Trump Advisor David Friedman: Criticism of Ad ‘Abuse’ of the Anti-Semitic Label

The uproar over Donald Trump’s closing argument TV ad is an abuse of the accusation of anti-Semitism, Trump’s Jewish advisor David Friedman said in an interview with Jewish Insider on Monday.

“The Jewish community has to be able to distinguish between real anti-Semitism and fake anti-Semitism,” said Friedman. “We’ve experienced enough anti-Semitism, unfortunately, over the course of our lives and our parents’ lives and our entire history. We ought to know the difference between real anti-Semitism and fake anti-Semitism. Real anti-Semitism is something you see in Iran. Real anti-Semitism is something that you see among Hamas, the Palestinians. Fake anti-Semitism is criticism of people in America whose policies are antithetical to most Americans. When you criticize people who happen to be Jewish, that’s not anti-Semitism if you’re criticizing them because of their policies.”

On Sunday, Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, blasted Trump for releasing an ad that was described as peddling anti-Jewish stereotypes to motivate his alt-right and anti-Semitic supporters as the presidential race enters its final stretch. The TV spot decries the influence of “those who control the levers of power in Washington,” singling out three Jewish public figures who are Jewish — billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election,” Trump is heard saying in a recent speech as images of the three prominent figures show up on the screen. “For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind.”

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) called Trump’s advertisement “something of a German shepherd whistle” and likened it to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Friedman maintained that the three individuals were singled out in a sole purpose to highlight their liberal policies and influence over Clinton and not over their Jewish identity.

“Lloyd Blankfein is the head of Goldman Sachs. He’s not being criticized because he’s Jewish. He’s being criticized because he runs a bank that has extraordinarily close ties to Hillary Clinton and has paid her almost $1 million to give speeches that Hillary Clinton tried to keep secret,” he explained. “He criticized Janet Yellen because he has been critical of how the Federal Reserve monitors the U.S. monetary policy. It has nothing to do with her being Jewish. In fact, I doubt people even know that Janet Yellen is Jewish. She’s never done anything in her life to identify as a Jew. Other than the fact she happens to have been born of a Jewish mother, she has done nothing to be Jewish. The last criticism, George Soros. Number 1, most people don’t even know that he’s Jewish. He doesn’t have a Jewish name. He’s done nothing to positively identify with the Jewish community at any point in his life. George Soros has done more to vilify the state of Israel and to fund anti-Israel propaganda machines than almost any individual on the face of the earth. The idea that by criticizing George Soros I am anti-Semitic, or I’m indicating anti-Semitic tendencies, when George Soros is himself one of the great enemies of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, turns the world on its head. Just because he’s nominally of the Jewish faith does not mean he gets a free pass on being criticized.” 

According to Friedman, the accusations against Trump “diminishes the whole notion of anti-Semitism” when all Trump is doing is criticizing people whose policies he disagrees with, whose policies many people disagree with, who just happen to be Jewish.”

“This is an absolute abuse of the accusation of anti-Semitism,” he stated. “The Anti-Defamation League, which was founded on the notion of rooting out anti-Semitism, has completely destroyed and perverted their own mandate by going after this type of criticism. I don’t see how anybody can take the Anti-Defamation League seriously going forward.”

Friedman also castigated the ADL and Al Franken for likening the Trump ad to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“People who were killed in the Holocaust, people who have been victimized by anti-Semitism, are now listening to Al Franken, who probably never in his entire life confronted any anti-Semitism,” said Friedman. “Al Franken has now become the expert on anti-Semitism to accuse Donald Trump of creating a video that is reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I don’t know if he even knows what that was, but these were accusations specifically against Jewish people. That’s comparable to this ad? This is what happens when people take these insane arguments to their logical extension. They lose all credibility, and frankly, they sound like morons.”

Friedman went further to accuse the ADL of aligning themselves with the far left of the Jewish community by manufacturing claims of anti-Semitism that are completely fake in an attempt “to scare Jewish people into voting for Hillary Clinton” and “to advance liberal policies that have failed in the past and will continue to fail in the future.”

Friedman took the opportunity to appeal to Jewish voters in the critical battleground states to consider voting for Trump.

“I would ask Jewish voters to focus on two things,” he said. “The first is Israel. The Republican platform, which could have never been enacted without the support of Donald Trump, is the most pro-Israel platform in the history of either party, in the history of this country. He has followed through with additional statements and more detailed policy points over the recent past… Some of those points are frankly unique and massively better, not only than Hillary Clinton but even when compared to George W. Bush – no daylight between the countries, Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of Israel, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, maintaining an overwhelmingly superior military profile for Israel relative to its enemies, and no longer burdening Israel, when it is called to defend itself, with obsolete notions of proportionate force. Also, rejecting the notion that Israel is occupying today in Judea and Samaria, punishing the BDS movement, not imposing on Israel a settlement against its will, and not funding the Palestinian Authority without absolute assurances that it’s no longer providing stipends to terrorists.”

“Point number two is to look at America’s profile relative to the rest of the world. The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton can’t walk away from that because she was Secretary of State for four of those eight years, and she’s said absolutely nothing during the course of her campaign to distinguish herself or to distinguish her presidency from an Obama presidency. The Clinton-Obama foreign policy has wreaked massive damage everywhere in the world, from the Middle East to Eastern Europe to the South China Sea to South America to obviously the rise of ISIS to the nuclearization of Iran in just a short nine years. You can’t point to any place in the world which is safer, more secure, less of a threat than it was eight years ago. The single most prominent reason for all of that is that American has projected weakness to the rest of the world. It’s a small world, and when the world is this unstable and risky, Jews everywhere are less safe and they’re less secure. The Trump administration is going to reverse all of that. We’re not going to lead from behind. We’re going to lead from the front. That should be very important to people everywhere, but it’s, of course, important to Jews, because when the United States is weak, Israel is weak, and frankly, Jews everywhere have reason to be concerned.”

If elected as president, Friedman said, Trump will maintain a strong relationship with American Jewish organizations. 

“He has great respect for AIPAC, and I think he will maintain a very good relationship with AIPAC,” he said. “AIPAC is a good example, but I think there are other Jewish organizations as well that he has great respect for. I don’t think the ADL is one of them, but there are plenty of middle of the road, centrist Jewish organizations that he will be on very good terms with.” 

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