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19 Jun, 2019 19:53

Guns as religion: Trump’s envoy calls for armed guards at synagogues & Jewish schools

Guns as religion: Trump’s envoy calls for armed guards at synagogues & Jewish schools

US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for combating anti-Semitism has called for an armed presence at Jewish institutions across the US, insisting synagogues, schools and community centers beef up on security.

The appointee, Elan Carr, said American Jews face a “time of danger” and must take steps to protect themselves from attacks and persecution, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“Any synagogue, every JCC [Jewish community center], should have guards,” Carr told an interviewer on Wednesday at a conference in Israel. “God willing, may they never be needed, but they should be there.”

President Trump tapped Carr to be the State Department’s pointman on anti-Semitism issues in February, after complaints from Democrats and Jewish advocacy groups pressured him to fill the position, which sat vacant for the first two years of his term.

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Carr also spoke at the conference of the president’s commitment to protecting Jewish minorities in the US and around the world.

“The rhetoric of the president couldn’t be clearer,” he said. “Every time the president speaks on this issue, he calls it [anti-Semitism] a vile poison that must be rooted out.”

Some Jews reject Carr’s description of the president, however, and argue his policies and rhetoric actually put Jewish communities in more danger. In a recent survey of 1,000 American Jewish voters, nearly 60 percent of respondents said Trump “bears at least some responsibility” for recent synagogue shootings in Pennsylvania and California. Seventy-three percent said they thought Jews were less safe in the US than they were two years ago.

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In his proposal for armed guards at Jewish institutions, Carr may have taken pointers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who made a similar suggestion in May as one way to address rising anti-Semitism in Germany.

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