US President Donald Trump opened his first address before Congress by calling out a recent spate of antisemitic attacks and threats against American Jews.
The past month has seen a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents in the US.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” he said.
Just last week, vandals severely damaged Jewish tombstones in Pennsylvania and Missouri, and a number of Jewish Community Centers received bomb threats.
Trump and others in his circle have suggested that some of the bomb threats could have been made to further the perception that his presidency has brought about an increase in antisemitism.
Many of Trump’s detractors insist he is a racist and a bigot, ignoring the fact that his daughter converted to Judaism and remains his most trusted advisor, and that he has numerous Jews serving in high-ranking roles.
A number of leading Jewish organizations praised Trump for opening his speech by condemning antisemitism, but they did so cautiously.
Groups like the Anti-Defamation League have been vocal critics of Trump’s immigration policies targeting certain Muslim countries and his rollback of protections for “transgenders.”