ADL head: this hate wave is different
THE AMERICAN Jewish community’s most outspoken critic of Donald Trump has said the president’s decision not to mention Jews in his Holocaust Memorial Day statement was “incredibly offensive”.
Mr Trump paid tribute to “victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust”, but with no reference to Jews.
Speaking to the JC during a trip to London to address the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Counter-Extremism, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), described the omission as “truly stunning”, adding that he was “baffled by the motive but the outcome was very offensive.” Mr Greenblatt, who previously served in the White House as special assistant to President Obama, also expressed concern over a recent statement attributed to Mr Trump in which the president was reported to have blamed the waves of antisemitic threats and vandalism sweeping America on people seeking to damage his reputation. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro claimed Mr Trump had said: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad.”
Mr Greenblatt labelled the suggestion “very concerning” and added: “We would benefit from a clarification.” Nevertheless, Mr Greenblatt said his main concern was actions not words, given the current climate. “My interest and priority is not what the president says or does but how do I solve that problem,” he said.
Since Mr Trump took office in January, America’s Jewish community has been repeatedly targeted by antisemites. Hundreds of bomb threats have been made to schools and community centres, as well as the ADL offices.
During the interview on Tuesday, Mr Greenblatt received a call to say the organisation had received four further bomb threats at its offices in New York, Washington DC, Boston and Atlanta.
“It’s uncertain times in somewhat uncharted waters for the US Jewish community,” he said.
“Vandalism and bomb threats directed towards the Jewish community isn’t exactly news, but what’s different is the pattern, the tempo and the intentionality.”
He described Juan Thompson, recently arrested over some of the threats, as “a deranged person”.
He added: “When you see attacks like this, intended to threaten our communities and individuals, copy cats and unhinged individuals see that and take inspiration.
“We have an environment in which extremists are emboldened because for months there was no forceful public rejection of them and their ideas.”
Within hours of the interview, White House press secretary Sean Spicer condemned the day’s bomb threats, which were also aimed at more schools and community centres.
Mr Greenblatt called for attention to