An Israeli government minister and a Jewish, pro-Israel journalist defended Stephen Bannon, incoming President Donald Trump’s pick as chief strategist for the new U.S. administration, against allegations of anti-Semitism, saying that he is in fact a staunch friend of the Jewish state.
Bannon, who was executive chair of Breitbart News before taking leave to serve as CEO of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign, has been attacked in the media as a “far-right” anti-Semite and racist since his recent appointment to the senior advisory position.
Bannon has called these charges “nonsense.”
“Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site in the United States of America. I have Breitbart Jerusalem, which I have Aaron Klein run with about 10 reporters there. We’ve been leaders in stopping this BDS [anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement. In the U.S., we’re a leader in the reporting of young Jewish students being harassed on American campuses. We’ve been a leader on reporting on the terrible plights of the Jewish in Europe,” Bannon stated in an interview Friday with the Wall Street Journal.
Discussing the allegations with Times of Israel, Klein said, “Not only is he [Bannon] not an anti-Semite – he’s a fighter against anti-Semitism.”
Bannon “approached me to start Breitbart Jerusalem a year ago with the specific goal of defending Israel against the onslaught of really unfair, negative, biased reporting on Israel by most of the world’s news media,” Klein told the Times.
Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, penned a letter to Bannon, published on the Breitbart site over the weekend, defending him against the allegations and, in fact, thanking him for his friendship to Israel and the Jewish people.
Ariel said he appreciated Bannon’s stand against BDS and the Iran nuclear deal, “which threatens Israel’s survival.”