Trump de­nounces ‘hor­ri­ble’ threats against Jewish cen­tres

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day de­nounced re­cent threats against Jewish com­mu­nity cen­tres as “hor­ri­ble ... painful” and said more must be done “to root out hate and prej­u­dice and evil.”

Trump’s re­marks, made at the newly opened Na­tional Mu­seum of African Amer­i­can His­tory and Cul­ture, marked the first time he di­rectly ad­dressed re­cent in­ci­dents of anti-Semitism. In re­cent days, the pres­i­dent has faced grow­ing crit­i­cism for not speak­ing out di­rectly against anti-Jewish threats.

The pres­i­dent cited a tour of the mu­seum as “a mean­ing­ful re­minder of why we have to fight big­otry, in­tol­er­ance and ha­tred in all of its very ugly forms.”

On Mon­day, 11 Jewish com­mu­nity cen­tres across the coun­try re­ceived phoned-in bomb threats, ac­cord­ing to the JCC As­so­ci­a­tion of North Amer­ica. Like three waves of sim­i­lar calls in Jan­uary, Mon­day’s threats proved to be hoaxes, the as­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment. In ad­di­tion, as many as 200 head­stones were dam­aged or tipped over at a Jewish ceme­tery in sub­ur­ban St. Louis late Sun­day or early Mon­day.

“The anti-Semitic threats tar­get­ing our Jewish com­mu­nity and com­mu­nity cen­tres 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,” Trump said. He did not out­line what that might in­clude.

Trump’s com­ments Tues­day fol­lowed a gen­eral White House de­nounce­ment of “ha­tred and hate-mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence” ear­lier in the day. That state­ment did not men­tion the com­mu­nity cen­tre in­ci­dents or Jews. Trump “has made it abun­dantly clear that th­ese ac­tions are un­ac­cept­able,” that state­ment said.

At a news con­fer­ence last week, Trump tan­gled with a reporter from an Or­tho­dox Jewish publi­ca­tion, cut­ting him off as he asked about a rise in bomb threats against Jewish com­mu­nity cen­tres. Trump, who seemed to in­ter­pret the query as an at­tack on him per­son­ally, said it was “not a fair ques­tion” and went on to say he was the “least anti-Semitic per­son that you’ve ever seen in your en­tire life.”

On Mon­day, Trump’s daugh­ter Ivanka Trump wrote on Twit­ter, “We must pro­tect our houses of wor­ship & re­li­gious cen­tres,” and used the hash­tag #JCC. She con­verted to Ju­daism ahead of her 2009 mar­riage to Jared Kush­ner. She joined her fa­ther at the African Amer­i­can mu­seum tour.

Early Tues­day, for­mer pres­i­den­tial ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton pres­sured him to clearly de­nounce re­cent in­ci­dents. “JCC threats, ceme­tery des­e­cra­tion & on­line at­tacks are so trou­bling & they need to be stopped. Ev­ery­one must speak out, start­ing w/ @POTUS,” she said on Twit­ter.


U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks in Wash­ing­ton, Tues­day, de­nounc­ing threats against Jewish com­mu­nity cen­tres as “hor­ri­ble.”

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