ADL Leader Slams Trump for Planned Ban on Mideast Immigration

Jonathan Greenblatt has pledged to register as a Muslim if Trump sets up a registry for Muslims as promised during his campaign.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks as Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, listens during a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., Jan. 24 2017.
Shawn Thew/Bloomberg

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt offered implicit criticism Wednesday of U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned executive order restricting immigration from seven Middle Eastern states.

Greenblatt tweeted “watching the White House for news re #refugee policy. Hoping we will not see any rollback to weaken U.S. historic role as home for most vulnerable,” alongside a picture of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus," inscribed on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. The poem was once quoted by former President Barack Obama in a speech advocating immigration reform.

Trump is reportedly planning on blocking visas from being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Trump's executive order threatens a refugee resettlement deal with Australia signed late last year, and could leave more than 1,000 asylum seekers in limbo. The U.S. agreed to resettle an unspecified number of refugees being held in Papua New Guinea and the tiny South Pacific island nation of Nauru on Australia's behalf, under a deal to be administered by the UN refugee agency. 

Since Trump’s election, Greenblatt has been an outspoken critic of the president’s rhetoric toward Muslims, pledging to register as a Muslim on the national database that Trump vowed to create during his candidacy.

“In the past we were not able to live, work or learn anywhere we wanted to. Anti-Semitism was acceptable in society,” Greenblatt said in the weeks following the election. “Those were days that were much darker in this country. At that most difficult moment the founders of the ADL said that we American Jews, a group that lacked power and had no real standing, whose future was shaky and uncertain, would use our power for good.”

“We need to speak out wherever we see anti-Semitism and bigotry, whether it’s a publicly traded company or high ranking official. No one has an excuse for excusing intolerance,” he added. “We must stand with our fellow Americans who may be singled out for how they look, where they’re from, who they love or how they pray.” 

“I pledge to you that because I am committed to the fight against anti-Semitism that if one day Muslim Americans are forced to register their identities, that is the day that this proud Jew will register as Muslim.”