United States / 17-02-2017

Trump clashes with Jewish reporter over antisemitism question

Source: הארץ

Anti-Defamation League: Trump's silence on a documented rise in episodes of antisemitism is 'mind-boggling' 


President Trump got into a heated exchange Thursday with a Jewish reporter who asked what the president would do to combat the rising number of antisemitic incidents.


Toward the end of a 77-minute press conference, Trump searched the room “to find a friendly reporter,” before landing on Jake Turx of Ami Magazine, a Jewish publication.


“What we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard you address is the uptick in antisemitism and how you intend to take care of it,” the reporter said, citing statistics that indicated a recent rise in antisemitic acts.


Turx prefaced his question by saying he hasn’t seen “anyone in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being antisemitic.”


“See he said he was going to ask a very simple question and it’s not,” Trump shot back.


“It’s not a simple or fair question. Sit down, I understand the rest of your question.”


“So here’s the story folks, number one, I’m the least antisemitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” Trump continued. “Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”


Turx tried to interject, but Trump shut him down, saying: “Quiet, quiet, quiet.”


The Anti-Defamation League has monitored a surge in racist and antisemitic graffiti and vandalism since Trump's election, including the use of Nazi imagery. Forty-eight Jewish Community Centers reported bomb threats in January.


"It is mind-boggling why President Trump prefers to shout down a reporter or brush this off as a political distraction," ADL National Chairman Marvin Nathan and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. "This is not a partisan issue. It’s a potentially lethal problem — and it’s growing."


"Trump may claim to love the Jewish people, but his actions demonstrate callous indifference to antisemitism at best and outright advancement at worst," said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a liberal group.