Open Letter From Trump’s Orthodox Jewish Son In Law Jared Kushner: Trump Is Not An Anti-Semite

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jaredDonald Trump is the father of Ivanka Trump, who is married to Observer publisher Jared Kushner.

The following was written by Jared Kushner, and appears on the Observer:

My father-in-law is not an anti-Semite.

It’s that simple, really. Donald Trump is not anti-Semitic and he’s not a racist. Despite the best efforts of his political opponents and a large swath of the media to hold Donald Trump accountable for the utterances of even the most fringe of his supporters—a standard to which no other candidate is ever held—the worst that his detractors can fairly say about him is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive.

I read the Dana Schwartz piece that appeared on Observer.com. As always, there are thoughtful points but journalists, even those who work for me at the Observer, are not always right. While I respect her opinion, I want to show another side to explain why I disagree.

In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.

If even the slightest infraction against what the speech police have deemed correct speech is instantly shouted down with taunts of “racist” then what is left to condemn the actual racists? What do we call the people who won’t hire minorities or beat others up for their religion?

This is not idle philosophy to me. I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors. On December 7, 1941—Pearl Harbor Day—the Nazis surrounded the ghetto of Novogroduk, and sorted the residents into two lines: those selected to die were put on the right; those who would live were put on the left. My grandmother’s sister, Esther, raced into a building to hide. A boy who had seen her running dragged her out and she was one of about 5100 Jews to be killed during this first slaughter of the Jews in Novogrudok. On the night before Rosh Hashana 1943, the 250 Jews who remained of the town’s 20,000 plotted an escape through a tunnel they had painstakingly dug beneath the fence. The searchlights were disabled and the Jews removed nails from the metal roof so that it would rattle in the wind and hopefully mask the sounds of the escaping prisoners.

My grandmother and her sister didn’t want to leave their father behind. They went to the back of the line to be near him. When the first Jews emerged from the tunnel, the Nazis were waiting for them and began shooting. My grandmother’s brother Chanon, for whom my father is named, was killed along with about 50 others. My grandmother made it to the woods, where she joined the Bielski Brigade of partisan resistance fighters. There she met my grandfather, who had escaped from a labor camp called Voritz. He had lived in a hole in the woods—a literal hole that he had dug—for three years, foraging for food, staying out of sight and sleeping in that hole for the duration of the brutal Russian winter.

I go into these details, which I have never discussed, because it’s important to me that people understand where I’m coming from when I report that I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points.

The difference between me and the journalists and Twitter throngs who find it so convenient to dismiss my father in law is simple. I know him and they don’t.

It doesn’t take a ton of courage to join a mob. It’s actually the easiest thing to do. What’s a little harder is to weigh carefully a person’s actions over the course of a long and exceptionally distinguished career. The best lesson I have learned from watching this election from the front row is that we are all better off when we challenge what we believe to be truths and seek the people who disagree with us to try and understand their point of view.

In December 1972, a month after Richard Nixon’s 49-state landslide, the New Yorker’s great film critic Pauline Kael gave a speech that said “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.” I encourage Ms. Schwartz—and all reporters—to get out there and meet some of those people “outside their ken.” One of the reasons the Observer has more than quadrupled its traffic over the last three-plus years is that we’ve been actively broadening our perspective.

The fact is that my father in law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. His support has been unwavering and from the heart. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds, at his companies and in his personal life. This caricature that some want to paint as someone who has “allowed” or encouraged intolerance just doesn’t reflect the Donald Trump I know. The from-the-heart reactions of this man are instinctively pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. Just last week, at an event in New Hampshire, an audience member asked about wasting money on “Zionist Israel.” My father-in-law didn’t miss a beat in replying that “Israel is a very, important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100 percent.” No script, no handlers, no TelePrompter—just a strong opinion from the heart.

There’s real racism in the world. There’s real anti-Semitism in the world. These are pernicious, dispiriting truths. Some of the tweets that Ms. Schwartz has received, depicting her being thrown into an oven, for example, are beyond disgusting. I am appalled that anyone, let alone someone who works for me, would have to endure that kind of hateful rhetoric. But blaming Donald Trump for the most outrageous things done by people who claim to support him is no different from blaming Bernie Sanders for the people who stomp and spit on American flags at his rallies.

I tell people that Donald Trump is a Rorschach test. People see in him what they want to see—if they dislike his politics, they might see other things they dislike, such as racism. If they like his politics, they might imagine they’re hearing “dog whistles.” He will touch subjects politicians try to avoid. This is part of why he appeals to so many.

