Donald Trump speaks at his final campaign event at the Devos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There is an undeniable feeling of uncertainty surrounding Trump’s impending takeover of the Oval Office, Anti-Defamation League national director Jonathan Greenblatt said Monday at a discussion at the Knesset about US Jewry in the new era of the Trump administration.
This sentiment was echoed by several people present at the discussion, including MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union), cochair of the Caucus on Israel- US relations, which hosted the session together with the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Referring to ADL’s mission to fight antisemitism and all forms of hatred, Greenblatt said that goal “today seems more urgent and relevant to our current challenges than any time in recent history.”
“We are witnessing a resurgence of antisemitism across the US,” he stressed, remarking that the type of rhetoric used in the US today has not been heard since the 1930s. “Antisemitism has wound its way into mainstream conversations in a manner that many Jews who lived through Nazi Germany find terrifying,” he said, pointing to the numerous reports of hate crimes against Jews and other minorities since the election.
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“There is great uncertainty and ambiguity about Trump’s plans, and this also impacts the Jewish community,” said Shai, adding that the rise of antisemitism in American society poses a major challenge.
“There is a close friendship between us and the US, but if these developments threaten the Jewish community, that would be our responsibility, the responsibility of the state of Israel,” he said.
Shai told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting that just as the Israeli government approached the French government regarding antisemitism in their country, it must do the same with the US government.
“In the Knesset, we need to put pressure on the government and to raise this issue again and again,” he said. “Jewish wisdom has taught us to recognize signs of danger before they develop.”
“Jews all over the world must unite to fight against the ugly phenomenon of antisemitism, and Israel should lead the struggle,” MK Avraham Neguise (Likud), cochair of the caucus, said, adding that the US administration should also use all its resources to deal with the issue.
“We will deal with the challenges together,” Shira Ruderman, CEO of the Ruderman Family Foundation, assured participants at the meeting, emphasizing that Israel and the US must work together on a daily basis – rather than just in times of crisis – in order to strengthen their relationship.
Also present at the discussion was US Sen. Jill Schupp (Democrat) and Rep. Jay Barnes (Republican), who represents Cole County (District 60) in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Amid talk of the rise in hate crime and the Alt-right group, the latter pointed out that extremists are not representative of the general public. He also affirmed that Israel and the US would always have a special relationship.
Additional speakers at the meeting included Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of The Forward; Gil Troy, a professor at McGill University and the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa; and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY 1st District) via video.