On Wednesday, a coalition of major rabbinical groups has said it will not hold an annual conference call with the president because of how Donald Trump responded to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
The rabbinical groups — which include the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The groups represent the Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist movements of Judaism.
“We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year,” the groups wrote in a letter released on Wednesday.
“The President’s words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.”
“Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazi, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community,” the groups said in their statement Wednesday.
“We pray that President Trump will recognize and remedy the grave error he has made in abetting the voices of hatred,”
Note: The Agudath Harabonim the organization of Orthodox Rabbis did not sign the letter above, nor did they announce a cancellation of the annual phone call.
I address the letter below to the Rabbinical Assembly because it is an organization of the Rabbis of Conservative Judaism–the Jewish movement where I pray.
I defer to your wisdom when it comes to issues of Torah and Jewish law, but as someone who studies politics for a living, it is too easy to see through the Rabbinical Assembly’s latest action and letter to President Trump.
Your overtly political and public response to President Trump’s Charlottesville words makes me ashamed to be a Conservative Jew. In the eight years before Trump took office, America had the most anti-Semitic President since FDR, but the Rabbis of the Conservative Movement was silent, most probably because like Reform Jewry, Conservative Judaism tends to worship the Golden Calf of liberal politics. The letter and action made in your names shows your Antisemitism to be of the Johnny-come-lately variety. You are trashing Trump for political purposes only.
I am not saying that parts of what the President said weren’t stupid and insensitive. But your letter even identified the wrong part of what he said as bad. When the POTUS said there was good on both sides he was wrong. There are good people who believe Confederate statues should stay, however, they weren’t in Charlottesville. NO ONE, not one person who decided to march alongside people who were carrying the swastika and Hitler’s Nazi flag could EVER be considered “good.”
But your objection to Trump talking about violence on both sides is very wrong. In fact, many of the videos on YouTube suggest that it was ANTIFA that started the violence: