Friday, February 24, 2017

FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories

CNN The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

Late Thursday night, White House press secretary Sean Spicer objected to CNN's characterization of the White House request to the FBI.

"We didn't try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth," Spicer said. The FBI declined to comment for this story.

The discussions between the White House and the bureau began with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on the sidelines of a separate White House meeting the day after the stories were published, according to a US law enforcement official.

The White House initially disputed that account, saying that McCabe called Priebus early that morning and said The New York Times story vastly overstates what the FBI knows about the contacts.

But a White House official later corrected their version of events to confirm what the law enforcement official described.

The same White House official said that Priebus later reached out again to McCabe and to FBI Director James Comey asking for the FBI to at least talk to reporters on background to dispute the stories. A law enforcement official says McCabe didn't discuss aspects of the case but wouldn't say exactly what McCabe told Priebus. [...]

The Trump administration's efforts to press Comey run contrary to Justice Department procedure memos issued in 2007 and 2009 that limit direct communications on pending investigations between the White House and the FBI.

"Initial communications between the [Justice] Department and the White House concerning pending or contemplated criminal investigations or cases will involve only the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, from the side of the Department, and the Counsel to the President, the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, the President, or the Vice President from the side of the White House," reads the 2009 memo.

The memos say the communication should only happen when it is important for the President's duties and where appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.

A Department of Justice spokesman said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing the memos and that "the Department is following the guidelines in its communications with the White House."

The effort to refute the CNN and New York Times stories came as increasing numbers of congressional members were voicing concern about Russia's efforts to influence individuals with ties to Trump. [...]

David Magerman, a top patron of Philadelphia’s Jewish schools and institutions, was punished for criticizing his Boss -, Trump Mega-Donor Robert Mercer

This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported on tension at the top of one of world’s most successful hedge funds. David Magerman, an Orthodox Jewish computer scientist who helped write the trading systems that made the legendary Renaissance Technologies a billion-dollar investment success, was at loggerheads with its CEO Robert Mercer. The point of contention: Mercer and his family’s generous support for Donald Trump, which Magerman asked him to stop.

Reported WSJ’s Gregory Zuckerman:
David Magerman says he was in his home office in suburban Philadelphia earlier this month when the phone rang. His boss, hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, was on the line.
“I hear you’re going around saying I’m a white supremacist,” Mr. Mercer said. “That’s ridiculous.”
In the prior weeks, Mr. Magerman, a registered Democrat who calls himself a centrist, had complained to colleagues about Mr. Mercer’s role as a prominent booster of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Now word of Mr. Magerman’s criticism had reached Mr. Mercer, co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies LLC, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds.
“Those weren’t my exact words,” Mr. Magerman said he told Mr. Mercer, stammering and then explaining his concerns about Mr. Trump’s policy positions, rhetoric and cabinet choices. “If what you’re doing is harming the country then you have to stop.”

In the article, Magerman, a controversial philanthropist in his own right who has donated millions to Philadelphia’s Jewish institutions, explained his grievances with his boss in more detail. “His views show contempt for the social safety net that he doesn’t need, but many Americans do,” Magerman said. “Now he’s using the money I helped him make to implement his worldview” to ensure that “government be shrunk down to the size of a pinhead.”  [...]
But by this afternoon, the Journal had appended an update to its original piece:
On Thursday morning, after an online version of this story appeared, Mr. Magerman received a new phone call from Renaissance. A representative told Mr. Magerman that he was being suspended without pay and no longer could have contact with the company. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A majority of Americans are embarrassed by President Trump

Washington Post

For those interested in seeking adulation and acclaim, it’s easy to see why running for president might hold appeal. For a year, two years, you get to be one of the most-talked about people in the most powerful country in the world; on the off-chance that your bid is successful, you then get to extend that attention streak for four more years. That’s six years, minimum, that the country — if not the world — is holding you at the forefront of its attention and consideration.
But there is a downside: The country may not like what it sees.
Two polls released this week offer that downside to President Trump. New surveys from Quinnipiac University and McClatchy-Marist reveal that Trump — never terribly popular nationally — continues to be seen as dishonest, a poor leader and unstable.
What’s more, the U.S. is embarrassed by him.

