The Anne Frank Center's Trump Letter Is Critical

by Bronwyn Isaac
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Last week Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center wrote to Donald Trump expressing concern for the recent acts of anti-Semitism since Trump has been elected. On Tuesday, after a visit to the National Museum of African American Museum and Culture, Trump addessed the rise in anti-semitic attacks and voiced his disapproval when he said, "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

It was shortly after Trump made that statement on Tuesday that Goldstein made a Facebook post that strongly urged Trump to do more.

The President's sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.

The statement went on to point out that the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day didn't mention Jews, because, according to the administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks, "We are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered." This meant, in effect, the White House statement by the President didn't explicitly highlight the targeted genocide of Jewish people on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Although it's been a week since the Anne Frank Center directly criticized Trump about the rise of sentiments against Jewish people, he has yet to respond. When you take into consideration the fact that Trump has responded to Saturday Night live skits within days of airing, his late response to the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, an organization that advocates for marginalized communities and engages in grassroots education, feels even more glaring.

Late Saturday night, over 100 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were toppled, according to a report from The Washington Post. The Philadelphia police are currently investigating the source of this instance of targeted vandalism.

In early January, a report from The New York Times revealed that as many as 16 Jewish community centers received anonymous bomb threats; luckily, in these cases, there was no harmful follow through on the threats. During the last week of January, another report from The New York Times revealed that a high school in Cincinnati was vandalized with swastikas and graffiti reading "Trump." A statement made by the JCC Association of America last week revealed that there have been a total of 68 bomb threats towards Jewish community centers through Feb. 20, 2017 alone.

It is unclear if this marks an actual increase in anti-Semitic attacks or if more attention is being paid to them. As Mark Oppenheimer reported in The Washington Post, "[I]t is not clear that we can accuse the president of ushering in a new era of heightened anti-Semitism. While there is real anti-Semitism, we have no reliable statistics available to show there's been a rise in anti-Semitism since Trump's election."

However, although it is not clear that there is necessarily a spike in anti-Semitic incidences, anti-Semitism is clearly a problem plaguing the United States. And because of that, even Trump's late-to-the-game condemnation can and lack of response to the Anne Frank Center can be deafening for those who are concerned.