – it's up to all of us to give hate no safe harbour."

New York police said they were conducting a hate crimes investigation after several people shouting anti-Semitic slurs attacked a Jewish man, 29, on Thursday, while pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in Times Square.

Five or six men beat and pepper-sprayed the man, a police representative said. One man has been arrested.

Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that since the latest outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas, there has been a spike in anti-Semitic violence in the US.

He pointed to a number of incidents in several states, including events that occurred this week in Los Angeles, where pro-Palestinian protesters attacked Jewish men sitting outside a restaurant and threw bottles at homes displaying mezuzahs, a decorative case containing parchment inscribed with prayers and verses from the Torah.

"We have seen a dangerous and drastic spike in anti-Semitism here at home in just the past week to 10 days," said Mr Greenblatt.

Last week, Mr Biden signed a Covid-19 hate crimes bill to address a rise in attacks against Asian Americans during the pandemic.

“Every time we’re silent, every time we let hate flourish, we make a lie of who we are as a nation,” he said during a ceremony on Thursday.

The US Justice Department in March was ordered by Attorney General Merrick Garland to improve tracking, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

“We must recommit ourselves to this urgent task and ensure that the department makes the best and most effective use of its resources to combat hate,” Mr Garland said.

Updated: May 24, 2021 10:26 PM

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