Posts tagged with "Jonathan Greenblatt"

Jewish allies call Trump’s dinner with antisemites a breaking point

November 30, 2022

For much of Donald Trump’s presidency, Jewish Republicans rationalized away the bigoted fringe of Trump’s coalition—arguing that the unsavory supporters in his midst and the antisemitic tropes he deployed paled in comparison with the staunchly pro-Israel policies of his administration, reports The New York Times.

But last week, Trump dined at his Palm Beach palace, Mar-a-Lago, with the performer Kanye West, who had already been denounced for making antisemitic statements, and with Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and Holocaust denier, granting the antisemitic fringe a place of honor at his table. Now, even some of Trump’s staunchest supporters say they can no longer ignore the abetting of bigotry by the nominal leader of the Republican Party.

“I am a child of survivors. I have become very frightened for my people,” Morton Klein, head of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America, said on Monday, November 28—referring to his parents’ survival of the Holocaust. “Donald Trump is not an antisemite. He loves Israel. He loves Jews. But he mainstreams; he legitimizes Jew hatred and Jew haters. And this scares me.”

Not all Republican leaders have spoken out, but Jewish Republicans are slowly peeling away from a former president who, for years, insisted he had no ties to the bigoted far right, but refused to repudiate it. Jewish figures and organizations that have stood by Trump—from Klein’s group to the pro-Trump commentator Ben Shapiro to Trump’s own former ambassador to Israel and onetime bankruptcy lawyer, David M. Friedman—all have spoken out since the dinner.

For Jews, the concern extends far beyond a single meal at Mar-a-Lago, although that dinner has become a touchstone, especially for Jewish Republicans.

“We have a long history in this country of separating the moral character of the man in the White House from his conduct in office, but with Trump, it’s gone beyond any of the reasonably acceptable and justifiable norms,” Jay Lefkowitz, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and a supporter of many of Trump’s policies, said on Monday.

For American Jewry, the debate since the dinner has brought into focus what may be the most discomfiting moment in U.S. history in a half-century or more.

“The normalization of antisemitism is here,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

On Monday afternoon, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, went to the Senate floor to denounce Trump’s actions as “disgusting and dangerous,” then called them “pure evil.”

West, a figure with an enormous following, has espoused hatred of the Jews. The basketball star Kyrie Irving has spread antisemitic views with a tweet, though he eventually apologized. Neo-Nazis are returning to Twitter, bringing memes and coded messages not seen for years, now that its new owner, Elon Musk, has reinstated accounts that had been blocked for bigotry.

“The level of antisemitism being expressed, antisemitic acts at a very elevated level, and the acceptability of antisemitism — it is all creating an environment which is, thank God, unusual for the United States, and it has to be nipped in the bud. That’s it. That’s the moment we’re in,” said Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, which represents the branch of Judaism that has been most supportive of Trump.

Now, West has promised on Twitter to “go death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.” The comedian Dave Chappelle delivered a stinging monologue on “Saturday Night Live” on “the Jews” and their numbers in Hollywood. And at the same time, American Jewry is divided over whether denunciations of Trump might harm American policy toward Israel, should he return to power, Peter Hayes, a Northwestern University historian, said.

“The more people prioritize Israel, the more they are willing to make excuses for Trump, and that just makes me sad,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Facebook expunges Trump ads featuring red triangular symbol used by Nazis

June 22, 2020

Even Mark Zuckerberg won’t tolerate Nazi symbols: Facebook on Thursday, June 18, announced that it had removed campaign posts and advertisements from the Trump campaign featuring an upside down red triangle symbol used by the Third Reich to identify political opponents, according to a report by NPR.

The red triangles are anathema to Jewish communities worldwide. Some prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were identified with colored inverted triangles sewn onto their uniforms , others triangles were affixed to the uniforms of sympathizers who had tried to save them, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The posts, according to a Facebook spokesperson, violated the social network’s policy against hate. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” the spokesperson told NPR.

One of the ads from the Donald J. Trump for President team that prominently displayed the red triangle claimed that “dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem.” The ad went on to say protesters are destroying America’s cities by rioting. “It’s absolute madness,” the ad said.

Bend the Arc, a Jewish action committee, immediately posted a tweet disparaging Trump and his followers: “The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol,” the tweet said, adding, “Nazis used the red triangle to mark political prisoners and people who rescued Jews.
Trump & the RNC are using it to smear millions of protestors. Their masks are off.”

The Trump campaign responded by drawing a lighthearted comparison to the red triangle symbol: “This is an emoji.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said that some products are sold online that use the inverted red triangle in Antifa imagery, although experts told NPR that the red triangle is not a commonly adopted symbol among anti-fascist activists.

We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad,” Murtaugh said.

The campaign also said that the symbol is not in the Anti-Defamation League Hate Symbols Database.

In an interview with NPR, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, pointed out that the database is not a collection of historical Nazi imagery.

“It’s a database of symbols commonly used by modern extremist groups and white supremacists in the United States,” he said.

Greenblatt said removing the posts should not have been a hard call. He said the Trump campaign should apologize.

“Intentionally or otherwise, using symbols that were once used by the Nazis is not a good look for someone running for the White House,” he said. “It isn’t difficult for one to criticize a political opponent without using Nazi-era imagery.”

Earlier Greenblatt had tweeted that “ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols.”

However, it is unlikely that President Trump, who is an admirer of Adolf Hitler’s treatise, Mein Kampf, would not have known about the red triangle.

Research contact: @NPR