President Trump’s Response on Antisemitism Widely Misses the Mark
New York City—Human Rights First today said that President Trump’s statement on antisemitism and hate crime in the United States was inappropriate and widely missed the mark. During a joint press conference today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a reporter offered President Trump the opportunity to comment on what he described as a sharp rise of antisemitic incidents in the United States before and after the 2016 presidential election. Instead of unequivocally denouncing antisemitism and all forms of hate crime, the president chose to answer this question by speaking at length about his electoral victory and by referencing Jewish members of his family.
“The president’s response today once again highlights a deeply concerning trend toward accommodating antisemitic voices and failing to clearly and unequivocally denounce hate,” said Human Rights First’s Susan Corke. “His inappropriate response is all the more troubling given his campaign’s association with antisemitic tropes, his administration’s embrace of individuals with deep ties to antisemitism, and his decision not to include any reference to the Jewish people in his statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
Antisemitism, like Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance, denies another human being his or her dignity and equality. A national leader failing to clearly denounce harmful speech can serve to embolden extremist voices and serve as a legitimation of violence. President Trump should make clear immediately that he condemns all forms of antisemitism and intolerance, and that he will do everything in his power to support investigations and prosecutions of hate crimes.