Jewish groups joined a coalition of national civil rights organizations to demand that President Donald Trump remove Stephen Miller as his senior policy advisor. They claim Miller — who is Jewish and is recently engaged to Katie Waldman, Vice President Mike Pence’s Jewish press secretary — supports white supremacists.
The letter was a response to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization that documents hate groups and speech. The full report can be read on the SPLC website (splcenter.org).
Earlier this month, SPLC published hundreds of emails sent by Miller to a reporter at the conservative Breitbart News. Miller also sent the writer links to VDare, a news website popular with white nationalists. He recommended “The Camp of the Saints,” a racist French novel by Jean Raspail from the 1970s. SPLC stated that more than 80% of Miller’s emails relate to race or immigration. Miller, who is Jewish and a hardliner on immigration, did not write sympathetically about nonwhite or foreign-born people.
The Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc, and the Union for Reform Judaism signed a letter sent earlier this week to Trump on behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“In his role as your senior advisor, Stephen Miller has promoted hate speech spewed from neo-Nazis, bigots, and white supremacists,” the letter said. “Supporters of white supremacists and neo-Nazis should not be allowed to serve at any level of government, let alone in the White House. Stephen Miller has stoked bigotry, hate, and division with his extreme political rhetoric and policies throughout his career. The recent exposure of his deep-seated racism provides further proof that he is unfit to serve and should immediately leave his post.”
The groups said that Miller’s beliefs led to the implementation of several policies that hurt immigrants, people of color, and marginalized communities, including the Muslim travel ban, efforts to end the DACA program for undocumented immigrants brought to America as children, and the family separation policy.
“Unless and until you fire Stephen Miller — and all who promulgate bigotry — and abandon your administration’s anti-civil rights agenda, you will continue to be responsible for the violence fueled by that hate,” the letter concluded.
The Baltimore Coalition for Jewish Values chose not to participate in the letter.
“We saw there was such a letter and demand, and I actually did a bit of research. What were his actual emails? It was a lot of selective characterization without real context,” said Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director. “I would like to know if the signatures on the letter really studied what he said first.”
“First and foremost, few have suffered from white supremacy more than Jews,” Menken said. Nevertheless, “we have an obligation to not just decide that because we don’t like their political positions, therefore they are bad.” Menken stated that all sides are guilty of sharing comments without critical examination.
“The fact that he may have inadvertently shared something from a racist source, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. We have all been guilty of not checking the character of the guy who shared it.”
“Calling other people hateful is a form of hate speech. You have a responsibility to be sure it’s true,” said Menken.