TEL AVIV – Steve Bannon is a staunch supporter of the Jewish state who is committed to fighting anti-Semitism, asserted Aaron Klein, Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief.
Klein was reacting to the baseless smears of anti-Semitism against Bannon, Breitbart’s former executive chairman who was named by President-elect Donald Trump earlier this week as the chief strategist of the new White House administration.
Klein told BuzzFeed: “These smears are laughable to anyone who knows Bannon, a committed patriot who is deeply concerned about the growing threats to Israel. He has been particularly concerned with the dangerous trend of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment on U.S. college campuses. While at Breitbart, he pitched countless articles on these and other themes in defense of the Jewish state.”
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak made similar remarks: “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.”
Pollak pointed to his “credentials” to comment on the matter: “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 anti-Semitic, post-apartheid South Africa. I believe myself to be a qualified judge of what is, and is not, anti-Semitic.”
Pollak asserted 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 anti-Semitism. If anything, he is overly sensitive about it, and often takes offense on Jews’ behalf.”
Yesterday, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released a statement calling the anti-Semitism claims “painful” while describing Bannon as a defender of Israel:
It is painful to see Anti-Defamation League (ADL) president Jonathan Greenblatt engaging in character assassination against President-elect Trump’s appointee Stephen Bannon and Mr. Bannon’s company, Breitbart media. ADL/Greenblatt essentially accused Mr. Bannon and his media company of “anti-Semitism” and Israel hatred, when Jonathan Greenblatt/ADL tweeted that Bannon “presided over the premier website of the ‘alt right’ – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and anti-Semites.” …
ZOA’s own experience and analysis of Breitbart articles confirms Mr. Bannon’s and Breitbart’s friendship and fair-mindedness towards Israel and the Jewish people. To accuse Mr. Bannon and Breitbart of anti-Semitism is Orwellian. In fact, Breitbart bravely fights against anti-Semitism. Here are a few of the many examples:
Stephen Bannon joined ZOA in fighting the anti-Semitic rallies at CUNY by requiring his Breitbart reporters to call CUNY officials and Gov. Cuomo aides urging them to do something about it.
Mark Levin took to his radio show on Monday to argue that the allegations of anti-Semitism against Bannon are “absolutely ridiculous.”
Breitbart reported Levin said that while he has “strong disagreements” with Bannon’s support of the “nationalist/populist movement,” charges of anti-Semitism against “absolutely outrageous.” Levin continued, “He’s in partnership over there at Breitbart, the guy he has a partnership with, he’s a Jew. He’s been all Trump, pretty much, even though they pretended for Cruz, but he’s been all Trump, and Trump’s son-in-law’s an Orthodox Jew. Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism.” Levin added that Bannon had been pro-Israel as long as he’s known him.
He continued, “Now, it is true that this alt-right crowd, which I find repulsive, repulsive, has white supremacist leanings and white supremacists in it. I am unaware that Bannon and the rest are part of that movement. It’s not the same thing as the populist movement.”
Levin also pointed to the establishment of Breitbart Jerusalem, which is headed by Klein, during Bannon’s tenure at the site.