Former ADL director: Trump has opened the 'sewers' of antisemitism

"As a holocaust survivor, it is hard for me to see that we even have to speak about it."

April 12, 2018 11:40
2 minute read.
White Nationalists

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (photo credit: ALEJANDRO ALVAREZ/NEWS2SHARE VIA REUTERS)


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The rise of antisemitic incidents in the United States is "worrying, but not critical," the Former National Director of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Abe Foxman said in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday morning which marked the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A report, recently published by the ADL, showed a worrying rise in the number of antisemitic incidents in the United States, some of them very violent. According to the report, the increase is taking place in all 50 states.

"Antisemitism has always been here," Foxman clarified. "We have never eradicated it - we have made it unacceptable, put consequences on it. It was something that wasn't done, said or acted upon. What has changed is a new permissiveness, a new legitimacy, a new emboldenment, as if it's OK - or more OK - today to be an antisemite."

Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, shows the book "The Bible, the Jews, and the Death of Jesus" (Reuters)

Asked why he thinks antisemitism is more permissible today, Foxman said that "In the last two years all taboos have been cut down - what some people call political correctness.

"Political correctness is not an answer to all issues but it is a security blanket - it did protect minorities. When you remove political correctness, when it's OK to say Mexicans are rapists and Muslims are murderers - of course that means it's OK to be more antisemitic or more antisemitic in public."

The former ADL director specified his concern, specifically calling on United States President Donald Trump to "put the cover back on the sewers."

"I still believe that he needs to say publicly that there are no good Nazis. For the president of the United States to say that there are good Nazis and bad Nazis is part of that permissiveness which now gives the bigots and the antisemites the chutzpa to speak out or act out with hatred," Foxman said referring to Trump's controversial response to neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville in August 2017.

"Trump is not an antisemite and he is not responsible for the antisemites, but he emboldened them to go public. He is responsible for that and he is the only one who can put the genie back in the bottle."

"As a Holocaust survivor it is hard for me to see that we even have to speak about it," he continued. "But I'm an optimist."

In the interview, Foxman painted a much bleaker image about the situation of Jews in Europe. "I do not think that there is a viable future for [the Jews in Europe] under the current political development that we are witnessing."

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