Vice President Harris is Delivering for Jewish Americans

July 21, 2024

Fighting for Our Values as Vice President: 

  • Vice President Harris has been a leading voice defending democracy and reproductive freedom – priority policy issues for Jewish Americans. 
  • Vice President Harris has implemented a whole of government strategy to protect the right to vote, in addition to promoting key voting rights and pro-democracy legislation.
  • Vice President Harris has led the administration’s efforts to protect abortion rights. She became the highest-ranking official to ever visit an abortion clinic and is steadfast in her support of our reproductive care.
  • Throughout her career, the Vice President has had an unwavering commitment to the security of Israel. That remains true today. Prior to and since October 7, Vice President Harris has made it abundantly clear that Israel has a right to defend itself and that she is unwavering in her commitment to Israel’s security. The Biden-Harris administration has worked tirelessly to support Israel diplomatically and militarily, fight antisemitism, and bring the hostages held by Hamas home. 

Vice President Harris’s Commitment to Israel’s Security:

  • Eliminating Hamas: Vice President Harris has repeatedly called for eliminating the threat Hamas poses to Israel and has said that Hamas cannot control Gaza. She continuously reiterates that “the onus is on Hamas” to accept the proposed ceasefire deal and release the hostages. 
    • Vice President Harris has spoken about how Hamas has vowed to repeat October 7 until Israel is annihilated and said, “no nation could possibly live with such danger, which is why we support Israel’s legitimate military objectives to eliminate the threat of Hamas.” 
    • In June 2024, Vice President Harris spoke out forcefully against Hamas’s use of sexual violence on October 7 while hosting a screening of “Screams Before Silence,” a documentary cataloguing horrific acts of sexual violence by Hamas. 
    • Vice President Harris also affirmed her commitment to Israel’s security while addressing a crowd at the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in March of 2024 and December of 2023 in Dubai following a series of meetings with Arab leaders.
  • Bringing Hostages Home and Assisting Israeli Intelligence: Under the Biden-Harris Administration, American intelligence teams have been in Israel throughout the war, assisting Israeli intelligence in collecting and analyzing information related to freeing the hostages. 
    • The United States, under the Biden-Harris Administration, provided intelligence that aided the successful rescue of four hostages on June 8.
    • On April 7, 2024, Vice President Harris met with families of Americans taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 and underscored that she and President Biden have no higher priority than reuniting the hostages with their loved ones. She also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to bring home the remains of those who have been tragically confirmed to be deceased.
    • In November 2023, The Biden-Harris Administration worked with regional partners to secure the release of over 100 hostages, including U.S. citizens, small children, the elderly, and Holocaust survivors.
  • Securing Aid for Israel: Vice President Harris has consistently supported full funding for U.S. security assistance to Israel throughout her career, including during her time in the Senate. 
    • On June 4, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its approval of a $3 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets to Israel.
    • In April, Vice President Harris played a critical role in the passage of the National Security Supplemental Aid package, which provided $15 billion in aid to Israel. VP Harris held calls with congressional leadership to ensure its passage. Instead of passing this package in its entirety as soon as possible, House Republicans stripped out key parts of the package and conditioned aid to Israel on cuts to the IRS. Senate Republicans mired down this spending package in a debate about border security. After the Senate finally passed the aid package over Republican objections in February, the GOP-controlled House took two months to call it for an up or down vote. The package finally passed the House on April 20, six months after President Biden requested it, and six months after it would have passed if Democrats controlled the House. The Democratic-controlled Senate quickly approved it, and President Biden signed it into law. 
  • Protecting Israel from Iranian Aggression: In April, in the face of an unprecedented direct Iranian attack on Israel, the Biden-Harris Administration led a coordinated response with Israel and other Western allies to intercept 99% of Iran’s drones and missiles, resulting in no fatalities and saving thousands of Israeli lives. In advance of Iran’s attack, the administration positioned U.S. military assets in the region to help defend against Iranian aggression.
  • Engaging with Israeli Leaders: Since October 7, Harris has prioritized engaging with Israeli leaders to underscore her support for Israel and address the latest developments in Gaza and the region. 
    • Vice President Harris has spoken with President Herzog of Israel four times and met with him once; she has met with War Cabinet Member Benny Gantz once; and she has joined nearly 20 phone calls between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. 
    • Vice President Harris has led the administration’s efforts to advance plans for the ‘day after’ the fighting ends in Gaza. She has worked with Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab leaders on these plans, including reconstruction, governance reforms, and security arrangements that are acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians. 
  • Cultivating Longstanding Cooperation: Before October 7, the Vice President prioritized engaging with Israeli government officials, including speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and meeting with then-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Herzog. 
    • When Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited the United States in July 2023, he and Vice President Harris unveiled “a new joint initiative between the United States and Israel, working with the U.S. Congress, with the intent to invest $70 million, with up to $35 million from the United States and up to $35 million from Israel, to advance climate-smart agriculture technologies in the Middle East and Africa.”

Vice President Harris’s Commitment to Fighting Antisemitism:

  • Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff played a key role in drafting the the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. The strategy mobilizes over two dozen federal agencies and contains over 100 specific, actionable steps to end this scourge of hate and prevent antisemitic attacks. 
  • Vice President Harris swiftly condemned acts of violence and efforts to prevent Jewish Americans from entering a synagogue in Los Angeles in June, calling the incident abhorrent and antisemitic.
  • At Israel’s Independence Day Reception in June 2023, Vice President Harris said, “When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or identity, and when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism, and that is unacceptable.”
  • The Biden-Harris administration supported increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program into law, bolstering funding to help secure synagogues and Jewish institutions from hate crimes. 
    • In recent budget negotiations, Republicans demanded cuts to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
  • In the Senate, Harris took a leading role in combating antisemitism and all forms of hate. Harris was the lead sponsor of S.Res.118, a resolution condemning hate crimes and any other forms of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States. The resolution highlighted the threat posed by antisemitism and its dangerous rise and called on the Trump administration to devote additional resources to combating hate crimes. 
  • When then-Senator Harris visited Yad Vashem in 2017, she wrote: “As we bear witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, let us always strive to remember that we as human beings have so much more in common than what separates us. And by embracing this truth, let us live up to that solemn promise — never again!”

Vice President Harris’s Engagement with the Jewish Community and Jewish Traditions:

  • The Vice President and Second Gentleman have been proud to observe Jewish traditions at the Vice President’s Residence and host celebrations there in honor of Jewish holidays. For example, they have hung the first mezuzah at the Residence, hosted the first Passover Seder at the Residence, and lit the first Menorah at the Residence. The Vice President has said that these moments are a great source of pride for her, the Second Gentleman, and their entire family. 

Vice President Harris Delivered for the American People as a U.S. Senator:

  • Then-Senator Harris championed legislation to deliver on a range of top priorities for the Jewish community and all marginalized communities. 
  • In addition to combating hate crimes and antisemitism, she passed legislation to combat hunger, provide rent relief, improve maternal health care, and address the climate crisis as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate in 2018. Her legislation to preserve historically Black colleges and universities was signed into law, as was her effort to infuse much-needed capital into low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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