This notion that has emerged that holds my father in law responsible for the views of everyone who supports him is frankly absurd. Not only is this expectation completely unique to Donald Trump, but it’s clear how easily it could be used to manipulate the public. Don’t like a candidate? Hire some goons to go hold signs in favor of that candidate at a rally. A few months ago, my father in law completely and totally disavowed the support of one of America’s best-known racists. The issue immediately became whether the seconds it took for him to do so proved that he was insufficiently committed to fighting racism. It’s an insane standard.

If my father in law’s fast-moving team was careless in choosing an image to retweet, well part of the reason it’s so shocking is that it’s the actual candidate communicating with the American public rather than the armies of handlers who poll-test ordinary candidates’ every move.

Government is built with many layers to avoid making mistakes. The problem with this is that it costs a lot and little gets done. In business, we empower smart people to get jobs done and give them latitude on how to get there. I prefer to move forward and endure some small mistakes to preserving a stale status quo whose sole virtue is that it offends no one.

America faces serious challenges. A broken economy, terrorism, gaping trade deficits and an overall lack of confidence. Intolerance should be added to that list. I’m confident that my father in law, with his outstanding record of real results, will be successful tackling these challenges. That’s why I support him.

(Source: Observer.com)




30 COMMENTS

  1. That was a great letter. I am proud to have been your Tanach teacher at Frisch decades ago.
    Keep up the good work!
    I back your shver all the way right to the election.
    In addition, Gd save us from 4 years of Hillary Obama.

  2. coolmike, I think you have freezer burn. what does someone’s level of frumkeit have to do with the issues? You are no better than the liberal press that sets new standards specifically for Donald Trump.

  3. If Trump were the vicious, racist, anti-semitic nativist that the liberal press (including and especially Jewish liberals) made him out to be, we would have disowned his daughter for marrying a Jew, rather than letting him run a big chunk of the family business and serve as de facto campaign manager.

    The Democrats are stooping to the “big lie” demonization that worked very well in 1964, and bombed miserably in 1980 and 1984.

  4. So his ancestors went thru the Holocaust, what does that have to do with the price of tea in Denmark? My great-grandparents went through the Churban (both) as well as mitzrayim!

  5. Never mind the stake that Mr. Kushner has in the current US presidential election. If Donald Trump were the best gentile friend the Jews ever had, he would still be utterly and profoundly unqualified for president of the United States.

  6. Kushner’s relatives, who have until now avoided getting involved in this election campaign, have publicly criticized Jared for playing the Shoah card.

    “If Donald Trump were the best gentile friend the Jews ever had, he would still be utterly and profoundly unqualified for president of the United States.”

    Absolutely true. Trump has no clue about any domestic policy and no clue about any foreign policy. He praises Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin! He has a list of conflicts of interest a mile long including business relationships with a German bank under investigation in the US and with organized crime figures.

    And he incites racists and anti-Semites like no major party candidate in American history. Mussolini had a lot of Jewish support, but Mussolini actually wasn’t as bad in this respect, at least until the mid to late 1930s.

  7. While I’m happy to hear Trump is not an anti-semite, that does not mean he’s not racist. Denounce the KKK, tell them you reject their victory party. Choose Reince Priebus as your chief of staff not Steve Bannon. Don’t ban people from entering the country based on race or creed. This would be a start to demonstrating he’s not a racist.

  8. I am happy that you are stating that your father is not antisemitic or racist. How about the LGBT+ community? Are they not afforded the same equality as others?

  9. Im sorry Mr. Kushner, but I don’t believe one word you say. All your father in law, now President-elect, has to do is make a statement that he in no UNCERTAIN terms disavows all racist comments or actions by the neo nazis, white supremacists and other alt right cretans that have latched onto his campaign and now presidency. But guess what–he hasn’t. And that blame should squarely fall on you as his son in law and trusted adviser. The fact thatyour family suffered in the Holocaust renders his failure to disavow even more unconscionable. Either you have failed to convince him to renounce or you have been i different. I dont know which is worse. Add that to your tolerance of Bannon, a documented antisemite alt right bigot, your article falls on deaf ears.

  10. Your father-in-law is a feckless pig. He is vacuous and his policies unattainable. He is a diagnosed psychopath, narcissist and should be medicated and kept away from society. He is in violation of literally every parsha of the Torah and tractate of the Talmud. He associates himself with moron sycophants who are trying to line their own pockets. He is not my President and my views are shared by millions of others. It saddens me that so many Jews were conned by the circus clown. History will prove me correct.

  11. I have 2 questions for Mr. Kushner:
    1. Will you ask your father to publicly denounce and call for an end to the violence, racist and religiously intolerant behavior occurring in the aftermath of the election?
    2. What will you tell your daughter if she is “grabbed by the pussy” and the assailant claims “if it’s good enough for the president….”?
    3. He had many chances to denounce white supremacist and KKK support, but his denouncements were not very loud or adamant, probably because he wanted their votes. Will you ask him to publicly denounce them now?

