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Five Jewish groups say ‘No state visit for Trump’

After a joint statement by 5 Jewish groups and 1 from the Board of Deputies, extracts from a full account in the FT and a scathing report from CNN – generator of fake news to Trump’s ear.


Trump frequently suggested Pres. Obama was a Muslim and not an American. The two meet November 2016. Photo by AFP/Getty

Trump visit will increase racism in UK

Donald Trump’s retweeting of videos from Britain First, an avowedly Islamophobic organisation espousing a Fascist ideology, takes the office of the President of the USA to a new low. As groups representing many Jews in Britain, we are horrified that Trump has signalled common cause with an organisation that practises the politics of violence, and which has a record of provoking attacks on peaceful communities.

Britain First is also linked to explicitly antisemitic parties in Poland, and its name was invoked by the murderer of Jo Cox. The far right here has already been bolstered by Trump’s actions, and it is likely that further attacks will follow.

We urgently call on our Government to make it absolutely clear to the  Government of the USA that there is no question of Donald Trump enjoying a state visit to the UK, or any visit on official business. Such a visit is likely to further strengthen Fascist organisations here, leading to a rise in racism, including Islamophobia and Antisemitism. In the interests of public safety, community relations and common decency, we demand that any invitation to Donald Trump should be immediately and publicly withdrawn.

Donald Trump’s retweeting of videos from Britain First, an avowedly Islamophobic organisation espousing a Fascist ideology, takes the office of the President of the USA to a new low. As groups representing many Jews in Britain, we are horrified that Trump has signalled common cause with an organisation that practises the politics of violence, and which has a record of provoking attacks on peaceful communities. Britain First is also linked to explicitly antisemitic parties in Poland, and its name was invoked by the murderer of Jo Cox. The far right here has already been bolstered by Trump’s actions, and it is likely that further attacks will follow.

We urgently call on our Government to make it absolutely clear to the  Government of the USA that there is no question of Donald Trump enjoying a state visit to the UK, or any visit on official business. Such a visit is likely to further strengthen Fascist organisations here, leading to a rise in racism, including Islamophobia and Antisemitism. In the interests of public safety, community relations and common decency, we demand that any invitation to Donald Trump should be immediately and publicly withdrawn.

Jews for Justice for Palestinians (jfjfp.org.uk)

Jewish Voice for Labour (jvl.org.uk)

Independent Jewish Voices (ijv.org.uk)

Jewish Socialists Group (jewishsocialist.org.uk)

Free Speech On Israel (fsoi.org.uk)


‘Grave concern’ over Trump’s Britain First retweets

From BoD
November 29, 2017

Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl has condemned President Donald Trump’s retweets of videos posted by Britain First Deputy Leader Jayda Fransen.

Marie said: “It is of grave concern that the President of the United States would retweet videos from the deputy leader of Britain First. They are a nasty far-right group which seeks to intimidate minorities, especially Muslims. We call on the President to delete the tweets and make clear his opposition to all sorts of racism and hatred.”



The President’s Twitter page, from NY Times

Trump lashes out at May in row over anti-Muslim video tweets

By Courtney Weaver and Shawn Donnan in Washington, Mark Odell and Henry Mance in London, Financial Times
November 30, 2017

EXTRACTS: for full report go to FT, Trump lashes out

Donald Trump has escalated a transatlantic row over his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted by an ultranationalist group, lashing out at UK prime minister Theresa May after her office issued a sharp rebuke to the US president.

“.@theresa_may, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” Mr Trump said on Twitter. …

The response to Mrs May echoed attacks Mr Trump had made against Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, in June after a terror assault in the British capital. It also came after a day of Twitter outbursts by the president against targets including opposition Democrats, a US news anchor accused of sexual harassment, the CNN news network, the justice department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the swipe at the British prime minister marked a new low in Mr Trump’s relationship with one of the most important US allies.

The early morning retweets had contained videos originally posted by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First and drew a sharp rebuke from Mrs May, whose spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party, called it “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society”. Mr Trump has been accused of pandering to white nationalists in the US since the early days of his presidential campaign, in which he initially declined to renounce an endorsement from David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader. More recently, he said there were “very fine people” protesting alongside neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the removal of a Civil War statue.

…..

 

Campaigning in Telford, Ms Fransen says she is a Christian and Britain First is a Christian group promoting Christian values. Screenshot from YouTube

.

The posts, two of which contained videos purporting to show acts of violence by Muslims against individuals, were posted by Jayda Fransen, the Britain First deputy leader who was convicted last year of abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in  Luton. In mid-November she was arrested and charged with using threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour after giving a speech in Belfast in August. She will appear in court in mid-December.

Sajid Javid, [above] the communities minister, who is of Muslim heritage, went further than Mrs May on Wednesday evening. “So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong, and I refuse to let it go and say nothing,” he posted on Twitter. Britain First was founded in 2011 by former members of the British National party, another virulently anti-immigrant group. It has become known for public protests against what it sees as the “Islamisation” of the UK.


Leader Paul Golding, and deputy leader, Jayda Fransen of Britain First. Photo by PA.
…..

Commentary provided by Ms Fransen on one of the videos retweeted by the US president read: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”; in another it said, “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” The other video shows a man destroying a Christian statue with the commentary: “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary!”

