Donald Trump has set himself on a collision course with influential Jewish organisations this week, after the president-elect appointed an extreme right-wing media editor to a top job.
Steve Bannon, who has led Breitbart News for many years, ran Trump’s campaign since August, and was rewarded this weekend, when he was named chief strategist and counsellor to the president when Trump takes office in January.
Among the organisations “strongly opposed” to the appointment was the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said Bannon was “hostile to core American values”.
He added: “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, unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house’.”
Former Breitbart editor Ben Schapiro resigned from the site in March, citing anti-Semitism, while bosses have previously had to defend a headline comparing conservative commentator Bill Kristol to a “renegade Jew”.
While Trump also named his chief-of-staff as Reince Prebus this week, his top advisor on Israel is understood to be lawyer David Friedman, who does not believe that settlements are an obstacle to peace, or that annexing parts of the West Bank would affect Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.
It emerged this week that 72 percent of American Jews hold an ‘unfavourable’ view of Trump, in polling taken after last week’s result.
In one of his first interviews since winning the election, Trump told ‘60 Minutes’ that negotiating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians was still something he’d like to achieve.
He said it was “the ultimate deal… As a dealmaker, I’d like to do… the deal that can’t be made, and do it for humanity’s sake”.