ADL states Trump appt. Bannon not known anti-Semite, while ADL CEO pledges to register as Muslim
Responding to Trump's hiring of Breitbart editor Steve Bannon, the Anti-Defamation League says that 'While there is a long fact pattern of evidence that Breitbart served as a platform for a wide range of bigotry,' it is 'not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself'; at the same time, the ADL's CEO has stated that if Trump follows through on his promise to set up a Muslim registry, 'That is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim.'
In a statement published on its website, the Anti-Defamation League—a US-based international Jewish civil rights organization—wrote that it is not aware of any outright anti-Semitic acts or statements made by US President-elect Donald Trump's new chief strategist Steve Bannon. The organization did, however, come out against the many various racist and misogynist statements that Bannon is on record as making over the years, either directly or as the editor of far right media outlet Breitbart News. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has also personally come out in support of a new anti-Trump initiative, promising to register as Muslim is Trump will set up a Muslim registry, as promised.
"We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon," the ADL stated on its website. "While there is a long fact pattern of evidence that Breitbart served as a platform for a wide range of bigotry and there is some controversy related to statements from Mr. Bannon's divorce proceedings in 2007, we are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself. In fact, Jewish employees of Breitbart have challenged the characterization of him and defended him from charges of anti-Semitism. Some have pointed out that Breitbart Jerusalem was launched during his tenure."
"Nevertheless, Bannon essentially has established himself as the chief curator for the alt right. Under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate."
"The alt right is a loose network of individuals and groups that promote white identity and reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy," The ADL statement opened, while adding, "Bannon 'proudly' told a reporter at the 2016 Republican National Convention, 'We’re the platform for the alt right.' In the same interview in Mother Jones magazine, he denied that the alt right is inherently racist or anti-Semitic, although a vast majority of people affiliated with that movement hold racist and anti-Semitic views."
"Bannon has also been embraced by white supremacists for his views in recent days. Numerous well-known white supremacists weighed in on President-elect Trump's appointment of Bannon as his chief strategist. David Duke called the selection of Bannon 'excellent,' adding that Bannon was 'basically creating the ideological aspects of where we’re going.' Peter Brimelow, who runs the racist site VDare, said that the Bannon hire was 'amazing.' Jared Taylor of American Renaissance and Brad Griffin who runs the Occidental Dissent website both said that Bannon would help hold Trump to his campaign rhetoric on immigration and other issues. Rocky Suhayda of the American Nazi Party voiced the same view."
The ADL continued to say that "Many of the Breitbart headlines published under Bannon's tenure illustrate the website’s virulently anti-Muslim, misogynistic, worldview, including: 'Planned Parenthood’s Body Count Under Cecile Richards is Up to Half a Holocaust,' 'Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?' and 'Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture.' It stressed that "Advocating for the Muslim immigration ban, which president-elect Trump suggested during his presidential campaign, the website called it an 'Extraordinary, Brilliant’ Move' and published articles defending its constitutionality."
In addition to maintaining its opposition to Bannon's appointment, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has come out in support of "Register US," a recent initiative aimed to protect Muslims living in the US against persecution by urging all US citizens to register as Muslim.
In light of President-elect Donald Trump's call to ban all immigrants from Muslim countries, many Muslims and allies within the US fear that US Muslims will also be targeted by Trump's administration.
Registering Muslims in the United States has been likened to the US government's internment of Japanese-Americans in camps during World War Two—for which an official apology was later issued— and with Nazi Germany's laws that required Jews to register with authorities.
In a statement posted on Twitter earlier this week, Greenblatt was quoted as saying that "If one day Muslims will be forced to register, that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim."
Register US co-founder, Rebecca Green, who works in brand marketing in New York City, said she was encouraged by the public's response since launching the website with two friends earlier this week.
"We see this effort as a plea to American values to not become the kind of country that keeps lists based on religion," she said. "Nothing is more anti-American than a registry based on religion."
There were about 3.3 million Muslim people living in the United States in 2015, according a recent estimate by the Washington-DC-based Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank.