WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is not to blame for the behavior of his anti-Semitic supporters, one of his top Israel advisers said in a recent interview.
“I do not think Mr. Trump can be responsible for people who are anti-Semitic who support him,” Jason Dov Greenblatt, a real estate attorney who is the chief legal officer of Trump Organization, told Jewish radio host Nachum Segal Wednesday. “He has come out clearly against anti-Semitism.”
Greenblatt insisted his billionaire businessman-turned-politician boss doesn’t need to keep revisiting the issue of some of his followers’ anti-Jewish conduct.
Named by Trump as someone he would appoint as an Israel adviser were he to win the White House, Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew who once studied in a West Bank yeshiva, referred to a statement Trump gave to The New York Times that he suggested solidified his public repudiation of anti-Semitism.
After Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt demanded Trump “make unequivocally clear he rejects” the positions of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who endorsed Trump, and that “there is no room for Duke and anti-Semitism in his campaign and in society,” the first-time political candidate said that “anti-Semitism has no place in our society, which needs to be united, not divided.”
“I was in his office when he called The New York Times, about two weeks ago, to denounce the statements made by David Duke,” Jason Greenblatt told Segal. “And he has said it countless times. It really bothers me that people think that he constantly has to repeat statements he has said before.
“As we know, social media is such that people can simply say whatever they want constantly, and even on my own Twitter feed I try not to look at the comments. But there are plenty of times that I simply cannot resist, and the same people keep coming up with the same anti-Semitic stance and statements,” he added, “and I just think that they have to understand that he has a campaign to run, he has an election to win, and he can’t keep going around saying ‘I denounce anti-Semitism.’ He said it clearly and emphatically on multiple times.”
Greenblatt’s interview was on the same day as the ADL announced it was forming a task force to analyze the anti-Semitic and racist harassment directed at journalists during the 2016 presidential campaign and propose an effective response by the end of the summer.
Two of the Jewish journalists who have recently experienced vicious attacks from Trump’s anti-Semitic backers are included in the group, including Julia Ioffe and Bethany Mandell.
The ADL chief has also urged the presumptive Republican nominee to denounce his supporters who have unleashed anti-Semitic invective toward journalists and others on social media. Trump has yet to do so, however, and declined to accept an opportunity when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 4 what his message was to those fans.
“I don’t know anything about that, you’ll have to talk to them about it,” he told Blitzer. “I don’t have a message to the fans.”