Jewish leader vows to reg­is­ter as a Mus­lim

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW YORK: The Jewish di­rec­tor of the Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL), which cam­paigns against anti-Semitism and other big­otry, said Fri­day that he would reg­is­ter as a Mus­lim if Don­ald Trump es­tab­lishes a data­base of Mus­lims in Amer­ica. “The day they cre­ate a reg­istry for Mus­lims is the day that I reg­is­ter as a Mus­lim be­cause of my Jewish faith, be­cause of my com­mit­ment to our core Amer­i­can val­ues, be­cause I want this coun­try to be as great as it al­ways has been,” Jonathan Green­blatt told AFP.

Dur­ing his cam­paign, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump var­i­ously called for ban­ning all Mus­lim vis­i­tors to the United States, sub­ject­ing those in the coun­try to loy­alty tests and even for some to be de­ported. Asked on MSNBC in Novem­ber last year whether the White House should in­sti­tute a data­base sys­tem to track Mus­lims in the coun­try, Trump replied, “Oh, I would cer­tainly im­ple­ment that, ab­so­lutely.”

Trump cam­paign at­tempted to walk back his pledge on Thurs­day, say­ing in a state­ment that the pres­i­dent-elect “never ad­vo­cated” a reg­istry. How­ever, at least two prom­i­nent Trump sup­port­ers raised the prospect again this week, in­clud­ing one who cited World War II-era Ja­panese-Amer­i­can in­tern­ment camps as a prece­dent. “We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on re­li­gion, we’ve done it based on re­gion,” Carl Hig­bie, who dur­ing the cam­paign was spokesman for a pro-Trump “su­per PAC” fundrais­ing group, said on Fox News.

“As a Jewish com­mu­nity, we know what hap­pens with lit­mus tests,” Green­blatt said. “We can re­mem­ber. We have painful mem­o­ries of when we our­selves were iden­ti­fied, reg­is­tered and tagged.” Green­blatt, who pre­vi­ously worked in the White House as a spe­cial as­sis­tant to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, also crit­i­cized Trump’s hir­ing of Stephen Ban­non as his chief strate­gist. The ap­point­ment ig­nited con­tro­versy due to Ban­non’s role as the head of the Bre­it­bart News web­site - a key out­let for the ex­treme right wing, or “alt-right,” move­ment.

Ban­non “in his own words has presided over mak­ing his for­mer busi­ness Bre­it­bart THE plat­form for the ‘al­tright,’ this loose-knit group of white su­prem­a­cists, anti-Semites and racists,” Green­blatt said. Nev­er­the­less, the ADL wants to “en­gage” with Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion “on the is­sues we care about,” he added, al­though “we will hold them re­lent­lessly ac­count­able to those is­sues.” Trump’s elec­tion last week prompted a spike in racist at­tacks and ha­rass­ment across the coun­try. But Green­blatt said it also moved many peo­ple to vol­un­teer for the ADL and do­nate money. “Even though we have seen some of the worst im­pulses of so­ci­ety lifted up, we’ve also seen some of our bet­ter an­gels pre­vail.” — AFP

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