Former Chief Rabbi - Yonah Metzger Gets 4.5 Years in Prison After Court Rejects Plea Deal

The Jerusalem District Court rejected on Thursday a plea bargain reached with former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and handed down a harsher sentence of 4.5 years in prison for bribery.

Metzger was convicted in January under a plea deal. Metzger and the State Prosecution agreed on a sentence of 3.5 years in prison, the confiscation of an apartment he owns in Jerusalem, a fine and back taxes. Under the deal, Metzger pleaded guilty to accepting 5 million shekels ($1.3 million) in bribes, down from 10 million in the original indictment, while other charges – including fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering – will be dropped.

On Thursday, the court criticized the plea deal, saying it was too lenient.

Metzger’s associates said at the time that he agreed to a plea bargain because he understood that his trial would likely end in conviction. The police enlisted a state’s witness in the case whose name cannot be published.[...]

Aharon Friedman is free to remarry without a Heter Meah Rabbonim

Based on the sources [Daas Torah Heter Meah Rabbonim] and after consulting with Rav Moshe Sternbuch (who is very upset with what the Kanminetskys have done) - who read through all the relevant material on the case which I provided him - the following is clear.

Aharon Friedman can remarry without a heter meah rabbonim. That is the view of the majority of poskim. The Heter Meah Rabbonim was created to protect the wife. In this case, Tamar as moredes and going to secular court as well as declaring that she was never married to Aharon – has thrown aside the protection of the Heter Meah Rabbonim.

Tamar is clearly a moredes by deserting Aharon and taking their daughter to live with her parents. Furthermore she went to secular court without permission of the Baltimore Beis Din that she signed an agreement to obey. Finally she says she has no need for a Get since she never was married to Aharon and is living in an adulterous relationship at the present time according to the consensus of the major poskim of our time.

Additionally there is no obligation for Aharon to give a Get and he is not even required to deposit a Get with Beis Din before getting married. However it would be desirable if he did deposit a Get in case Tamar ever realizes the terrible mistake she has made and returns and accepts the full authority of the Baltimore Beis Din to decide the issues. But clearly the permissibility for him to remarry is not dependent upon providing a Get – either directly or depositing one with beis din.

Besides deserting Aharon and took away their daughter without his consent and going to secular court without the approval of the Baltimore Beis ;she compounded the problem by publicly shaming Ahron. Against the accepted halacha, she tried to pressure Aharon through shaming in the media world wide, public demonstrations, letters to have him fired from his job and even paid a poster displayed in the Washington Subway system against him. Goons were paid 60k to have him beaten up. She – with the assistance of ORA and Rabbi Schachter and Rabbi Kaminetsky was made into the poster girl for Agunos. Her reason for leaving Aharon was that she and her family thought she could do better – despite the fact she viewed him as a good father and husband – though not as sociable with her family as she wished. After failure to obtain a Get for a number of years – she switched gears and with the shameful collusion and encouragement of the Kaminetskys conducted a world wide shopping expedition to find a posek who would declare her marriage null and void. Through a phony psychiatrist report – from a therapist who didn’t even meet with Aharon – she had him declared to be totally crazy and unfit for marriage. A claim she never made to beis din or in any of the pronouncements to media while she was in her Aguna stage.

Much to the shame and disgrace of the Kaminetskys, they got Rabbi Nota Greenblatt to not only state that her marriage was annulled and that she had never been married – but he also married her to another man. Despite the world wide protest by the leading poskim of our times that the heter was invalid and she was committing adultery and despite the fact that Rav Dovid Feinstein and his beis ruled specifically at the request of the Kaminetsky - that the heter was not valid – Rabbi Greenblatt has not retracted. More importantly the Kaminetskys - while finally accepting the heter they engineered was invalid – refuse to tell Tamar that she should separate from her adulterous relationship. Tamar is saying that she has no need for a Get since she was never married to Aharon. The Baltimore Beis Din has said given these facts Aharon has no obligation at present to give Tamar a Get and there is no permission to publicly shame him into doing so.


