Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Donald J.Trump condemned the flurry of anti-Semitic rhetoric and invective stirring among some supporters of his presidential bid on Thursday.
Addressing a number of incidents online in which his avowed supporters have targeted Israel, Jewish figures and journalists, Trump said in a statement that “anti-Semitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided.”
The Republican presidential nominee was repeating a statement he made last month to The New York Times
after controversy first stirred over his views of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who warned of “Jewish extremists” thwarting his candidacy.
But some Jewish figures, pro-Israel organizations and media commentators have questioned whether Trump’s original condemnation was sufficient, given the sheer volume of anti-Semitic attacks lobbed on the Internet against Jews at all critical of Trump.
“He didn’t just say, ‘I denounce it,’ which is a good statement but doesn’t go far enough,” Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s top adviser on Israel and the Jewish world, told the Post. “What he instead said is, anti-Semitism has no place in our society, and we need to have a unified society. That to me is a statement that a leader should make.”
The Democratic National Committee has targeted Trump and Greenblatt for a campaign response they characterized on Thursday as “cowardly.”
“Trump has either publicly engaged in anti-Semitic behavior or cowardly refused to condemn those who engage in anti-Semitic behavior in Trump’s name,” the opposition party said in a press release.
One target of the attacks, a conservative Republican opposed to Trump’s candidacy, told the Post that Trump’s response was not enough.
“We aren’t talking about anti-Semitism in a general sense,” said Bethany Mandel, a senior contributor for The Federalist and columnist with The Jewish Daily Forward. Mandel has received thousands of anti-Semitic tweets and several hang-up calls to her phone since a white supremacist website published her personal details.
“His followers have been spewing it in his name,” she added. “He should repudiate that, not just the concept of anti-Semitism as in theory.”