(JTA) — Two weeks after feting Donald Trump as America’s most pro-Israel president ever, the Zionist Organization of America had harsh words for the man who aspires to return to the White House.
“ZOA deplores the fact that President Trump had a friendly dinner with such vile antisemites,” ZOA said Sunday in a news release. “His dining with Jew-haters helps legitimize and mainstream antisemitism and must be condemned by everyone.”
The group was referring to Trump’s dinner last week with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West who came out as an antisemite in recent weeks, and Nick Fuentes, the right-wing provocateur and Holocaust denier. Trump hosted the pair at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, on Tuesday.
Reaction to the dinner was initially muted in the days before Thanksgiving, but over the long weekend, a host of figures denounced Trump for meeting with the two men, though some did so more strongly or explicitly than others. Among Jews, the criticism has come not only from Trump’s longtime detractors but from some of his biggest fans.
“To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this,” David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, said Friday on Twitter. “Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable.”
Friedman is rarely anything but effusive in praising Trump, whom he once said would join the “small cadre of Israeli heroes” for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights and exiting the Iran nuclear deal, among other measures. But on Friday, his tone was more pleading as he tweeted to Trump: “I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.”
Trump for his part said in statements on his Truth Social social media site that he hoped to assist Ye, whom he described as “troubled,” and that he did not know who Fuentes was. (Ye said he had come to Mar-a-Lago to ask Trump to be his running mate in his own nascent campaign.)
“We got along great, he expressed no antisemitism and I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson,’” Trump said of Ye, referring to a Fox News opinion show hosted by Carlson, whose embrace of an antisemitic conspiracy theory has led the Anti-Defamation League to call for his removal. “Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.”
The response was reminiscent of Trump’s swatting-away of criticism after he told the Proud Boys, a far-right group whose founder had made antisemitic comments, to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate in 2020, in response to being asked to condemn white supremacists from the debate stage. He subsequently said he did not know who the Proud Boys were. (The group later rebranded as explicitly antisemitic.)
Trump’s contention that he did not know Fuentes raised eyebrows for some. Like the Proud Boys, Fuentes is part of the extremist fringe of the Republican Party that has made up part of Trump’s base. The founder of a white nationalist group called America First, he was a leading organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rallies organized by Trump supporters to try to overturn the election results showing that he lost in 2020; he was also present at the rally that Trump addressed preceding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that aimed to derail the transition of power.
Fuentes, who routinely rails against Jews on his livestream, also attended the 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Trump famously said there were “very fine people on both sides” and more recently has grown close to far-right lawmakers in Trump’s party, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia and Rep. Paul Gosar in Arizona.
But even those who took Trump at his word that he did not previously know Fuentes said that was little excuse for dining with him.
“A good way not to accidentally dine with a vile racist and anti-Semite you don’t know is not to dine with a vile racist and anti-Semite you do know,” the Jewish right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro tweeted on Sunday. (Shapiro’s tweet kicked off a heated exchange with Ye, who recently returned to Twitter as the social media platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, restores many accounts that were suspended for violating the site’s old rules, including Trump’s.)
Reaction to the dinner kept Trump in the spotlight over the course of a holiday weekend, a double-edged sword for the first Republican to declare a 2024 presidential campaign. Trump’s rise was fueled by nonstop media coverage, including of seeming misdeeds that did not doom him with his supporters. Still, one Trump advisor told NBC News that the event was a “f—ing nightmare” for the campaign, which has gotten off to a rocky start.
Also condemning the meeting were Jewish organizations that have not hesitated to criticize Trump’s flirtation with extremists in the past, including the American Jewish Committee, the Reform movement of Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League.
The Biden White House also condemned the incident. “Bigotry, hate, and anti-Semitism have absolutely no place in America, including at Mar-a-Lago,” its statement said. ”Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.” (Asked to comment on Trump saying he didn’t know Fuentes, Biden himself told a reporter, “You don’t want to hear what I think.”)
The White House’s statement did not name Trump, nor did statements from many Republicans, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, at whose annual conference Trump spoke last week. The group did not initiate a statement, but, in response to reporters’ queries, released one.
“We strongly condemn the virulent antisemitism of Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and call on all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with them,” said the statement, first solicited by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman. The RJC and its CEO, Matt Brooks, retweeted Haberman.
Why the RJC would not name Trump drew follow-up questions from reporters, including Haberman, as well as a barrage of criticism on social media.
Brooks, evidently stung, called such queries “dumb and short-sighted” on Sunday morning and said on Twitter by way of explanation, “We didn’t mention Trump in our RJC statement even though it’s obviously in response to his meeting because we wanted it to be a warning to ALL Republicans. Duh!”
Max Miller, a Jewish Republican just elected to Congress from Ohio, and a former wingman for Trump, also did not name Trump and instead appealed to Ye, who at least until recently had become cherished on the right as a Black Christian conservative, to make a course correction.
“Nick Fuentes is unquestionably an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. His brand of hate has no place in our public discourse,” Miller said on Twitter. Ye “doesn’t need to keep walking this path. Letting people like Nick Fuentes into his life is a mistake.”
Prominent Jewish Republicans not making statements included David Kustoff, a Tennessee Jewish Republican congressman; Jason Greenblatt, once a top Middle East adviser to Trump; and Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who were both top advisers to Trump when he was president. A spokesman for Kushner did not reply to a request for comment.
Lee Zeldin, the Jewish Republican New York congressman seen as having a future in the GOP leadership after performing more strongly than expected in a failed bid to be elected governor of a Democratic state, also did not issue a statement, and his spokesman did not reply to a request for comment. Zeldin has otherwise been outspoken on Jewish issues in Congress and co-chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Black-Jewish caucus.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is the only Black Republican in the Senate and who co-chairs its Black-Jewish caucus, also had not commented as of Sunday night. Scott is believed to be a 2024 presidential hopeful and
Other Republican leaders denounced extremism but did not call out Trump by name. Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman known for her closeness to the former president, like the RJC, replied only when asked by a reporter — in her case, from Bloomberg — and did not name Trump.
“As I had repeatedly said, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech, and bigotry are disgusting and do not have a home in the Republican Party,” McDaniel said.
Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned antisemitism — but without mentioning Trump, Fuentes, Ye or any of the forms of antisemitism they have expressed. Instead, Pompeo spoke of his own role in undermining the boycott Israel movement — a cause that none of the men who dined together has embraced.
“Anti-Semitism is a cancer. As Secretary, I fought to ban funding for anti-Semitic groups that pushed BDS,” Pompeo said on Twitter. “We stand with the Jewish people in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry.”
Trump was the ghost in the Republican machine last weekend at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference in Las Vegas: the declared candidate who party leaders believe still commands the unswerving loyalty of at least a third of the base. With his capacity for lashing out at critics, taking on Trump directly is seen as a fool’s game by many in the party.
A handful of Republicans already known for their open criticism of Trump, including Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, did denounce him by name.
“This is just awful, unacceptable conduct from anyone, but most particularly from a former President and current candidate,” Christie tweeted on Friday.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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