In May, to great fanfare, the Biden administration released its National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. It was billed as a whole-of-government, all-hands-on-deck approach to stamping out the oldest hatred. Because it is the first White House document to have the name National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, President Biden acted as though he’d been the first to land on the moon. At the very least, it was supposed to inoculate the president from accusations that he wasn’t taking anti-Semitism seriously. It was also an insinuated critique of his political opponents, who after all had never authored a document called the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.

And then five months later, after Hamas’s brutal attacks and the wave of Jew-hatred they released all over American cities and campuses, Joe Biden decided he needed to actually do something about it. So he issued a new executive order to build on President Trump’s expansion of civil-rights protections for Jews.

It is hard to describe just how much of an implicit criticism of his National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism it was that when a crisis broke out, the president realized his great and mighty whole-of-government plan was useless. The problem is that since no one in the White House will admit that the document was a dud, no lessons will be learned.

And that brings us to Neera Tanden.

Soon after the release of the anti-Semitism plan, domestic policy adviser Susan Rice left the administration and was replaced by Tanden, the former Clintonite and head of an influential liberal think tank during the Obama years. During Rice’s tenure, one of the mistakes made in drafting the plan seemed minor to some, but it has now been repeated by Tanden under much more consequential circumstances.

The mistake was this: In desiring to leave the public with the impression that everyone in the whole universe was called upon to bless the document with whatever wisdom they could impart, the Biden administration included the Council on American-Islamic Relations in its supplemental community of institutions helping to shape the way this plan would be implemented. CAIR officials have a very long, very disturbing record of fomenting anti-Semitism. And their inclusion blindsided the Anti-Defamation League, which bends over backwards to treat progressive pressure groups as possible allies. ADL was furious over CAIR’s inclusion. And CAIR’s executive director would demonstrate why when he publicly celebrated Hamas’s slaughter of innocents in October.

The lesson here was very simple: Talk to the leading mainstream Jewish groups before tossing them into a partnership with organizations with which they are publicly, and for good reason, at odds.

Well, plus ça change. On Thursday, May 2, Biden made public remarks condemning the campus pro-Hamas protests. The very next day, major Jewish groups pulled out of a White House meeting on anti-Semitism with Tanden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. The reason? Jewish activists who have spent their careers opposing Israel, attacking the Jewish community, and now supporting the very anti-Semitic demonstrations were added to the meeting after the mainstream groups had already accepted. Jewish Insider reported that one of the groups invited was something called the Diaspora Alliance, which:

is closely associated with IfNotNow, which since Oct. 7 has aligned itself with Jewish Voice for Peace and other anti-Israel advocacy groups. Three of the Diaspora Alliance’s staff members — including the group’s international director, Carinne Luck, along with Simone Zimmerman and Emma Saltzberg — co-founded IfNotNow a decade ago. Diaspora Alliance opposes the use of the IHRA definition, which has been endorsed by the Education Department, calling it “bad for Jews and Palestinians, and for human and civil rights.”

IfNotNow’s New York City chapter released a statement this week “in support of student activists” at Columbia University and other campuses in New York, calling the activists “brave students [who] have spoken up in solidarity with Palestinians as they face a genocide in which our country and their universities are complicit.” IfNotNow has been calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war since days after the Oct. 7 attack and advocating for the U.S. to stop sending military assistance to Israel. The group has been referring to Israel’s war against Hamas as a genocide since mid-October.

The groups that pulled out included the ADL, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Orthodox Union, and the Jewish Federations—long-time cornerstones of the mainstream organized American Jewish community.

The IfNotNow maniacs weren’t the only ostentatiously unworthy invitees to the meeting, but they are representative of the problem. Namely, tokenism. The White House included loud-and-proud AsAJews, the left-wing political activists who launder anti-Semitism in the service of pure politics.

When Joe Biden speaks about anti-Semitism, he usually says the right words. But in charge of his deeds, he has put political incompetents manifestly unqualified for this responsibility. He should fix that immediately, because his speeches won’t much matter without a way to implement the ideas animating them. There presumably would be plenty left on Neera Tanden’s plate even without the anti-Semitism assignment. She should not be given the chance to make this mistake again.

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