The Anne Frank Center is going after Trump for his weak condemnation of anti-Semitism.

'Too little, too late.'

For months, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has issued statement after statement condemning the Trump administration.

Since entering the political fray, Donald Trump has gotten into his share of unexpected feuds. Whether he's battling the cast of "Hamilton," declaring the free press to be the "enemy" of the American people, hanging up on the prime minister of Australia, or reviewing the latest episode of "Saturday Night Live," there's no shortage of "Oh-my-God-I-cannot-believe-the-president-of-the-United-States-is-doing-this" drama to go around.

But while most of these feuds are blown-up distractions from larger issues, there's at least one that deserves more attention: Trump versus the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.


Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

When Trump compared the CIA to Nazi Germany, AFC Executive Director Steven Goldstein called Trump's words "a despicable insult to Holocaust survivors around the world and to the nation he is about to lead." And as Trump unveiled plans for a southern border wall and large-scale travel ban, Goldstein accused the president of "driving our nation off a moral cliff."

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY WEEPSAS PRESIDENT TRUMP TARGETSMEXICANS AND MUSLIMSStatement of Steven Goldstein, Executive...

Posted by Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect on Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The president has earned the organization's ire mostly for what he hasn't done — especially when it comes to threats against the Jewish community.

Over the past several months, Jewish Community Centers around the country have experienced a sharp uptick in bomb threats. In fact, just this year, JCC locations in 27 states and one Canadian province have received nearly 70 threats — all without a word from Trump.

Rabbi Hershey Novack walks through Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, where almost 200 gravestones were vandalized over the weekend. Photo by Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP.

The closest Trump came to addressing the issue — which quite rightfully has members of the Jewish community feeling alarmed — came in a tense exchange during last week's wild press conference. Jake Turx of Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly, tried to ask Trump about how the administration planned to respond to bomb threats. Trump cut him off, saying it was "not a fair question," and responded: "So here's the story, folks. Number 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number 2, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican."

The response was bizarre, in part because Turx had prefaced his question by saying he didn't believe Trump or his staff were anti-Semitic. Trump responded as if it were a personal attack, and he went on to accuse "the other side" of carrying out these threats.

"But let me just tell you something: I hate the charge," Trump added, responding as though he had been personally accused of anti-Semitism. "I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me — and you heard the prime minister, you heard Benjamin Netanyahu, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, 'I've known Donald Trump for a long time,' and then he said, 'Forget it.' So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that."

On Monday night, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters finally condemned the threats against JCCs using some especially vague language.

"Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable," said Walters.

Combined with the White House's decision to omit any mention of Jewish victims in its official Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, it comes off a bit like the administration is taking steps not to offend white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the so-called "alt-right" who do possess anti-Semitic worldviews.

People protest the appointment of former Breitbart News head Steve Bannon to be chief strategist of the White House. Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images.

The Trump administration may not be actively encouraging anti-Semitic violence, but it's not exactly going out of its way to discourage it, either — at least in strong terms.

In June of last year, the day after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, Trump called on President Obama to resign for refusing to acknowledge what Trump saw as the cause of it. "President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'Radical Islam.' For that reason alone, he should step down," Trump said.

Using that same logic, why won't Trump denounce these attacks by name? Why won't he directly address the victims of this terrorism? Why can't Donald Trump denounce white supremacy and white nationalism?

On Tuesday, Trump traveled to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There, he finally addressed the threats against the Jewish community.

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," Trump said.

GIF from the White House/YouTube.

The AFC, however, isn't letting Trump off the hook that easy, calling his statement "a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration."

While Trump has now at least acknowledged the problem, he still hasn't said anything about how he plans to address it.

"Do not make us Jews settle for crumbs of condescension. What are you going to do about anti-Semitism in [the] White House?" the AFC tweeted.

MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE ACKNOWLEGMENT OF #Antisemitism TODAY IS NOT ENOUGH. Statement of Steven...

Posted by Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And they're right. Trump hasn't put forward a plan to address anti-Semitic violence. In fact, there's been talk that the administration may actually rebrand the government's Countering Violent Extremism program as the Countering Islamic Extremism program. Funds that would ordinarily go toward countering neo-Nazis and white supremacists may no longer be available. The singular focus on Muslim extremists could very well make the rise of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups even worse.

While so much remains up in the air, we can count on the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect to keep it real and put pressure on the White House to do the right thing.

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In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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