The president-elects right-hand man was a no-show, but that didnt stop the Zionist Organization of America celebrating Trumps victory. “>
Outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan, hundreds of protesters decried bigotry and hatred. Inside, the Zionist Organization of America heard that Donald J. Trump had been guided into the White House thanks to divine intervention.
A Long Island neurologist, who delivered the dvar torah at the ZOAs gala, regaled the ballroom with tales of the ancient Israelites who witnessed miraculous interventions into the natural order. Well, so did we, bellowed Alan Mazurek. He declared that the election had been divinely directed.
The crowd roared.
Once again, the United States will be blessed. Once again, the prime minister of Israel will enter through the front door of the White House, he said.
The guests broke into applause as he called on the world to unite with Trump to stop barbaric radical Islamic savages.
On a jubilant evening where food was plentiful, and booze flowed, President-elect Donald Trumps right-hand man, Stephen Bannon, was expected to appear as a last-minute speaker.
Bannons appointment as chief strategist, a job for which he wont have to undergo a potentially embarrassing Senate confirmation, unleashed a slew of criticism for his tight links to the emergent alt-right. He once proclaimed Breitbart, the website he headed, as the movements de facto platform.
His new role was swiftly denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for his role in promoting hateful rhetoric, if not anti-Semitism, on Breitbart. The ADL acknowledged that Breitbarts Jewish employees have defended Bannon from charges of anti-Semitism. (Those allegations stem from a bitter divorce in which his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence and making three anti-Semitic remarks, including one in which Bannon allegedly said that Jews raise "whiny" children while choosing a private school for his daughters. New York magazine found that at least one of the exchanges she described, regarding Bannon asking a school about why it has so many Hanukkah books, is confirmed by a third party.)
The ZOA, though, jumped to Bannons defense, arguing that Breitbart was staunchly in favor of Israel, and Jewish people. (Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site in the United States of America, Bannon told The Wall Street Journal.) Soon enough, news broke that Bannon would be appearing at the groups annual Louis D. Brandeis award dinner, as a last-minute featured speaker.
I think Bannon was grateful that I defended him against this ludicrous charge of anti-Semitism, ZOA President Morton Klein said. Thats why he is coming, I guess.
The Daily Beast purchased this reporter a ticket to hear him out. But Bannon never showed.
Early in the night, hopes were high. Rumors swirled about when Bannon would speak. Perhaps even Trump himself would make the trek down, some whispered, as a man in an autographed Make America Great Again cap pushed his way through the crowds.
All of his Israel advisers are here, said one New York board member.
The crowd was still flying high from Trumps unexpected electoral sweep two weeks ago. One woman pulled up a January 20, 2017: The End of an Error meme to show this reporter.