What Jewish groups have (and haven’t) said about Donald Trump

by | Dec 18, 2015 | Other News

NEW YORK (JTA)—Donald Trump’s call this month to bar all Muslims from entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” has set off a deluge of criticism in America and around the world, from U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “The State of Israel respects all religion and strictly adheres to the rights of all its citizens.”

Trump’s Dec. 7 remark also spurred numerous Jewish organizations to speak up. Here’s a roundup of some of the more notable Jewish organizational responses, as well as some of those that have stayed silent.

Jewish defense organizations:
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt: “A plan that singles out Muslims and denies them entry to the U.S. based on their religion is deeply offensive and runs contrary to our nation’s deepest values.”

American Jewish Committee Associate Executive Director for Policy Jason Isaacson: “We are deeply disturbed by the nativist racism inherent in the candidate’s latest remarks.”

B’nai B’rith International: “Singling out an entire religious community for diminished rights amounts to bigotry, and it should not be accepted.”

Umbrella organizations:
Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community: “There is no place in America, a nation founded on religious freedom, for discrimination on the basis of religion— or any other immutable characteristic, for that matter.… Recent statements are misleading to voters, because they imply that sacrificing our values will advance our security, which is a fallacy.”

Religious organizations:
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin: “We call on all Americans to reaffirm that discrimination of any group solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded.”

Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox):
President Rabbi Shalom Baum: “The complex issues that face us in ensuring the safety and security from terror of innocents and free societies throughout the world need to be addressed, but need to be done in sober and responsible ways. We call upon all Americans and the United States government to recognize the threats posed by radical Islamists, while preserving and protecting the rights of all people who seek peace, no matter how they worship God.”

Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative):
“We recognize the need to be vigilant in providing security and protection from those who seek to do our country harm, but discriminating against an entire religion is wrong and dangerous.”

Religious Action Center of Union for Reform Judaism Director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner: “While we take no position on Mr. Trump’s candidacy for president, we condemn in the strongest terms his comments calling for barring the entry of Muslims into the United States. As Jews who too often suffered persecution because of our faith, we cannot abide religious bigotry.”

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association:
“We call on all Jews and all Americans to denounce hate speech and fear-mongering against Muslims in politics and the media, and to reach out in support of Muslim Americans in every way that we can.”

by Uriel Heilman