Anti-Semitism in the United States has jumped sharply in recent years, but according to President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, it’s really nothing to worry about.
Speaking at, of all places, the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Thursday, Ambassador David Friedman told the Times of Israel he is skeptical about the Anti-Defamation League’s just-released annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, which the group said showed “near-historic levels of anti-Semitism in 2018, including a doubling of anti-Semitic assaults and the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history.”
Asked about the audit’s findings, Friedman said, “I doubt it.”
“I haven’t studied it,” he continued. “And I think it’s a mistake to get caught up in statistics when we are talking about—thank God—a series of events that are not yet becoming a daily occurrence.”
Friedman’s comments came less than one week after a far-right gunman opened fire on worshipers at a synagogue in Poway, CA, killing one and wounding three others.
According to the ADL’s study (emphasis mine):
While most anti-Semitic incidents are not directly perpetrated by extremists, there are interesting connections between the trends. In 2018, 249 acts of anti-Semitism (13 percent of the total incidents) were attributable to known extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremist ideology, making it the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents with known connections to extremists or extremist groups since 2004. Of those, 139 incidents were part of fliering campaigns by white supremacist groups.
Nevertheless, Friedman continued to downplay the obvious rise in anti-Jewish attacks from the far-right, telling the Times of Israel, “I think there is a lot of analysis that can go into it and I’d be careful about attributing blame to anyone, right or left, other than the sick people who commit these crimes.”
In other words, Friedman seems to think there are some very fine people on both sides.