The word on the street or at the minyan is that in the week between the election of Donald J. Trump as POTUS and the ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) first ever “Now is Never” conference on anti-Semitism, the ADL experienced an increase in contributions by a factor of fifty. And about three-quarters of the funders were new to the organization.
Post Election Day has been akin to an Ice Bucket Challenge for the group that fights hate. On Thursday, the ADL hosted a summit on anti-Semitism in New York City. You can watch selected videos from the summit HERE.
According to Todd Gutnick, ADL vice president for communications, the organization experienced a 50-fold increase in its average daily donations. The increase occurred prior to Trump’s slection of Steve Bannon.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL added that the many of the donors asked the ADL to “devote some those funds to monitoring, exposing and disrupting cyberhate.” Some donors have committed to six-figure sums.
The ADL, along with the National Jewish Democratic Committee and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism have criticized the newly forming Trump Administration for selecting Steve Bannon for a senior White House position.
On the other hand, the Rabbinical Council of America (rabbis.org) placed a full page advertisement in The New York Times this week that congratulated President-elect Donald J. Trump on his success and wished him well. Steve Bannon is expected to be a guest at the dinner organized by The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) this weekend in Manhattan. It will honor philanthropist, Trump supporter, and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Morton Klein, the head of the ZOA wrote that Breitbart senior editor Joel B. Pollak wrote that Bannon is “an American patriot who defends Israel and has deep empathy for the Jewish people.” Klein shared his own experience and analysis of Breitbart articles which confirmed Bannon’s and Breitbart’s friendship and fair-mindedness toward the Jewish people and Israel. He wrote that Breitbart actually fights anti_Semitism and Klein feels that to accuse Bannon and Breitbart of anti-Semitism is “Orwellian.”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an American rabbi based in New Jersey, penned an open letter to ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt which defended Bannon against accusations of anti-Semitism. Boteach wrote that although he met Bannon for the first time last week, he sides with Joel Pollak, who told him that Jewish employees at Breitbart were given flexible hours for Sabbath and Jewish holidays observances, and Breitbart also was in vocal opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and BDS.