Skip To Content
Breaking News

Top Reform Rabbi Blasts Donald Trump for ‘Anti-Semitic’ Rhetoric

WASHINGTON — A top Reform movement rabbi said it “defies belief” that Donald Trump is unaware of anti-Semitic associations in his campaign rhetoric.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who directs the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, released his statement Friday, Oct. 14, a day after the Republican presidential nominee delivered a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida, alleging that Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, was part of an international conspiracy aimed at rigging the election.

Trump did not mention Jews during the speech but, Pesner said, “such imagery has a long and vile history among those who perpetuate anti-Semitic tropes.”

Pesner also noted that Trump and his surrogates have attacked advisers and donors to Clinton, often naming those who are Jewish.

“During the second presidential debate, Mr. Trump appeared to take special pains to mention the names of Jewish acquaintances, colleagues and advisors to Secretary Clinton,” Pesner said.

“It defies belief to assume that Mr. Trump is unaware of the anti-Semitic associations of the messages he is espousing – nor can he be unaware that such messages are being celebrated by neo-Nazis and alt-right organizations,” Pesner said. “Mr. Trump must act responsibly by ceasing to disseminate false, historically anti-Semitic associations. He must also unequivocally repudiate the support of anti-Semites who have embraced his candidacy.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO, also identified correlations to anti-Semitic literature in Trump’s West Palm Beach speech, advising him in a Tweet to “avoid rhetoric and tropes that historically have been used against Jews and still spur #antisemitism.”

Trump’s campaign, responding to Greenblatt, said that perceiving anti-Semitic intent in the nominee’s rhetoric is irresponsible.

“Jonathan Greenblatt seems to be willing to ignore Mr. Trump’s lifelong commitment and support of Israel and the Jewish community, as well as his forceful rebuke of anti-Semitism, but Mr. Trump will not allow anyone to hide the truth from the American people, no matter what illegitimate means they employ to try to do so,” Trump’s adviser on Jewish matters, Jason Greenblatt, told JTA in an email.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.