Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says the “entire world is watching” the response of President Donald Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon to the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks across America.
Sanders describes himself as “alarmed” by the recent rise of anti-Semitic attacks. Jewish Community Centers across America recently received bomb threats, while a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized.
In a speech to J Street, a liberal nonprofit hostile to Israel, Sanders said that “the attacks must be condemned at the highest levels of government.”
“I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. Bannon understand that the entire world is watching, that it is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism,” Sanders said.
He also attacked Trump for failing to mention the word “Jew” in his statement on Holocaust Memorial Day, calling it “rather extraordinary.”
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror,” the White House statement read.
Sanders has previously played down his Jewish heritage in a campaign commercial, describing himself as “Polish” rather than Jewish.
Despite his concern over potential anti-Semitism within the Trump administration, Sanders endorsed Keith Ellison for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, despite Ellison’s fierce criticism of Israel and former allegiance with the Nation of Islam, an openly anti-Semitic Islamic group.
Sanders’ comments follow the barrage of fake news stories concerning Steve Bannon, who faced an unsubstantiated mainstream media smear campaign following his appointment as Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
Joel Pollak, Breitbart News editor-at-large and an Orthodox Jew, refuted the claims against Bannon, saying “without hesitation that Steve is a friend of the Jewish people and a defender of Israel, as well as being a passionate American patriot and a great leader.”
In his role as the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon was instrumental in the launch of Breitbart Jerusalem, an Israeli-based bureau covering events in the Middle East with an unashamedly pro-Israel and pro-Jewish stance.
Bannon also received support from the Zionist Organization of America following the false media reports, with the group’s president Morton Klein describing him as the “opposite of an anti-Semite.”
Donald Trump last week condemned the rise in anti-Semitic attacks as “horrible,” adding that “it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was “no greater supporter of the Jewish people than Donald Trump.”
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence assured the Republican Jewish Coalition that “America stands with Israel,” and confirmed that the administration are currently “assessing” whether to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew and key advisor to the president. Last week she called for “religious tolerance” in wake of threats to Jewish communities.
Many Jews are also present in Trump’s inner circle, including senior advisor Stephen Miller, his real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt, as well as his long-time attorney turned advisor on Israel David Friedman.