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Jewish adviser says Trump can't be blamed for anti-Semitic supporters

By Eric DuVall
Jewish adviser says Trump can't be blamed for anti-Semitic supporters
Protesters gather May 12 outside of the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., to denounce policies from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump viewed as racist. Multiple Jewish journalists have reported receiving anti-Semitic threats online from self-identified Trump supporters after writing stories critical of the presumptive Republican real estate mogul. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, June 2 (UPI) -- A longtime Jewish adviser to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says the real estate mogul should not be held responsible for anti-Semitic comments made by his supporters.

Jason Greenblatt, an orthodox Jew who has worked for Trump for many years, made the comments on a New York City radio program aimed at a Jewish audience.

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"I do not think Mr. Trump can be responsible for people who are anti-Semitic who support him," Greenblatt told host Nachum Segal on his JM in the AM program Wednesday. "He has come out clearly against anti-Semitism."

The issue first came up when former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, whose support Trump has disavowed, called out "Jewish extremists" who oppose Trump.

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The candidate told The New York Times the comment "has no place in our society."

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The issue came back last week, when a Times reporter became the second journalist recently to face a wave of anti-Semitic criticism online after writing an article critical on Trump.

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Times reporter Jonathan Weisman published an opinion piece in the paper, detailing some of the disturbing threats he received on Twitter from self-identified Trump supporters who quickly honed in on his Jewish faith, which Weisman said he has not actively practiced in years.

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A contributing writer for Politico Magazine, Julia Ioffe, said she faced similar treatment from Trump supporters over her Jewish faith.

"As we know, social media is such that people can simply say whatever they want constantly," Greenblatt said, alluding to the threats against journalists online. "Even on my own Twitter feed, I've tried not to look at the comments, but there are plenty of times that I simply cannot resist, and the same people keep coming up with the same anti-Semitic stance and statements. And I just think that they have to understand that he has a campaign to run, he has an election to win, and he can't keep going around saying 'I denounce anti-Semitism.' He said it clearly and emphatically on multiple times."

The incidents have prompted the Anti-Defamation League to create a task force to investigate anti-Semitic remarks and threats directed at Jewish journalists, and study the effect it is having on free speech and freedom of the press.

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"Journalists are used to being criticized, but this election cycle we repeatedly have seen criticism quickly cross the line into ugly anti-Semitic and other hateful attacks including death threats," said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. "ADL has been monitoring, studying, and speaking out against anti-Semitism, racism, and other hate for years. We hope to bring our experience to this latest manifestation of it so we can take steps to address this challenge even as we strive to ensure that we do not jeopardize free speech and a free press."

The ADL said Ioffe will be a member of the task force, along with retired law enforcement and leaders of the Columbia and Northwestern journalism schools.

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