A group of Orthodox Jews claimed that they were not allowed into a recent White House event on combating hate crimes that specifically condemned violence against minority groups, but reports say that they were simply left out due to a lack of space.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Duvi Honig, CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, RSVP'd to the Sept. 15 event, which the White House called "United We Stand." Billed as a conference against combating prejudice and hate, the United We Stand event was headlined by a speech from President Joe Biden, and featured community leaders from dozens of different religions and ethnicities.
However, Honig later told the New York Post that, despite replying to the invitation and contacting three different White House staffers, his group never heard back. Honig told the Post that he believed his group was being discriminated against because Orthodox Jews largely support former President Donald Trump.
"My concern is as we’re going into the high holy holidays, would people read that Orthodox Jew attacks aren’t recognized by the White House? Because that encourages people to continue to be more aggressive," Honig said. “The White House used hate. They used us, our blood — they used our DNA of Jews being persecuted and attacked daily as an excuse to make an event and didn’t include Orthodox Jews, who were the number one [target of] hate and antisemitism."
There was at least one Orthodox Jew admitted to the event, along with numerous Reform Jews, but the Jerusalem Post reported that at least four other Orthodox members were similarly kept out.
However, it was reported that the exclusion had nothing to do with the group being Orthodox. Rather, they were relegated to the White House driveway due to "spacing constraints," according to reports, and simply covered the event from outside - 50 journalists reportedly applied to cover the event, but there was room inside for only 20.
Additionally, Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union, shot down the suggestion that Orthodox Jews were being purposefully left out of the event. "We’re the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States. And I was invited as well as [Union vice president] Rabbi Moshe Hauer."
President Biden also used the opportunity to call out prejudice against numerous groups, including Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, and Sikhs.