WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – The College of William & Mary will be a partner with the White House and other organizations across the country on a first-ever U.S. national strategy to counter antisemitism, President Biden has announced.

“William & Mary played a foundational role in establishing our republic,” said William & Mary president Katherine Rowe said in a statement. “As a public institution, we remain steadfastly committed to our national leadership role in preparing graduates for lives as citizens and professionals to flourish in our pluralistic democracy. We look forward to joining the White House in this important national effort.”

The strategy includes more than 100 new actions, that, according to the White House, will raise awareness of antisemitism and its threat to American democracy while protecting Jewish communities and “reverse the normalization of antisemitism” while building “cross-community solidarity.”

President Biden said it will be the most ambitious and comprehensive government-led effort to take on antisemitism in U.S. history.

“In the past several years, hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling a record rise in antisemitism,” Biden said in a video presentation. “It’s simply wrong. It’s immoral. It’s unacceptable. It’s on all of us to stop it. We must say clearly and forcefully that antisemitism and all forms of hate and violence have no place in America, and we cannot remain silent. I will not remain silent, and you should not either.”

The FBI has noted that despite American Jews accounting for just 2.4% of the U.S. population, they are the victims of 63% of reported religiously-motivated hate crimes.

The White House received commitments from W&M and other institutions of higher education, as well as organizations across the private sector, civil society and religious and multi-faith communities to support the whole-of-society call to action.

William & Mary has taken other initiatives to tackle antisemitism, including:

  • Leading an antisemitism training for university administrators in October in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League.
  • Sponsoring the dean of students’ participation in a Fellowship and Summer Institute on Antisemitism and Jewish Inclusion in Educational Settings.
  • Hosting a full-year “lunch and learn” program for faculty and staff designed to bridge differences and educate on topics such as “The Convergence of Abrahamic Major Religious Holidays: A Discussion of Interfaith and Religious Diversity.”
  • Convening William & Mary’s entire Student Affairs Division in programs on religious pluralism and the student experience.
  • Supporting a co-curricular series on faith in action for students, which has included field trips to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • During Thursday’s White House presentation, Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, said the White House’s strategy is essential because antisemitism “threatens not just the safety of Jews, but the strength of our democracy.”

“Here again, history is instructive, telling us that where antisemitism persists, democracy suffers,” Lipstadt added. “Where Jews are at risk, so too are the rights of everyone from every race, religion, ethnicity or creed. Yet where communities and nations step forward to combat antisemitism, they tend to emerge more secure, more free and more fair for all.”

The National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism includes more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders among the Jewish community and beyond, with the strategy including more than 100 calls-to-action for Congress, state and local governments and other organizations and companies to counter antisemitism.

“Protecting the Jewish community from antisemitism is essential to our broader fight against all forms of hate, bigotry, and bias,” Biden said, “and to our broader vision of a thriving, inclusive, and diverse democracy.”