What I saw yesterday at the White House

October 12, 2023

Dear Friends,

Yesterday afternoon, I represented JDCA at a meeting with President Biden and American Jewish community leaders at the White House. What I witnessed was more than just a U.S. president speaking about a horrific terrorist attack. President Biden’s emotion, outrage, and personal connection to Israel and the Jewish people was palpable. In the room, you could feel his anguish in the aftermath of the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust. He was impassioned and spoke with moral clarity about his commitment to Israel at this dark time.

These aren’t just words –  the Biden White House has coupled its rhetoric in support of Israel with action. As President Biden said, “we’re surging additional military assistance to the Israeli Defense Force, including ammunition interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome. And we have moved a U.S. Carrier fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean, and we’re sending more fighter jets there into that region.” The Biden administration will send additional support to Israel in the days and weeks ahead.

When speaking about taking each of his grandchildren to Dachau, President Biden raised his voice and pounded the lectern. He declared that “silence is complicity” in the face of terror, including the barbarity and massacres perpetrated by Hamas. President Biden invoked his own personal tragedies when speaking about the pain of losing loved ones, making it unmistakably evident that he shares our pain and that of all Israelis. Israel and American Jews could have no greater friend in the White House at this incredibly difficult time.


Hours later, I was horrified to see that former president Trump, while speaking last night in Florida, mocked Israel and praised Hezbollah. As I responded, “what kind of depraved sociopath claims Israel ‘let us down’ in its darkest moment?” This is a rhetorical question. The answer is Donald Trump, the leading 2024 Republican nominee for President of the United States. So where is the overwhelming GOP condemnation of Trump’s dangerous and painful words denigrating Israel and praising terrorists? Unsurprisingly, there isn’t one. Their silence is complicity and it’s incredibly dangerous.

This much is clear – there has never been a sharper contrast between two consecutive presidents when it comes to decency, moral clarity, and leadership, and we at JDCA are incredibly grateful for President Biden’s unwavering support of Jewish Americans and Israel. Additionally, we’re grateful for the JDCA community, which convened yesterday with Israel Policy Forum’s Chief Policy Officer Michael Koplow to discuss the crisis. In case you missed it or wanted to listen again, a recording of the event is here. In support and solidarity,

Halie Soifer
CEO, Jewish Democratic Council of America