The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is circulating a petition among Jewish organizations urging them to criticize President Donald Trump for failing to denounce white supremacy during the first presidential debate on Tuesday — though he did so then, and has done so, often, before.
The petition, which was leaked to Breitbart News, states (original emphasis, links removed):
In Tuesday’s Presidential debate, when asked a simple question about condemning white supremacists, the President could not simply disavow these groups. After their mention, the Proud Boys could barely contain their excitement. This is extremely dangerous.
We are gathering support for the Jewish communal statement below in which we urge political leaders and fellow Americans to unequivocally and explicitly denounce white supremacy, white supremacist organizations, and the individuals and groups who adopt and act on white supremacist and right-wing extremist ideologies.
Please sign on here to the Jewish communal statement below by Friday, October 2 at 10:00 AM ET.
We join today as representatives of Jewish American communal organizations in response to President Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacy during the September 29, 2020 Presidential Debate. The call to organizations like the Proud Boys, violent extremists with a long record of bigotry, to “stand back and stand by” immediately and dangerously galvanized groups and individuals supporting white supremacist ideologies.
White supremacy is a public safety emergency, a threat to American democracy and a global crisis. When white supremacists are encouraged by our own administration on the national debate stage, the security of the 2020 U.S. election is at stake as are the lives and safety of those routinely targeted by those groups. And the problematic impact of white supremacy in America exists both on the ground and online. Social media companies allow white supremacist groups to grow their membership. Algorithms and engagement metrics augment their voices. Troll storms torment their victims. Platforms are a mechanism for white supremacists to plan their attacks and even broadcast their violence.
We urge all our political leaders and all our fellow Americans to unequivocally and explicitly denounce white supremacy, white supremacist organizations, and the individuals and groups who adopt and act on white supremacist and right-wing extremist ideologies.
Jews as a people have a long history of being singled out, stigmatized, and blamed without basis during times of societal crisis. The Jewish community is not alone in experiencing these stigma. In times of great fear, uncertainty and unrest, the demonization of the other has had the capacity to encourage extreme violence fueled by bigotry, racism, hatred and antisemitism. Knowing the perilous reality of incitement compels us to call on all people and particularly all leaders to reject white supremacy and right-wing extremism.
Now is the time to condemn violence, not incite it. Now is the time to denounce white supremacy, not sustain it. Now is the time to encourage democracy, not jeopardize it.
As Breitbart News noted in a fact check on Wednesday, Trump said “sure” several times when asked by moderator Chris Wallace. whether he would denounce white supremacists and militia groups, and tell them to “stand down.” Democratic candidate Joe Biden brought up the “Proud Boys,” and Trump told them to “stand down and stand by.”
On Wednesday, Trump further said that he did not know who the Proud Boys were, and clarified that he meant they should stand aside and allow law enforcement to do its job.
Trump has repeatedly denounced white supremacy before.
The ADL’s petition says nothing about Antifa or about extremists in the Black Lives Matter movement, who have carried out vandalism against synagogues in Los Angeles, California and Kenosha, Wisconsin during protests against police brutality.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who took over the organization in 2015, is a former Obama administration official.
The ADL refused to call our Democratic nominee Joe Biden by name for comparing Trump to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
As a 501(c)3 charity, the ADL is “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” according to the IRS.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.