November 17, 2016
Israeli ambassador defends top Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon - By Jordan Fabian 11/17/16
BY JORDAN FABIAN - 11/17/16
Israel’s ambassador to the United States on Thursday defended top Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who has come under fire from American Jewish groups.
Ron Dermer told reporters at Trump Tower his government “has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel.”
Unprompted, Dermer added that Israeli officials “look forward to working with the Trump administration, with all of the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, and making the U.S.-Israel alliance stronger than ever.”
Dermer did not respond when asked why he specifically mentioned Bannon. It's also not clear if the Israeli official met with Trump while visiting his Manhattan high-rise.
Still, his comments come amid a firestorm of criticism surrounding Bannon, whom critics have accused of trafficking in anti-Semitism.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, called Bannon’s appointment to a top White House role "hostile to core American values."
Bannon has faced criticism after his ex-wife said that he did not want their children “going to a school with Jews,” a charge Bannon denies.
He also formerly helmed Breitbart News, which others have said advances anti-Semitic tropes. For example, one piece contained a headline labeling conservative commentator Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.”
The Zionist Organization of America, which has ties to GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, has come to Bannon’s defense. It called the Anti-Defamation League’s comments on Bannon a “character assassination.”
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