Netanyahu Lauds Trump's 'Strong Stance in Condemning anti-Semitism'

'World leaders need to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism wherever it is found,' Israeli PM says after Trump opens first address to Congress by denouncing wave of attacks on U.S. Jewish communities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 1, 2017.
Amos Ben Gershom

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded U.S. President Donald Trump's "strong stance in condemning anti-Semitism" on Wednesday and said a similar response must be demanded from all world leaders "because Jews around the world should not live in fear."

Trump began his first speech before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night by condeming the recent waves of anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., saying the threats are a reminder that America "stands united in condemning hate."

Speaking to a conference of the Jewish People Policy Institute on Wednesday, Netanyahu said: "World leaders need to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism wherever it is found. And I appreciate the fact that in the last few weeks and days, President Trump and Vice President Pence have taken a strong stance in condemning anti-Semitism."

Netanyahu praised Trump's first public condemnation of anti-Semitic acts after bomb threats to U.S. Jewish centers and vandalism in a Jewish cemetery. "It's very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism and it's important that we all continue to do so in the years ahead," Netanyahu said in Sydney's Central Synagogue on an official visit to Australia.

Some Israeli media commentators had pressed Netanyahu to speak out more strongly against anti-Semitism, in light of what they described as Trump's reluctance to do so. The omission of Jews or anti-Semitism in a White House Statement on International Holocaust Day was mentioned as an example of this reluctance.