Monday, February 27, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - Antisemitism

First, I do not trust #NotMyPresident to really care about antisemitism.  He will play the card to enhance his political creds, but that's all it will be, pandering.

"What can the Trump administration do to quell Antisemitism?" PBS NewsHour 2/21/2017


SUMMARY:  A wave of anti-Semitic incidents has swept across the U.S.  in the past few months, including dozens of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers around the country.  Although President Trump formally denounced the threats on Tuesday, some believe he has not responded forcefully or quickly enough.  John Yang speaks with Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The past couple of months have seen a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, including a dozen bomb threats at Jewish community centers in the past two days, and the destruction of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

The President today made a statement of condemnation, but it comes amid growing concerns in this country about antisemitism and other incidents involving hate, and some criticism that President Trump hasn't responded forcefully and quickly enough.

Our John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  Over the past two days, authorities have evacuated Jewish community centers in a dozen cities across the country, the latest this morning in La Jolla, California.

MAN:  It's just bigotry raising its head again in this country.

JOHN YANG:  No explosive devices were found, but it's part of an unsettling series of events.  On Monday, more than 200 headstones were toppled and damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Saint Louis.

Since January 1, 54 Jewish centers in 27 states have been the target of 70 threats.  In all of 2016, there was just one such incident.

This morning, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Trump condemned the threats.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

JOHN YANG:  Mr. Trump's comments followed Monday's tweet from his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism before her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner: “We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers.”

The President was far stronger today than he was last week, when, in two news conferences over two days, he was asked about the apparent uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Watch how friendly he is.

Go ahead.

JOHN YANG:  On Thursday, he dismissed a question from a reporter for an Orthodox Jewish weekly as very insulting and unfair.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.  I hate the charge.  I find it repulsive.

JOHN YANG:  Today, the Anti-Defamation League urged Mr. Trump to present a plan to combat antisemitism.

And we are joined by the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, who is in Palm Beach, Florida.

Jonathan, thanks for joining us.

You tweeted this afternoon that polling shows that anti-Semitic views have been fairly constant for the past 20 years, despite a little uptick, you say, in 2013 and 2016.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League:  Right.

JOHN YANG:  Why, then, are we seeing this wave of threats against Jewish community centers?  What's going on here, in your view?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT:  Well, look, the ADL has been tracking anti-Semitic attitudes since the 1960s.

And, as you said, our latest poll, which looks at anti-Semitic attitudes in 2016, turned up about 14 percent of all Americans harbor these ideas.  That's more than 30 million Americans.  So, it's not a small number.

But I think what's changed is the fact that, over the course of the last 12 to 18 months, we saw — we had a political campaign that saw extremism move from the margins into the mainstream of the political conversation.

We saw images and ideas from white supremacists literally shared from political campaigns showing up in the Twitter feeds of major news organizations.  We saw it in our political rallies as well.

And then, after the election, there was a surge of hate crimes.  We saw acts of vandalism, certainly a lot of slander on social media and, in fact, in the last few months, as you mentioned, a number of bomb threats, almost 70, to dozens of Jewish community centers across the country.

So, I think what's happened is, the extremists feel emboldened.  The lack of comments from the highest levels of our political office have created a vacuum that they have rushed to fill, bringing their hateful ideas literally into the center of our public life.

That's got to stop.

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