posted at 1:21 pm on February 21, 2017 by John Sexton
As Ed noted earlier, President Trump criticized anti-Semitism today during a visit to the National Museum of African American History. Trump said, among other things, “Anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop.” But his message did not win over the executive director of the Anne Frank Center who attacked the President’s comments as “too little, too late.”
The statement posted on Facebook was titled, “MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE ACKNOWLEGMENT [sic] OF #Antisemitism TODAY IS NOT ENOUGH.” Executive Director Steven Goldstein said:
The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record.
Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.
As I noted yesterday, there was a 4th wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers around the country, bring the total number of “telephone terrorism” threats to 69 since the beginning of the year. While all of the threats have been hoaxes thus far, many of the centers being targeted include schools with young children, making them very worrisome to the parents who have to pick up their children when a center is evacuated by police. Add to that the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery yesterday and even Hillary is piling on Trump this morning:
JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 21, 2017
You wouldn’t know it from all of this but the White House did condemn the bomb threats yesterday. CNN reports deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said, “Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”
Attacks from partisans like Hillary Clinton are to be expected, but the White House could have sidestepped some of this by being a little more forceful. Given the previous criticism of the Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, it should have been clear to the White House its response would be scrutinized.
This should really be a winning issue for Trump. He said he wanted to be the law and order president and this is a law and order issue with a national scope. Jewish Americans, who are the primary targets of these threats, want to know the Trump administration has its head in the game and is eager to put away the bad dudes who are doing this. After 69 bomb threats in two months, President Trump should mention this every week from now until the people responsible are caught and prosecuted.