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Election Watch 2016

ADL to provide Donald Trump, et al, info on extremists like Duke

(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League said it will provide all presidential candidates with information on extremists and hate groups following Donald Trump’s admission that he didn’t know anything about former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. In a statement Sunday afternoon, the ADL said its Center on Extremism, which monitors and exposes extremists and hate groups, is providing information about extremists, including to the Trump campaign, “so that all candidates can be fully aware of these individuals and have a more complete picture when determining whose endorsements they should accept or reject.”

In an interview that morning on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Trump told host Jake Tapper: “Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” Trump told Tapper.

Several days earlier, Duke had told his radio listeners they should vote and volunteer for Trump. The Republican presidential front-runner disavowed the endorsement hours after the “State of the Union” interview, for the second time in three days, after refusing to do so on the program. Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and white supremacist who has publicly asserted that Jews control the Federal Reserve Bank, the U.S. government and the media.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement issued by the ADL on Sunday that “The last thing we want is for white supremacists to use this campaign to mainstream their bigotry. … By not disavowing their racism and hatred, Trump gives them and their views a degree of legitimacy. Even if it is unintentional on his part, he allows them to feel that they are reaching mainstream America with their message of intolerance.”


Bernie Sanders opens up about Judaism at town hall

( Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opened up about his Jewish heritage during a town hall interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Thursday, Feb. 25.

“I’m very proud of my heritage,” Sanders said. “And what comes to mind so strongly is a kid growing up in Brooklyn and seeing people with numbers on their wrist; you probably have not seen that but those were the people coming out of the concentration camps, and knowing that a good part of my family was killed by the Nazis. And that lesson that I learned as a very young person is that politics is serious business and when you have a lunatic like Hitler gaining power, 50 million people died in World War II,” he added. “So I am very proud to be Jewish and I’m very proud of my heritage.”

Sanders, who during February in New Hampshire became the first Jewish presidential candidate to ever win a primary, has rarely spoken about his Jewish faith and instead has focused on his Polish heritage and secular socialist beliefs, to the dismay of some Jewish leaders. In his New Hampshire victory speech, Sanders noted that he was “the son of a Polish immigrant who came to this country speaking no English and having no money.”

“Nobody in Poland would have considered Bernie a Pole,” New York-based Rabbi Michael Paley recently told the New York Times, referring to Poland’s long history of antisemitism.

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