Since winning the presidency, President Biden and his team have nominated and appointed an exceptional and diverse group of veteran public servants and policy experts to fill key roles in his administration, including in the State Department, the National Security Council and other important departments and agencies involved in the making of foreign policy. As J Street has applauded and welcomed these excellent choices, we’ve also noted with dismay and disgust that many of these appointees — in particular people of color and those with Arab-American, Iranian-American or Muslim-American heritage — have been subjected to vile smears and spurious attacks from right-wing politicians and media.
This seemingly endless cycle of smear campaigns is clearly rooted in the bigoted idea that public servants from these backgrounds are somehow inappropriate or unfit choices to work on important issues of foreign policy and national security, or that they somehow pose a threat to their fellow Americans. The same media outlets and politicians who often decry so-called “cancel culture” hypocritically tend to launch their attacks on the basis of views or affiliations that incoming officials were associated with long before their many years of outstanding public service. They also tend to treat any history of sympathy with or advocacy for Palestinian rights as if it is somehow sinister, disqualifying or even “antisemitic.”
As a political home for the pro-Israel, pro-peace majority of American Jews, J Street condemns these bigoted smear campaigns in the strongest terms and rejects ongoing attempts by voices on the right to use bad-faith accusations of antisemitism as weapons against their political opponents. We congratulate the Biden administration on taking steps to build an administration and a foreign policy infrastructure that fully harnesses the talents, expertise and perspective of individuals from diverse backgrounds, and we look forward to working with these public servants in their new roles.