emes wrote:
The case is not a new case.. it is as old as the hills. frankly it has been paskened by many of the biggest Gedolim including Rav Akiva Eiger, the chasam Sofer etc. No Heter Meah rabonim is needed because the woman is a moredes, especially if it more than 4 years of rebelling (see opinion of Chasam Sofer) and rabbeinu Gershom was not goyzer in the case of a Moredes.
Please see the psak of Rav Chaim Oyzer in Shut Achiezer chelek 1. I do not have time to translate but it should be noted as the foremost psak of the 20th century in how to deal with these cases. For some reason it is not well known. THIS PSAK SHOULD BE PUT UP IN EVERY SHUL IN THE WORLD TO STOP THE CANCER OF ARKO"OYS ALREADY.
Here is the source, it is siman Yud (in chelek rishon). No disrespect to any of the other rabbonim mentioned but Rav Chaim Oyzer was the biggest posek in pre war Lita.
Please go to page 65 for the details if the link is broken
Frankly I am not sure why in Eretz Yisroel the Gedolim were so insistent on a Hetter Meah in these kinds of cases where the woman would not go to Bais Din. I suspect it was to prevent the situation where the woman was willing to go to Bais Din and the husband still would not give the Get. But to me they are totally different cases.

Majority of Americans trust the media more than Trump: poll

USA Today

When it boils down to matters of trust, a majority of Americans say they trust the media more than President Trump, according to a new poll.
The Quinnipiac University poll, released on Wednesday, asked participants if the media or Trump "tell you the truth about important issues." The survey said that 52% of voters trust the media, with only 37% saying they trusted Trump more.
Among Democrat voters, 86% said they were more inclined to believe the media than the president, while 78% of Republican voters said that Trump tells them the truth, not the media, according to the poll.
The survey comes after Trump repeated his criticism of the press, calling the "fake news media" the "enemy of the American people" in a Twitter post last week. Trump, who has increasingly called news coverage he does not agree with "fake," has also bashed on polls, tweeting earlier this month, "Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election," in reference to surveys conducted on his controversial travel ban.
Trump's attack on the media, as the Quinnipiac poll would suggest, has had a profound effect on the American public.
College-educated white voters and non-college educated white voters, for example, are divided on the trust level question — with 55% of the former trusting the media, compared to 55% of the latter believing Trump more, according to the poll. Nonwhite voters, in sharp contrast to non-college educated white voters, were more inclined to trust the media (68%) about important issues.
"The media, so demonized by the Trump Administration, is actually a good deal more popular than President Trump," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said about the results.
Quinnipiac's report also suggests:
  • 90% of Americans voters say it is "very important" or "somewhat important" "that the news media hold public officials accountable." 
  • 61% of people disapprove the way Trump talks about the media, while 50% of voters disapprove the media's coverage on Trump.  
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University from Feb. 16-21, surveyed 1,323 voters across the U.S.

Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students

President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.

In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

That directive, they said, was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

The question of how to address the “bathroom debate,” as it has become known, opened a rift inside the Trump administration, pitting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions, who had been expected to move quickly to roll back the civil rights expansions put in place under his Democratic predecessors, wanted to act decisively because of two pending court cases that could have upheld the protections and pushed the government into further litigation.

But Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, the Republicans said, and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.

Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

She said she had directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of such treatment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools,” but also argued that bathroom access was not a federal matter.

Gay rights supporters made their displeasure clear. Outside the White House, several hundred people protested the decision, chanting, “No hate, no fear, trans students are welcome here.”

Individual schools will remain free to let transgender students use the bathrooms with which they are most comfortable. And the effect of the administration’s decision will not be immediate because a federal court had already issued a nationwide injunction barring enforcement of the Obama order.

The dispute highlighted the degree to which transgender rights issues, which Mr. Trump expressed sympathy for during the campaign, continue to split Republicans, even as many in the party argue that it is time to move away from social issues and focus more on bread-and-butter pocketbook concerns.[...]

Muslim Americans unite to raise funds for vandalized Jewish cemetery

update:   Times of Israel  A Palestinian-American activist who has voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help repair a St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery where at least 170 gravestones were toppled over the weekend.

