From the editorial* in Wednesday’s Wheeling News-Register:
Plenty of explanations are being offered for a disturbing report issued this week. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States last year were up 57 percent from 2016, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
This is yet another opinion piece that ignores the original story to go straight to an editorial. In the process, important details are left behind.
Earlier this week, the Anti-Defamation League released a study on the increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States. Despite the editorial’s assertion of “plenty of explanations,” the Associated Press article on the ADL study that the Wheeling papers chose not to run mentions only two:
ADL national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the “alarming” increase appears to be fueled by emboldened far-right extremists as well as the “divisive state of our national discourse.”
Greenblatt then connected both to the president:
President Donald Trump was widely criticized for saying there was “blame on both sides” after violence erupted in August at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of demonstrators. Greenblatt said Trump’s statements about the rally were a “serious failure of moral leadership” and a “low point” of his presidency.
“There’s no question we would love to see the president call out anti-Semitism as consistently and clearly as he does other issues,” Greenblatt said.
And Greenblatt in other reports singled out the president for encouraging these attacks:
“The president’s retweeting of white supremacists and anti-Semitic memes during the campaign and, more recently, sharing tweets from a UK racist group—those are alarming. Those tweets and rhetoric have emboldened and given encouragement to the worst anti-Semites and bigots,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
A bit more to the point was Boston Globe columnist Michael A. Cohen:
Greenblatt won’t say it directly (and many are reluctant to do so), but we all know what that change has been: the election of Donald Trump. What we’ve seen over the past two years is not just the normalizing of anti-Semitic rhetoric in our political discourse, but the abject failure of the president of the United States to condemn voices of intolerance and hatred.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump refused to condemn David Duke. He tweeted out anti-Semitic imagery, and his Twitter account regularly retweeted supporters who had previously made hostile and racist comments about Jews. He said at an event for the Republican Jewish Coalition, “I’m a negotiator like you folks are negotiators”; and perhaps most infamously ran a closing ad that attacked those who “control the levers of power in Washington” and derided a “global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class,” interspliced with images of then-chief of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen; liberal philanthropist George Soros; and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — all of whom are Jewish. It stands out as one of the most blatantly anti-Semitic ads ever run by a modern presidential campaign.
To it’s credit, the editorial did note:
Discrimination and/or harassment based on race, religion, social status, physical characteristics, sexual preference, political beliefs are simply not acceptable.
Nice words. Unfortunately we have a president who has a record of all the above and yet Wheeling “newspapers” have never once written a word of criticism.
- Link is to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise -- the editorial is not online on the Wheeling site. This editorial is apparently another Ogden "one size fits all locales" editorial -- at 1:30 PM there were at least four other Ogden newspapers running the same editorial.