Foxman after Pittsburgh: Trump is a demagogue, a threat to democracy and Jews

The US president is not an anti-Semite, but he emboldens extremists and doesn’t see it, says the former ADL head: ‘Pittsburgh is not Trump. It’s also Trump’

30 October 2018

The child of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust when taken in by his Catholic nanny, Abraham Foxman has spent his American life fighting anti-Semitism, chiefly as the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, from 1987 to 2015.

I’ve known him for many years. Speaking to him on Tuesday, with the Shabbat massacre in Pittsburgh raw and horrifying, hours ahead of the first funerals, I’ve never seen him so distraught. “Shocked but not surprised,” as he put it.

We talked over the breakfast table at the King David Hotel, in the safe haven that is Jerusalem — about the hatred that never died, the disintegration of the “containment” barriers against anti-Semitism that he spent his life working to build, and the role of the American president in the emboldening of haters and anti-Semites.