Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is accusing President Donald Trump of “using Jews as a shield” after the president defended his tweets about the far-left Democratic “Squad” by arguing that they were anti-Israel and antisemitic.
Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official, tweeted Monday:
We call on ALL leaders across the political spectrum to condemn these racist, xenophobic tweets & using Jews as a shield.
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) July 15, 2019
In a more extensive statement, the ADL accused Trump of undermining “widespread, bipartisan support for Israel” — without reference to the anti-Israel drift of the Democrats, not one of whom attended the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem last year, and who could not bring themselves to criticize Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in a resolution last year.
The ADL has traditionally spoken out against antisemitism and other forms of prejudice. Once respected as a non-partisan institution, under Greenblatt’s leadership it has become more openly left-wing, and anti-Trump.
Early in the Trump presidency, Greenblatt and the ADL hyped the idea that Trump’s election, and his supporters, were responsible for a rise in antisemitism. Among the antisemitic incidents that the ADL cited were a series of hoax bomb threats to Jewish community centers; the culprits were a troubled Jewish-American teenager in Israel and a disturbed black liberal former journalist. The ADL consistently emphasized the threat when its own data showed a more complicated picture.
Greenbelt himself said earlier this year that he personally believes that President Trump is racist. He appeared on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC program to discuss hate crimes — and never once mentioned Sharpton’s own long history of antisemitism and racist rhetoric. Earlier this year, he accepted an “apology” from Rep. Omar about antisemitic rhetoric that she had not actually given; she went on to repeat her behavior.
Some Jews defended Trump on Monday, contradicting Greenblatt’s claim that the president “doesn’t speak for any of us.” Among them was conservative radio host Mark Levin, who recently returned from broadcasting his show from Israel.
Trump tweeted that the far-left Democratic congresswomen should go back to the places they were from and come back when they had fixed the problems there. Omar is from Somalia; the rest of the “Squad” members were born in the U.S., though Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) constantly emphasizes her Palestinian origins, literally wrapping herself in the Palestinian flag. Trump clarified Monday that he had been outraged by the Squad’s criticism of the U.S.: “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” he said at the White House.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.