Jewish activists from center to left all criticized President Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States from 7 Muslim countries.
But few have taken on another executive order signed at the same time - the order reshuffling the White House National Security Council and adding Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, as a member of the team. This move breaks with longstanding tradition that political appointees are excluded from NSC’s top advisory meetings.
Bend the Arc, the Jewish progressive group which focuses on domestic issues, has thus far been the first to take on the issue of Bannon’s increasing influence in Trump’s White House.
“We are deeply distressed by recent indications that Steve Bannon, a purveyor of white nationalist, racist rhetoric and conspiracy theories, is leading the charge in shaping the policies of the Trump administration,” the group said in a statement, referring to Bannon’s past at Breitbart News, a platform that Bannon himself said he turned into a platform for the “alt-right,” the label preferred by contemporary white supremacists.
Bend the Arc took issue specifically with Bannon’s new role as a member of the NSC’s Principals Committee stating that “the elevation of a political advisor, particularly one with Bannon’s radically un-American worldview, to a position of such importance violates both fundamental principles of our democracy as well as common sense, and it makes all Americans less safe.”
Jewish groups are split on the appointment of Bannon to a top White House position and with his new role in the center of Trump’s foreign policy and national security team, he will clearly deal with issues relating to Israel. The main pro-Israel lobby AIPAC did not criticize Bannon or rule out working with him, and Israel’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer volunteered his backing for Bannon and vowed to work with him.