APN today released the following statement in connection with the appointment of Steve Bannon to the Trump White House, and in connection to the wave of anti-Semitic acts and other hateful rhetoric and aggression targeting vulnerable groups in America:
Americans for Peace Now (APN) – America’s veteran Jewish, Zionist, pro-peace organization – unequivocally condemns the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior advisor and chief strategist in the White House. Bannon is unfit to serve in the White House or in any part of the government of this great nation. This judgment is not about political or policy disagreements. It is about basic American and Jewish values. It is about the poisonous racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other vile hate-mongering that grew alongside and in support of the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump. It is about the failure of President-elect Trump and his surrogates to meaningfully reject and condemn this trend and its adherents; indeed, it is about the President-elect appearing to actively court and encourage them. The naming of Bannon as a top advisor in the Trump White House – an act celebrated by the “alt-right” as a clear victory for their odious agenda – is the personification of this phenomenon.
APN likewise condemns, vehemently and unequivocally, the decision by some Jewish groups and prominent individuals to ignore, tolerate, whitewash, and even justify anti-Semitism and hate-mongering – both now, with the Bannon appointment, and over the course of the Trump campaign. Their decision to do so reflects a dangerous perversion of the very concept of what it means to be “pro-Israel.” Their failure to speak out today is the culmination of years of efforts to transform support for Israel into an extremist ideology of its own – an ideology that prioritizes fealty to hardline, pro-settlement, anti-peace Israeli positions over all else, including over defending core Jewish values, like tolerance and respect for human rights and human dignity, and even over standing up to the scourge of anti-Semitism that has plagued our people for generations.
No one should forget that many of these same groups have not hesitated to exploit accusations of “anti-Semitism” to demonize and delegitimize those of us who, like APN, refuse to sacrifice our Jewish and American values, or our commitment to Israel as a secure, democratic, Jewish state, at the altar of the “Greater Israel” enterprise. The failure of these same groups to take a stand against the very real anti-Semitism and racist extremism stalking our nation today discloses both the degree to which their concern about anti-Semitism has been co-opted by their hardline ideology, and the extent to which this ideology is anathema to the interests and values of Jewish Americans and of Israel.
Today, American Jewish groups and prominent Jewish individuals are facing a critical test: do they stand with American Jews and with Jewish values – the same values that have long animated Americans’ support for progressive policies in both the U.S. and Israel – or do they stand with the extremists and anti-Semites with whom they find common ground in support of the reactionary agenda of Israel’s own anti-democratic far right. So far, they are failing this test.
We urge President-elect Trump to cancel his appointment of Bannon. We urge him, too, to finally denounce and reject the abhorrent actions and views of the hate-mongers who are acting, publicly and proudly, in his name. And we urge Jewish organizations and prominent Jewish individuals to stand with American Jews by speaking out against the appointment of Bannon and against the wave of hate that is sweeping our great nation targeting many vulnerable groups, including Jews.