ADL leader: US anti-Semitic public discourse worse than at any time since 1930s
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ADL leader: US anti-Semitic public discourse worse than at any time since 1930s

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Anti-Semitic graffiti left on a building near the University of Virginia Campus in Charlottesville, Va. (Courtesy Michaela Brown)

(JTA) — At the opening to the Anti-Defamation League’s conference on anti-Semitism, the organization’s national director said anti-Jewish public and political discourse in America is worse than at any point since the 1930s.

Jonathan Greenblatt, speaking Thursday at the opening of the ADL’s “Never Is Now” summit in New York, said currents on both the far right and far left have led to anti-Semitism’s resurgence. He mentioned the platform of the Movement for Black Lives published this year that accused Israel of genocide.

Jonathan Greenblatt (Courtesy of the ADL)

Jonathan Greenblatt (Courtesy of the ADL)

Greenblatt also detailed the anti-Semitic attacks that rose during the 2016 presidential campaign, mentioning the appointment of Stephen Bannon as the chief strategist to President-elect Donald Trump. Bannon was the chairman of Breitbart News, a website Bannon called the “platform for the alt-right,” a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

“The American Jewish community, our community, has not seen this level of anti-Semitism in mainstream political and public discourse since the 1930s,” Greenblatt said. “Sadly, it is only being matched with escalating levels of hate toward other minorities today.”

Addressing reports that Trump’s transition team is considering creating a registry of Muslims in the United States, Greenblatt pledged that he would sign up as a Muslim. He referred to the apocryphal story about the king of Denmark promising to wear a yellow star if it would be required of the Scandinavian country’s Jews.

“As Jews, we know what it means to be registered, or targeted, held out as different from our fellow citizens,” Greenblatt said. “We as Jews know the right and just response. I pledge to you right here and now, because I’m committed to the fight against anti-Semitism, if one day American Muslims will be forced to register their identity, that is the day this proud Jew will register as a Muslim.”