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ADL slams Trump for using Israel as a shield to defend racist tweets

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has condemned comments by President Donald Trump that referred to Israel to defend his call for four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to where they came from.

In his tweets over the weekend, Trump said the congresswomen, known as “The Squad” (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley), “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world” and that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

Trump said: “So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion … they are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America, we don’t need to know anything about them personally, talk about their policies.” He went on: “The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “As Jews, we are all too familiar with this kind of divisive prejudice. While ADL has publicly disagreed with these congresswomen on some issues, the president is echoing the racist talking points of white nationalists and cynically using the Jewish people and the state of Israel as a shield to double down on his remarks.”

He added: “Politicising the widespread, bipartisan support for Israel and throwing around accusations of anti-Semitism is damaging to the security of Israel and the Jewish community. He should lead by example, stop politicising these issues and stop smearing members of Congress.”

Allison Kaplan Sommer wrote in Haaretz that despite coming from different ends of the political spectrum, Trump and IfNotNow, an American Jewish progressive activist group, are both: “attempting to whittle away at the mainstream American-Jewish political construct that has been in place for decades, combining progressive and liberal positions on hot-button domestic issues like immigration, abortion and criminal justice with a supportive and affectionate-yet-critical relationship with the Jewish state.”