Kamala Harris's husband Doug Emhoff warns of 'epidemic of hate' in US

'People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud - they are screaming them,' spouse of US Vice President says

US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, in Washington. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

America's second gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, warned of an “epidemic of hate” gripping the US as he hosted a roundtable on Wednesday with Jewish leaders to discuss a rise in anti-Semitism.

Mr Emhoff is the first Jewish spouse of a sitting US vice president.

“Right now, there is an epidemic of hate facing our country,” Mr Emhoff said at the meeting, according to comments released in advance by the White House.

“Let me be clear: words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud — they are screaming them.”

The meeting comes amid a surge in anti-Semitic hate speech, including from prominent cultural figures such as rap artist and fashion mogul Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and star basketball player Kyrie Irving.

After meeting Donald Trump and white supremacist Nick Fuentes at the former president's Mar-a-Lago resort, Ye appeared on alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's show, where he went on a lengthy tirade, declaring at one point: “I like Hitler.”

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

“I'm done with the classification. Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye said, drawing an uncomfortable reaction from extremist Jones.

Such attitudes should not become acceptable, Mr Emhoff said.

“We cannot normalise this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts,” he added.

“We must not stay silent. There is no either-or. There are no two sides. Everyone must be against this.”

The roundtable included Jewish leaders as well as Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser, and Deborah Lipstadt, the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

A recent poll from J Street, a non-profit organisation that focuses on Jewish-American voters and is a self-branded “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organisation, found that 97 per cent of Jewish people in the US are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 13, 2016 singer Kanye West and President-elect Donald Trump speak with the press after their meetings at Trump Tower in New York. Kanye West, the entertainment mogul who urges listeners in one song to "reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud," announced SJuly 4, 2020, he is challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

That same poll also found that 76 per cent of Jewish voters believe Mr Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are largely responsible for the rise in anti-Semitism.

Mr Emhoff has become increasingly outspoken against the rise of anti-Semitism in popular discourse, as well as other forms of racism and bigotry.

In response to Ye's tirade, the second gentleman tweeted: “I'm in pain right now … we must not stay silent.”

“I don’t want people to think, ‘Well, it’s just words,’” he said at a recent NewDeal conference.

“We have to all step up and speak out about this as leaders in your communities.

“So as long as I have this microphone, I’m going to keep speaking up, speaking out and again, not just about anti-Semitism but about hatred and bringing everyone else together.”

Updated: December 07, 2022, 5:09 PM
J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS