I have worked with Stephen K. Bannon, President-elect Donald Trump’s new chief strategist and senior counselor, for nearly six years at Breitbart News. I can say, 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.
A word or two about my credentials: I am an Orthodox Jew, and I hold a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies. My thesis at the Isaac and Jesse Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town dealt with the troubled status of Jews in an increasingly anti-Israel, and antisemitic, post-apartheid South Africa. I believe myself to be a qualified judge of what is, and is not, antisemitic.
It defies logic that a man who was a close friend, confidant, and adviser to the late Andrew Breitbart — a proud Jew — could have any negative feelings towards Jews. As I can testify from years of work together with Steve in close quarters, the opposite is the case: Steve is outraged by antisemitism. If anything, he is overly sensitive about it, and often takes offense on Jews’ behalf.
Steve cares deeply about the fate of Jewish communities in America and throughout the world, a fact that is reflected in Breitbart News’ daily coverage. It was in that spirit that Steve joined Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov (also Jewish) in launching Breitbart Jerusalem last year, fulfilling Andrew’s dream of opening a bureau in Israel specifically to cover the region from an unabashedly Zionist perspective.
I've worked closely w/ Steve Bannon at Breitbart. He's an American patriot who also defends Israel & has deep empathy for the Jewish people.
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) November 13, 2016
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) November 14, 2016
The American ideal, which Andrew Breitbart defended zealously, is E pluribus unum, “Out of many, one.” We gain a deeper appreciation for people from other backgrounds when we understand our own. That is the spirit in which Breitbart News has always operated with Steve as executive chairman. We have Jewish, Catholic, evangelical, Muslim, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and gay writers (did I miss anyone?).
Steve is a tireless, disciplined manager who demands excellence — and who seeks talent regardless of distinctions of race, gender, religion, sexuality, or any other kind. He has a clear sense of strategy and vision, yet welcomes debate and dissent on the basis of data and facts. He is also passionate about fighting corruption, and restoring the constitutional vision of our Founders. And he is calm under pressure, as his work as CEO of the Trump campaign shows.
Americans should see Steve’s appointment to a key White House role as a positive sign that President-elect Donald Trump intends to fulfill his promises.
Andrew Breitbart anticipated the kind of attacks that Steve, and anyone else who is effective at opposing the left, would face. In his book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, Andrew noted that the “Democrat-media complex” would tarnish any conservative with “made-up closet KKK status.”
While being targeted is a badge of honor for Steve, lies are lies, and they deserved to be called what they are.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.