NATIONAL NEWS

Emhoff will discuss antisemitism and gender equity during annual meeting of elites in Switzerland

Jan 16, 2024, 2:13 AM

FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, attends a roundtable discussion wi...

FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, attends a roundtable discussion with Jewish leaders about the rise in antisemitism and efforts to fight hate in the United States in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Dec. 7, 2022. Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is taking his advocacy against antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate to the Swiss Alps. Aides tell The Associated Press that Emhoff will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is taking his advocacy against antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate to the snow-capped Swiss Alps.

Emhoff will make his first-ever appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week to talk about combating religious-based and other forms of hate, and promoting gender equity and women’s rights, aides told The Associated Press.

He also will discuss the issues in meetings with foreign government officials and private sector leaders. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because Emhoff’s travel plans had not been officially announced.

Emhoff is scheduled to arrive in Switzerland on Thursday. His agenda includes a roundtable discussion with CEOs on combatting hate that is to be hosted by Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan.

He’ll also participate in a conversation with Shelley Zalis, founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, which works with organizations that want to eliminate the gender gap in the workplace.

Emhoff has focused on both issues in his role as the husband of the first female vice president, for which he is known as the second gentleman of the United States. He’s also the first Jewish spouse of a U.S. president or vice president.

The World Economic Forum, which opens Tuesday and runs through Friday, is an annual gabfest of business, political and other elites in the Alpine snows of Davos, Switzerland. More than 2,800 attendees, including academics, artists and international organization leaders are expected.

Emhoff said recently that “it is tough right now for us” as Jews.

“The words keep coming up, ‘I feel so alone and hated,’” he said in December 2023 at a Union for Reform Judaism event in Washington. “This thing we’re all experiencing as American Jews is something that we cannot let take our love of being Jewish away from us. Do not hide right now.”

Emhoff was outspoken about the rise of antisemitism in the United States and abroad before Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took hundreds hostage during an ambush of southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

The second gentleman and Jewish leaders met at the White House in December 2022 to discuss antisemitism following a surge in anti-Jewish vitriol spread by a famous rapper, an NBA star and other prominent people. The meeting helped inform a 100-point strategy the Biden administration released in May 2023 to combat hate directed toward Jews. A similar blueprint to tackle hate against Islam or Muslims is expected later this year.

Emhoff has spoken about the pain of antisemitism during a January 2023 trip to Poland and Germany, including a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, at a United Nations event and in other settings. He also has denounced a rise in antisemitism on college campuses that followed Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel.

As the husband of America’s first female vice president, Emhoff also speaks regularly about closing gender gaps and supporting women in positions of leadership.

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Emhoff will discuss antisemitism and gender equity during annual meeting of elites in Switzerland