  12. Thank you Jared, This is very simple. The people that voted for your father in law, know and believe in what he is and what he will be able to do for his country. Sadly the people you are reaching out to, are incapable of seeing out side the realm of their own minds. They have been brainwashed by media and corrupt politicians for so long, they have no idea what is truly good for them or our nation. Going even further, their nation is the last thing they are thinking of, as they are not capable of caring for any other human being. The simple fact is, as we watch them as they burn their cities, the American flag and beat and kill others for not having the same views. They are nothing more than what they accuse your father in law of being. The good thing is that real Americans that truly care about their country and their fellow Americans are the one’s that voted him in. We stand by his side to work with him, as I am sure he would never want us to stand just behind him. Your father in law is the only man on this planet that could have taken on the Clinton machine, along with the media and the corruption of Washington and win. History will remember this election, not only as the year Americans stood up and took their country back, but also as the year the greatest President ever saved his country.

  13. Wonderful response to the false accusations. I never believed them, too many testimonies of people from racially and religiously mixed backgrounds telling poignant stories of their encounters with President Elect Trump. I saw in him Hope for our Country for the first time in over a decade. Thank you so much for confirming my own perception of this wonderful yet human man who we are entrusting the future of our country in.

  14. Bluewatergg……I couldnt have said it better. The hippocracy is driving me insane. Until Trump came along I thought i was living in the twilight zone. Everything is a scam society is in my opinion liberals gone crazy. Not to say conservatives wouldnt do that but in my opinion the libral mentallity has leaked in as well as the fear of retribution for not just relinquishing to fear mongers. You know what if i had a very high position and for years were told by people in power that if I dont act a certain way then ya i might just out of necessity just fall in line too. The scam is this…..the issues they are accusing people of very real. They themselves dont care about race or gays or education for our kids. But those things they use as weapons against people who actually DO care about those things to accomplish their nefarious goals. Power is the only thing they want and with that well then the world is their oyster. They will do anything to get it and once the media turned into a corporate owned rhetoric machine it just made it alot easier. I actually think the fact the media turned into this was out of necessity with the advent of the age of information after Al Gore invented the internet(thats a joke). Imagine our lives before that when we had to rely on the evening news to understand what our leaders are doing. Dont get me wrong im not naive enough to believe corruption at some level has always occured I am just saying this whole brainwashing our populace with outright lies has reached an alltime high level. Drain the swamp is what Donald Trump will do and I agree he is the ONLY man on this planet that could have done this and do what he says he will do……he had the guts and the ability to fight off everyone and barely get elected. He works for the people now….and even those who are brainwashed will reap the rewards. He has said it many many times…..its just not going to be that hard people…..becoming president is hard but fixing these problems he feels just takes someone who actually wants to fix the problems. Obama is still congratulating himself on becoming the first black president……well im proud of you Barrack but in my opinion you set black progress back years but dont worry everyone Donald Trump will right the ship. He wont do it but as every true leader knows he will get the right people in there to do it. Ben Carson as well as the sherriff ive heard would be two great choices right now……..just give him a tenth of the support given to Obama and just sit back and watch the Donald go. He has been winning his whole life because of himself and he just became president pretty much by himself. Go Donald we all got your back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Disagree with President-Elect Trump’s policies or agenda, he needs our support in tackling the many problems and issues we face as a nation. Our country is blessed with a constitutional government written by wise men who saw the danger of independent, scattered factions disrupting the electoral process of a peaceful transition of power who would thwart the will of the majority. Only we as a nation have the ability to come together or fall apart. Donald Trump should be given the chance–as we’ve afforded every new president since Washington–to lead us as a country united and strong.

  16. it’s amazing how some very non-yeshivish people are suddenly interested in “the yeshiva world”. (judging by their user names.)

    or at least interested enough to post some vicious lashon hara.

  17. Alright Mr. Kushner, fair enough, but your father-in-law does seem to do a fair approximation of a racist and an anti-semite. His refusal to clearly deny support proffered by the KKK, his hiring of Steve Bannon as campaign CEO, seemingly encouraging acts of violence at diverse dissenters at his rallies, all lead us in the general public to draw different conclusions. Now that your father-in-law is President-Elect he has a duty and responsibility to be President and an example to ALL Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. To date we have not seen this in an OVERT and EXPLICIT manner. His inauguration speech would be a good place to start. JFRISH Michigan 11-13-16

  18. Fair enough but you are also known to resemble those you associate with.

    The country needs help understanding what Donald wants to do next.

    Today the campaign appointed insiders all day and it looks like they have failed to #draintheswamp and backtracked on other campaign promises. It seems policy was an afterthought from the lack of specifics being offered. Now a team of racists, Russian sympathizers, and political insiders has been assembled for the transition.

