December 18, 2019
News Press Release

ZOA Requests Apology/Retraction from ADL Chair Epstein for Promoting Falsehood About Pres. Trump’s Charlottesville Statement

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson released the following statement:

It does tremendous damage to falsely accuse President Trump of supporting white nationalists, when the president in fact repeatedly, consistently and strongly condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists, in word and deed.  ZOA is thus urging the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) National Chairwoman Esta Epstein to retract and apologize for her false accusation against the president, made during Epstein’s published exchange with JNS’s editor on December 6, 2019.  ZOA further urges ADL’s Chair to rescind her vow, in the same published exchange, to continue making the same or similar untrue accusations.  

ADL Chairwoman Esta Epstein falsely maligned President Trump as “inappropriate about white nationalists” by using, completely out of context, the president’s phrase that there were “very fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville.  ADL Chair Epstein failed to mention the three most salient facts:  First, the only “very fine people” the President was referring to were those who peacefully expressed differing views about removing a Robert E. Lee statue.  Second, the President never said or implied that white nationalists were “very fine people.”  Third, in the very same breath as his “very fine people” phrase, President Trump made sure to exclude and totally condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis.  The president said: 

I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”  

(See “Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak: The Definitive Takedown of the Charlottesville ‘Very Fine People’ Hoax,” by Robert Kraychik, Breitbart, Mar. 19, 2019, at, and video link therein to the president’s press conference.   

It is particularly wrong for ADL’s Chairwoman to vow that ADL will continue to perpetuate these sorts of false accusations against the President – in light of the President’s numerous other statements and actions against neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

For example:

• President Trump prioritized and successfully deported the last remaining Nazi war criminal in the United States – after prior administrations repeatedly failed to do so.  (See ZOA Praises Pres. Trump and U.S. Amb. to Germany Grenell for Deporting Nazi War Criminal,” Aug. 21, 2018.)

• President Trump promptly ordered the opening of a top-priority civil rights investigation regarding the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville; stated that those involved would be held fully accountable; and again specifically denounced neo-Nazi and similar hate groups, saying: 

Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. . . . We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.”   (“Statement by President Trump,” Aug. 14, 2017.)  

• President Trump immediately signed and announced his support for S.J. Res. 49, the Charlottesville Joint Resolution, which specifically “reject[ed] White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urg[ed] the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.”   (“Statement from the President about the Signing of S.J. Res. 49 — Charlottesville Resolution,” Sept. 14, 2017;  Also see S.J. Res. 49 text.)

• As a result of the top priority FBI-Trump administration Charlottesville investigation, the Department of Justice announced a 30-count indictment against Heather Heyer’s killer.  FBI Director Wray confirmed that pursuing such hate crimes is a top Trump administration-FBI priority.  (“Ohio Man Charged with Federal Hate Crimes Related to August 2017 Rally in Charlottesville,” Dept. of Justice, June 27, 2018.) 

ZOA urges ADL Chairwoman Epstein to retract her false accusation, and that ADL will avoid such false statements in the future.