Jewish groups in New York marched outside a talk given by President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon as they kicked off an ongoing campaign to get him fired.
"Bannon is a white nationalist who has built a political career out of demonizing Muslims, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, and Jews," said Jewish activist group IfNotNow in a statement about the former chief of Brietbart news. "In his position at Breitbart, Bannon was the megaphone for anti-Semitism, racism, and Islamophobic conspiracy theories. As Jews, we know what happens when people with these ideologies are given power," the group said.
Hundreds of Jewish protesters marched outside New York's Grand Hyatt hotel where Bannon spoke at the annual Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) dinner gala Sunday (20 November).
"We condemn the ZOA for their endorsement and support of violence against so many of our communities," one protester said.
The ZOA's president Morton Klein defended his invitation to Bannon in an interview with the Jerusalem Post. "Steve Bannon is as pro-Israel and pro-Jewish as anyone I've ever met," Klein said.
They held a protest in Washington D.C. last week and there is another march planned by IfNotNow in Boston Monday (21 November). The group intends to continue coordinating marches in cities across the United States. The group are calling on the leadership of Jewish community organisations "to speak up against Trump, Bannon and their dangerous policies."
After Bannon, who is also Trump's former campaign chief, was named chief strategist to the president-elect on Monday (14 November) some mainstream Jewish groups have spoken out. "It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the 'alt-right' – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the 'people's house,'" said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of The Anti-Defamation League, a 100-year-old Jewish civil rights group. Greenblat called Bannon "hostile to core American values."
When Bannon became Trump's campaign chief in August, a 2007 sworn declaration by his ex-wife during divorce proceedings came to light in which she accused him of making anti-Semitic remarks. In it she talks about three separate incidents when the couple were considering where to send their daughters to school in Los Angeles.
"He said that he doesn't like Jews and that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiney brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews," she said in the statement.
A Jewish Brietbart employee has written an opinion column saying that Bannon cannot be anti-Semitic because he hires and works with Jews.
Breitbart is known for courting an "alt-right" audience. During the election the site labelled neo-liberal Conservative Bill Kristol a "renegade Jew".