Federation movement says it erred in sharing comment on Bannon petition

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America retracted a statement it had shared with JTA commenting on a petition urging the umbrella body to condemn the appointment of Stephen Bannon as President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

A spokesman for JFNA said he had not been given authorization to comment on the petition or Bannon and had shared a statement in error.

Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a website that Bannon himself called “the platform for the alt-right,” a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

The petition was launched Tuesday by a new group named Jewish Community of Action Against Hate, a grassroots effort urging Jewish organizations to denounce the Bannon appointment made Sunday.

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Asked Thursday by JTA for a comment on the petition, the spokesman shared a statement saying, in part, “we believe that President-elect Trump needs to be given an opportunity to lead.” The statement did not mention Bannon by name.

On Thursday afternoon, the same spokesman apologized to JTA for sharing the statement, saying it had not been authorized by the JFNA leadership. He said it is not JFNA policy to comment on pending executive branch appointments.

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