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Doug Emhoff to convene White House roundtable on antisemitism

The second gentleman, who is Jewish, is holding the event as antisemitism hits record highs in modern U.S. history.

WASHINGTON — Doug Emhoff is set to convene a roundtable with Jewish leaders and other experts Wednesday to discuss the rise of antisemitism and efforts to counter hate nationwide.

The White House announced Monday that the roundtable hosted by the second gentleman will include White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice; Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism; and Keisha Lance Bottoms, senior adviser to the president for public engagement.

Lipstadt is one of the world's pre-eminent experts on the Holocaust and antisemitism.

The advisory for the event didn't identify any other attendees yet, though it said additional details would be provided later.

Emhoff, who is Jewish, is holding the event at a crucial time. Antisemitism in the U.S. hit record highs last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which has been tracking antisemitic incidents since 1979. Antisemitic rhetoric has become especially prominent in recent weeks after Ye, the rapper formally known as Kanye West, made a series of remarks attacking Jews and praising Hitler.

During an unrelated event Friday, Emhoff spoke briefly about the effects of widespread antisemitism. "It's painful. It hurts," he said.

"I don’t want it to feel normal. I don’t want people to think well it’s just words, it’s just Kanye, no — this matters. This is important. We have to all step up and speak out about this as leaders in your communities," he said. "So as long as I have this microphone, I’m going to keep speaking up, speaking out, and again, not just about antisemitism but about hatred and bringing everyone else together." 

Former President Donald Trump hosted several people who have espoused antisemitic beliefs for dinner last month, including Ye, white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Milo Yiannopoulos.

In an hourslong interview last week with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Ye praised Hitler, made antisemitic jokes and talked about his meeting with Trump.

Twitter suspended Ye’s account on the social media platform hours later on Thursday after a post on Ye’s account Thursday night showed an image that appeared to show a swastika inside a Star of David. The post was then blocked by Twitter for violating its rules.

Some Republicans have denounced antisemitism and have called out Trump for associating himself with Ye, but the former president has not spoken out against the rapper or any of his antisemitic statements.

Over the last several months, Ye has repeatedly made statements targeting Jewish people or using Jewish stereotypes, resulting in suspensions from Twitter and Instagram, the termination of his company’s work with Adidas and the end of many other professional partnerships the rapper had with companies, like fashion brand Balenciaga.

NBC News previously reported that Ye had used antisemitic language in workplace settings and spoke positively about the Nazi dictator, resulting in at least one paid settlement.