(JTA) – Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and campaign adviser Jared Kushner defended the presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee, saying Trump “does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-Semitic thinking.”
Kushner, who owns the New York Observer, was responding to an open letter published Tuesday in his newspaper from Observer entertainment writer Dana Schwartz, who called out Kushner for allowing perceived anti-Semitic messaging to be used in his father-in-law’s presidential campaign.
“My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife,” Kushner said in a statement issued Tuesday evening, Politico first reported. “I know that Donald does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-Semitic thinking. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know.”
Schwartz’s piece was a response to a tweet from Trump’s official Twitter account on Saturday that juxtaposed a picture of Hillary Clinton with a six-pointed star reminiscent of a Star of David over a background of dollar bills. Trump deleted the image, but many found it to be the latest in a series of messages from his campaign with anti-Semitic undertones.
Trump said the image was a “Sheriff’s Star” and that the media was “dishonest” for trying to portray it as a Star of David, although a millennial news site found that the image had been created for and previously shared on anti-Semitic internet message boards.
“You went to Harvard, and hold two graduate degrees,” Schwartz wrote to Kushner, who is a top campaign adviser to Trump, his wife Ivanka’s father. “Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty.”
Following the release of Kushner’s statement, Schwartz told Politico that her publisher’s response “seems crafted by PR, and doesn’t address the point of my article in the slightest. I’d love a real response from Mr. Kushner.”
Schwartz said she has never met Kushner and did not attempt to contact him before writing the letter.
Observer editor Ken Kurson told Politico that he did not discuss publishing the open letter with Kushner before it ran in the newspaper. He also said he personally disagrees with Schwartz’s criticism.
“No one I know sets the sensitivity meter higher than I do on anti-Semitism,” Kurson told Politico. “My mother fled the Holocaust and I am highly identified as a Jewish journalist. If I saw that in Trump, I’d be the first one to write about it, and no one on earth could stop me.
“In my opinion, Donald Trump is not a Jew hater. The effort to hold him responsible for what his supporters do is a dangerous trend because it empowers anyone who wants to shut a candidate up to simply organize some misbehaviour on his behalf.”