  19. Brilliant piece that is absolutely true.

    “The difference between me and the journalists and Twitter throngs who find it so convenient to dismiss my father in law is simple. I know him and they don’t.”

    “I tell people that Donald Trump is a Rorschach test. People see in him what they want to see—if they dislike his politics, they might see other things they dislike, such as racism. If they like his politics, they might imagine they’re hearing “dog whistles.” He will touch subjects politicians try to avoid. This is part of why he appeals to so many.”

  20. Let me just point out that you can be racist and have black friends. You can be racist and have black grandchildren. Many Klansman in the south talked about the great relationships they had with blacks while all the while terrorizing them. Slave owners had mixed children they sent to college but still kept slaves. My point is that Donald Trump can have a Jewish son-in-law and still be antisemitic. His chief strategist, Bannon, is an alt right Nazi sympathizer who did not want his children going to school with Jews, per Bannon’s own wife. So Mr. Kushner is delusional and is not grounded in history or fact. His father in laws statements and actions, hiring Bannon say more.

  21. This article is from July.
    A lot has transpired since then, including alt-right Bannon being made part of the White House inner circle.
    Aren’t the red flags flying high enough yet????
    Where is Jared’s voice in this?
    SILENT.

    Remember, Adolf had a pet Jew too – a former commanding officer, I think – whom he saved from “deportation” (extermination).
    I’m tired of people pointing to Jared and to Ivanka’s “conversion” as proof of anything.

    ACTIONS speak much louder than inference or giving the benefit of the doubt. Remember what happened to the nay-sayers and “wait-and-see-ers” and the “it-will-never-happen-here-ers” in Germany.

    This man is not a Rorschach test – you don’t see what you imagine when you look at him. This man is actively doing things to marginalize millions of Americans.
    That’s not limited to the groups he mentioned, by the way. It includes many of the ones who voted for him and will have a rude awakening when they realize what so many of us have known all along – not only can’t he bring back high paying manufacturing jobs, his tax plan will hit the middle and working classes with a double whammy. His health plan will be the third whammy, and his plans for Social Security and Medicare will be the fourth.

    Jared is watching all of this happen, is watching the hate crimes being committed since last Tuesday’s election, is watching the haters being welcomed with open arms, and all the while, he’s saying nothing. Just like so many Jews in Europe who didn’t believe it could be real until it was too late.

  22. Has this guy read the stuff that comes from Breitbart? Or the stuff on his father-in-law’s twitter? And, by the way, how “Orthodox” is he? He doesn’t wear a kipa. No tzitzis. I wonder if his suits are shatnes. Did we ever see him in a car, train, or plane on Shabbos? He married a convert. Will the rabbinate in Israel accept their marriage?
    Another fraud in the family, it seems.

  23. I base my opinion on what I see and hear. He has repeatedly made racist comments ts in his speeches. Against Muslims, Mexicans and others. But I want to give him the benefit of doubt since he won the election. Then he appoints Steve bannon as chief strategist. Actions speak volumes. Steve is a racist anti Semite who is striving to make America a white nationalist country. Don’t believe me? Check brietbart.com. Steve should not work in the White house, not given security clearance and should go back to his website. Trump gets rid of him I will go back to go ing him the benefit of doubt that he isn’t a racist. If he doesn’t he is just proving that he embraces that rhetoric.

  24. If the fact that Trumps daughter married an Orthodox Jew is supposed to provide insight into the President elects views on Jews. Then isn’t it equally telling that Trump aligned himself with Mike Pence, an anti LGBT, anti women’s rights, religious extremist and Steve Bannon, an Anti Semetic White Supremist.

    I would point out to Jared Kushner that his Father-In-Law did not choose him, his wide did. On the other hand, President elect Trump has clearly chosen openly racist, sexist, gay hating, anti semites to join him in the White House.

  25. It’s a fine attempt at re writing history. There is no getting away from all the documented instances of your father in laws impulsive, disgusting, mysongyist, racist, comments and behaviors. He ran The campaign based on hatred, bullying, ignorance, and out right lies. But I would expect nothing less then you’re trying to defend him now after the fact and try and re write history, especially in the light of the fact that your one of his closest advisers. And that’s a scary thought given the fact that you’re a pretentious spoiled little dilettante who knows very little about how this country works.
    I’m afraid you’re going to find that not many people are going to believe your BS about Donald Trump no matter how religious you are today tomorrow or next year if we even live that long under your father-in-law’s tenure.

  26. Nicely written, and a compelling story, and you seem like a respectful young man, but you ignore important points which lead one to conclude differently when it comes to your father-in-law. How can you explain making a man like Steve Bannon chief strategist in the White House and escape the label of anti-Semite? And if you make a member of the White
    Citizens Council Attorney General, you must own the the racist label. You have no choice in the matter.

    Sadly, you are running that risk, now, too.