November 15, 2016
Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:
"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) congratulates President-elect Donald Trump as well as the election winners at the federal, state, and local levels in our three states. The peaceful transition of power in the wake of over 120 million votes cast is a hallmark of our American Democracy.
"The JCRC is deeply alarmed by the appointment of Stephen Bannon to the position of chief strategist and senior advisor to President-elect Donald Trump's administration.
"The appointment of Mr. Bannon comes at a time when the nation is deeply divided, not just between Democrats and Republicans, but amongst family members and geographically. Indeed, the level of vitriol during this campaign, especially directed against Jews and other minorities, is deeply disturbing and without recent precedent.
"Over the past week, we have been horrified by a surge of vile harassment throughout the country against Jews and other minorities, including death threats, the vicious taunting of children, and the spray painting of Nazi swastikas on Jewish and non-Jewish property. Such hate understandably makes millions of Americans question their safety and that of their children, as well as their future within our diverse democracy.
"Here in Minnesota, the JCRC is monitoring several incidents impacting our local community and we appreciate the strong response to racist incidents by the Osseo School District and Maple Grove Senior High School in particular. As always, the JCRC offers our services to local government and school district officials who are on the frontlines with ensuring that our communities and schools are a safe and welcoming place for everyone. We are also in contact with law enforcement to express our concerns.
"We appreciate that at this critical moment in time that President-elect Trump promised he will be a president for 'all Americans' and will 'bind the wounds of division' in our country. We believe that it will be extremely difficult for the President-elect to heal our nation's divisions with Mr. Bannon - given his ties to the anti-Semitic 'alt-right,' and recent enabling of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny via Breitbart - occupying an office only steps away from the Oval Office.
"By contrast, it is hopeful that the President-elect was in fact considering appointing former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as Treasury Secretary, although we understand Governor Pawlenty has withdrawn his name from consideration. The JCRC considers Governor Pawlenty a great friend who would have provided wise counsel, stability, and experience to the new Trump administration. Similarly, we hope that the President-elect will seek the advice of Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer who has displayed great courage and patience in challenging the anti-Somali sentiments in his district.
"Finally, the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Minnesota and the Dakotas should know that while our work will always be unapologetically bipartisan and we cherish our many friends on both sides of the aisle, we see no contradiction between our work and using our voice to speak without reservation in defense of our community and our Jewish values, as well as in solidarity with other minorities who are being targeted for abuse in schools or elsewhere."
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.