Linda Sarsour, who played a prominent role in organizing the Women’s March on Washington following US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January and was a leading surrogate for US Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, started the fundraising campaign with activist Tarek El-Messidi to raise $20,000 for repairs. [...]
Sarsour, who has said the labeling of her as a Hamas supporter by conservative groups in the US is an attempt to tarnish her work, told the Haaretz daily that she is “a critic of the State of Israel. I always will be. I have come out in full support of BDS.”
She also told the paper that she supported Sanders because he was “a candidate who sees the humanity of the Palestinian people, because I am Palestinian,” while also saying she favored a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [...]
CNN   A fundraiser for a vandalized Jewish cemetery is sending a strong message of unity and tolerance.
The effort organized by Muslim American activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi was launched this week to fund the repairs of nearly 200 headstones that were damaged and toppled in the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in the St. Louis suburb of University City in Missouri.
    The fundraiser exceeded its goal of $20,000 so fast, it has expanded into an effort to support Jewish community centers that have been targets of anti-Semitism.
    The vandal or vandals destroyed more that 170 headstones at the cemetery, according Anita Feigenbaum, the cemetery's executive director.
    Members of the community have been left rattled.
    "A lot of people are coming out (to the cemetery) -- they're just interested to see, 'Was their loved one's monument affected by this?' " Phillip Weiss, owner of a monument company helping the cemetery lift the downed stones, told CNN affiliate KTVI on Tuesday.
    This year alone, 54 Jewish community centers in 27 states and one Canadian province received dozens of bomb threats, according to the Jewish Community Center Association.
    "All bomb threats this year proved to be hoaxes, and all JCCs impacted have returned to regular operations," the association said in a statement.

    Muslim Americans step up to support

    Sarsour of MPower Change and El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy organized the crowdfunding campaign to support the vandalized cemetery.
    Their goal of reaching $20,000 by the end of March was surpassed in three hours, with donations at nearly $60,000 and rising early Wednesday.
    CNN has reached out to Sarsour for comment but has not heard back.
    American Muslim communities and organizations have also stepped up to support Jewish community centers that have targets of bomb threats. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who made the false bomb threats.
    Muslim Americans' efforts to support the Jewish community centers are in contrast to Rick Santorum's accusations Tuesday.
    "If you look at the fact, the people who are responsible for a lot of this anti-Semitism that we're seeing, I hate to say it, a lot of it is coming from the pro-Palestinian or Muslim communities," Santorum told CNN's Chris Cuomo. Santorum did not provide details or examples to support his assertion.[...]

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    U.S. Will Stand Up to UN's anti-Israel Bias, U.S. Envoy Nikki Haley Says

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the UN for what she called its "anti-Israel bias" and vowed that she would not let the UN Security Council target Israel with one-sided condemnations.

    "I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN's anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face from the Middle East," she said.

    "We stand for peace," she continued. "We support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is negotiated directly between the two parties, as President Trump reiterated in his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu."

    She also blasted the UN Security Council for focusing its efforts on the Palestinians while giving low priority to other issues, like Iran: "Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs … There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea ... no division devoted to the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. 
    "The double standards are breathtaking," she said.

    Videos of her comments went viral, with diplomats, reporters and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharing it online.

    Rick Santorum: Obama and Moslems to blame for rise in anti-Semitism under Trump

    Former Sen. Rick Santorum clashed with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday morning over who is responsible for a rash of anti-Semitic acts since Inauguration Day.

    "If you look at the fact of the people who are responsible for a lot of this anti-Semitism that we're seeing, I hate to say it, a lot of it is coming from the pro-Palestinian or Muslim community," said the former Republican senator and presidential candidate. "So let's just lay out that fact."

    Cuomo, however, took issue with Santorum's characterization of the menace, which has taken the form of numerous threats on Jewish Community Centers across the nation.

    "I don't know that that's a fact, by the way," Cuomo said. "[Y]ou have white haters historically ... who target the Jews in this country."

    "That's not what's going on on college campuses, Chris, white haters," replied Santorum. "Let's say the truth about this."

    In all, 48 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, according to the the Jewish Community Center Association. Most were made in rapid succession on three days: January 9, 18 and 31. A number of JCCs, including Orlando's, received multiple threats.

    On Monday, another wave of bomb threats hit 11 JCCs across the country, bringing the total to 69 incidents targeting 54 JCCs in 27 states, according to the JCCA.

    Trump has faced calls from Democrats and Jewish leaders urging him to speak out against the rise in anti-Semitic incidents.

    On Tuesday, while speaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he said, "This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. 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."

    In a separate interview with MSNBC he said, "I will tell you anti-Semitism is horrible, and it's going to stop and it has to stop."[...]

