On Trump and Anti-Semitism

By Victoria Koffsky

In case you missed it, Trump evaded questions from Jewish reporters twice this past week regarding the rise of anti-Semitism in the US.  This comes shortly after his failure to acknowledge Jews during his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.

After being questioned for the first time this week about what he will do regarding the rise of anti-Semitism, Trump took to mentioning that his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law are both Jewish.  While this is true, it does not excuse him from the need to condemn the ongoing threats towards the Jewish community nationwide.

Just one day after this question was asked, another reporter asked for a more clear response.  Great news! We got a response, and we learned that Trump is “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”  Now, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Trump cannot receive a question without feeling personally attacked.  However, this reporter started his question by letting Trump know that he did not perceive him to be an anti-Semite.  Yet, not only did Trump ignore the question being asked and respond by praising himself, but he also told the reporter to sit down.

The president’s refusal to condemn anti-Semitism is terrifying.  The evidence is striking, yet the president will not speak out about it.  Without that type of acknowledgment, the heinous acts will only continue and worsen.  In December, swastikas were put up on our own campus, and 48 Jewish Community Centers have received terror threats since January.  Also, Steve Bannon is the White House chief strategist and believed by many to be an anti-Semite.  At this rate, what will it take to get a legitimate response from the White House?

I am not saying that Trump is the cause of the rise of anti-Semitism.  I simply hold the belief that the “least anti-Semitic person” and the president should want to both condemn these acts and create a plan to solve the problem.  Instead, when reporters reach out for such a response, they are left with demeaning remarks and are being silenced.  John McCain said it best, “that’s how dictators get started.”




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