The Dutch embassy in Washington responded to Mr Trump’s retweeting of the Dutch video by turning to Twitter. “.@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.” The posts appeared to come to Mr Trump’s attention through Ann Coulter, a Trump supporter and rightwing media pundit, who had posted one of Ms Fransen’s videos on her Twitter feed on Tuesday. The veracity or origin of the videos could not be established.

Britain First applauded Mr Trump, posting on Ms Fransen’s Twitter account:

“The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has retweeted three of deputy leader Jayda Fransen’s twitter videos! Donald Trump himself has retweeted these videos and has around 44 million followers! God bless you Trump! God bless America!”

Additional reporting by Adam Samson in London


Trump’s history of anti-Muslim rhetoric hits dangerous new low

By Gregory Krieg, CNN
November 30, 2017

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump retweeted a series of anti-Muslim propaganda videos shared online by a high-ranking official in the ultra-nationalist UK political group Britain First.

The unverified clips were initially posted by Jayda Fransen, Britain First’s deputy leader, for the express purpose of stoking xenophobic anger at Muslims and Muslim immigrants abroad. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders could not confirm whether their contents were legit.

“Whether it is a real video, the threat is real,” Sanders said. “That is what the President is talking about, that is what the President is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it.”

That Trump would amplify Britain First’s plainly hateful message is not a surprise — or shouldn’t be to anyone who’s paid even passing attention to his past comments. But they are shocking all the same — or should be — given his high office and the tweets’ vile, potentially inciting implications.

Trump’s source, Fransen, has frequently run afoul of UK law. In November 2016, she was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after verbally abusing a woman in a hijab during a so-called “Christian patrol” months earlier.

Trump vs. refugees

Stoking fear, or hatred, of immigrant and refugee Muslims, many of them fleeing ISIS and the civil war in Syria, has been a recurring theme in Trump’s political rhetoric. In November 2015, when he was a Republican primary candidate, Trump compared the migrant surge to a “Trojan horse.” In an interview with Yahoo News published around that time, he went further.

“You look at the migration, it’s young, strong men,” he said. “We cannot take a chance that the people coming over here are going to be ISIS-affiliated.”

Trump was criticized at the time — the US had and has a stringent vetting procedure for foreign refugees and there is no evidence that a flood of “young, strong men” used it as a path into the country. Still, he carried on, undeterred by facts or concerns he’d set off a backlash.

Trump and the ban

A little more than two weeks later, Trump delivered what might be his most infamous anti-Muslim screed. By then a frontrunner in the GOP primary polls, Trump on December 7, 2015, first issued a press release and then, at a rally in South Carolina, read from it.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

As set out on paper, the proposed ban cited dubious poll data from the Center for Security Policy, the fringe think tank founded and run by Frank Gaffney Jr., a former Reagan administration official and anti-Islamic conspiracy theorist.

But Trump carried the claims with him into the White House, where in one of his first acts as President he signed an executive order implementing a “travel ban” targeting Muslim-majority nations. Included then was in indefinite halt on refugees from Syria (other countries were subject to abrupt but temporary delays.) The ban has since been changed to satisfy the courts and now also includes two non-Muslim-majority nations, but the legal process continues.

Trump on American Muslims after 9/11

If the Syria refugee claims were broad and baseless, what Trump alleged during a rally in Alabama in November 2015 was specific and, by all accounts, wholly false. Speaking to supporters in Birmingham, Trump described his experience seeing “the World Trade Center (come) tumbling down.”

“And I watched in Jersey City, N.J.,” he added, “where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.

Pressed to back up his words by ABC News a day later on “This Week,” Trump said the scenes he described were “on television — I saw it.” “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down,” he said. Trump never provided evidence to back the statement, which was disputed by a bipartisan parade of New Jersey political officials. When a journalist whose September 2001 story Trump then tweeted as proof — it was not — said his reporting had been twisted to fit a false narrative, the candidate responded by mocking his physical disability during a campaign rally.

Surveillance, the mosques and San Bernardino

In those months before the first primary ballots were cast, Trump made a series of disturbing allegations about Muslims in America. Following the terror attacks in Paris, he told MSNBC he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques in the US as part of his response.

“I would hate to do it but it’s something you’re going to have to strongly consider,” he said during an interview. “Some of the absolute hatred is coming from these areas …The hatred is incredible. It’s embedded. The hatred is beyond belief. The hatred is greater than anybody understands.”

He also used the attacks abroad to criticize New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for halting a police program used to spy on Muslim communities.

“You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques,” Trump said, “because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques…Under the old regime we had tremendous surveillance going around and in the mosques in New York City.”

He returned to the claim during a town hall in March 2016, saying again, “we have to look very seriously at the mosques. Lots of things happening in the mosques, that’s been proven.”

It had not, but when the moderator, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, tried to press him on the claim, Trump interrupted to level another. This time the target was the Muslim community in San Bernardino, California, where a pair of terrorists shot and killed fourteen people on December 2, 2015.

“Let me just tell you something, in San Bernardino people know what was going on,” Trump said, referring to the couple’s deadly plan. “They had bombs on the floor (of their apartment). Many people saw this. Many, many people. Muslims living with them in the same area. They saw that house, they saw that.”

Again, there was nothing material to back his inflammatory words — like there is nothing to support the veracity of the clips Trump retweeted on Wednesday. But more important here is the question of intent. “Real” or not, their message is clear — and potentially dangerous to millions of Americans.

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