    Later in the conversation with Santorum, Cuomo asked why the Trump administration wasn't doing more to directly address the threats, which have shaken much of the nation's Jewish community.

    "You guys have no problem going after Muslims for things they don't do, let alone what they do do. So why doesn't Trump go after the Muslims who are doing this on college campuses against the Jews?" he asked.

    "I am for him doing that," Santorum said. "I think he should."

    In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It ‘Horrible’

    President Trump said on Tuesday that the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States since his inauguration was “horrible” and “painful,” reacting publicly for the first time to mounting threats targeting Jewish people and institutions after he drew criticism for being slow to condemn them.

    During a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Mr. Trump said he was reminded of the need to combat hatred “in all of its very ugly forms.” He spoke one day after 11 bomb threats were phoned in to Jewish community centers around the country and a Jewish cemetery in University City, Mo., was vandalized.

    “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,” Mr. Trump said.

    The statement came after weeks of private complaints from leaders of major Jewish organizations to members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about the president’s seeming unwillingness to speak out forcefully against anti-Semitic acts. His failure to do so stoked concern among some Jewish leaders that Mr. Trump, whose presidential campaign drew the support of racist and anti-Semitic groups including the Ku Klux Klan, was at best willing to stay silent about such actions and at worst quietly condoning them.

    Mr. Trump’s comment on Tuesday was a rare concession to the demands of outside forces by a president who prides himself on standing his ground. Despite the questions that arose during his campaign, Mr. Trump has never proactively delivered a statement condemning anti-Semitism.

    “The president’s sudden acknowledgment of anti-Semitism is a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration,” said Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. “When President Trump responds to anti-Semitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this president has turned a corner.”

    He added, “This is not that moment.”

    The White House was criticized by Jewish groups last month when it issued a statement honoring International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention the six million Jews who perished, instead broadly mentioning “the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror” and “those who died.” Pressed on the matter, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, defended the statement as “inclusive” of all of those targeted during the Holocaust, including Gypsies, priests and gay people, and he called the criticism “pathetic.”

    Concern mounted among Jewish leaders after a news conference last week at which Mr. Trump reacted angrily to a question about his response to the increasing number of anti-Semitic acts around the nation. The president called the query insulting and demanded that the questioner, who works for a Jewish publication, sit down. The Anti-Defamation League called the president’s reaction “mind-boggling.”

    Mr. Trump, who was criticized during his campaign for being slow or halfhearted in condemning hate speech, has been particularly stung by accusations that he is anti-Semitic or that he has nurtured the rise of such sentiments. Such accusations have been leveled against both the president and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, a former chairman of Breitbart News, a website that has cultivated a white nationalist following.[...]

    Still, some leaders said they wished Mr. Trump had made a personal call for his administration to find and prosecute perpetrators of the recent anti-Jewish threats. The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Mr. Trump to present a plan for combating anti-Semitism and called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to form a task force on the matter.

    Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks anti-Semitic activities, said the wave of threats was “really worrying,” especially because of the “tendency on the part of this administration to completely overlook terrorism and political violence from the domestic radical right.”

    Mr. Potok also welcomed Mr. Trump’s comments, but he criticized them as tardy.

    “It’s very nice that President Trump opposes these crimes,” Mr. Potok said. “It might have been helpful if he had done so months or even years earlier.”

    Mr. Spicer complained on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was being treated unfairly. “It’s ironic that, no matter how many times he talks about this, that it’s never good enough,” he said at a briefing with reporters. He declined to respond to a shouted question about whether Mr. Trump would ask the Justice Department to prosecute those responsible for the anti-Semitic acts.

    Mr. Trump has mentioned his Jewish grandchildren and daughter when questioned about his commitment to combating anti-Semitism.

    Yet defenses of Judaism that do not involve fealty to Israel have proved tougher for a man raised in New York, a city heavily populated with Jews.

    In an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN at the end of February 2016, soon after Mr. Trump won the South Carolina primary, Mr. Trump demurred when pressed repeatedly about the support offered to him by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader. “Honestly, I don’t know David Duke,” Mr. Trump said at the time.

    Asked by reporters days later why he would not simply disavow Mr. Duke, Mr. Trump shrugged and said, “I disavow, O.K.?”