ADL head: this hate wave is dif­fer­ent

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY LIANNE KOLIRIN

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

Green­blatt

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