Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of Jewish anti-hate and civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League, vowed to add his name to any registry of Muslims cultivated by the federal government under the Trump administration. “The day they create a registry for Muslims is the day that I register as a Muslim because of my Jewish faith, because of my commitment to our core American values, because I want this country to be as great as it always has been,” he told AFP.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric about building a registry of all Muslims inside the U.S. recalled for many how Jews were targeted during the early days of Nazi Germany. One of Trump’s surrogates even cited Japanese internment camps in America in the 1940s as precedent for building such a registry.
“The reason why we stepped up at the ADL is we think it’s problematic when people who peddle in the worst stereotypes and who promote ideas about the inferiority of different people are sitting in ‘the people’s house,’” Greenblatt said in a statement. “I can’t describe [white nationalist Trump adviser and Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon’s] intent, I don’t know, but I’m focused on outcomes and under his watch Breitbart became the haven for the so-called alt-right, it became the messaging platform for some of the worst ideas in our society.”
It’s unlikely that the previous director of the ADL, Abe Foxman, would have endorsed such anti-Islamophobic rhetoric. Before the relatively progressive Greenblatt took over, the ADL was notorious for stirring anti-Arab and anti-Islam sentiment. For instance, it was one of the initial voices against the planned mosque and Islamic center that was proposed for Ground Zero in Manhattan.