Anti-Defamation League director: Rise in anti-Semitism 'more than what one man does'

The chief executive and director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblatt, said Sunday that his organization will continue to call out rhetoric used by President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE, but emphasized that the rise in anti-Semitism across the U.S. is the work of more than one man.

"I was encouraged that the president said something yesterday," Greenblatt told ABC's "This Week," regarding Trump's statements after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning that killed at least 11 people.

"But it isn't only what you say after a tragedy that matters, it's the environment that you create with your rhetoric," he said. "And at the ADL we have spoken out when candidate Trump or President Trump has invoked anti-Semitic memes or used the rhetoric favored by white supremacists."

"But it’s more than what one man does," Greenblatt added.


"Whether you’re an elected official meeting with Nazi sympathizers or bringing Holocaust deniers to the House of Representatives or if you’re a candidate for office invoking wild anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish financiers like George Soros manipulating world events or if you’re a religious leader referring to Jews as 'termites,' all of this is absolutely unacceptable."

Greenblatt added that the rise in anti-Semitism "needs to be interrupted and stopped."

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Greenblatt said that anti-Semitism is "almost becoming normalized."

He noted that the ADL saw a 57-percent increase in acts of harassment, vandalism and violence directed at the Jewish community in 2017, and has noticed an uptick in online harassment as well.

"We are seeing an environment in which anti-Semitism has moved from the margins to the mainstream as political candidates and people in public life literally repeat the rhetoric of white supremacists," Greenblatt said.

"Not only is the political environment contributing to this, social media is amplifying and accelerating it in shocking ways," he added.

The shooting Saturday was one of the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks in U.S. history, according to the ADL, and was widely condemned on both sides of the aisle.

"This evil anti-Semitic attack is an attack on all of us, it is an assault on humanity," Trump said Saturday after the massacre. "It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world. This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst."

"The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated, and it cannot be allowed to continue … It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its very ugly head."

Jewish Community Centers around the country were subjected to bomb threats throughout 2017.

Prominent politicians and media figures have spread conspiracy theories about Jewish figures, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzLawmakers introduce bipartisan Free Britney Act Performance or performance art? A question for voters in 2022 (and 2024) Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Fla.) last week suggested without evidence on Twitter that Soros was funding a caravan of Central American migrants trekking toward the U.S. border.

Soros was one of several prominent Democrats targeted by a spate of explosive devices mailed last week.

--Brett Samuels contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:15 a.m.