Reaction to President’s Response to Hate Groups
American Jews have once again made their displeasure towards Donald Trump known by not organizing the traditional conference call with the president this year. The annual conference call organized ahead of the Jewish holidays was conducted regularly during the presidency of Barack Obama, but no plans have been announced so far, indicating the community simply does not want to have anything to do with the president.
Rabbis from the Reconstructionist Movement, Reform Jewish Movement, and the Conservative Movement have now announced that the president’s reaction to the Charlottesville incident has deeply disappointed them because it is very indicative of the President’s support of anti-Semitism. In a statement the rabbis from various Jewish groups issued recently, they have written Trump has “given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia,” perhaps because he said “very fine people were on both sides” of the protests, shifting the blame from only the white American supremacists to everyone, including counter-protesters.
The rabbis pointed out the violence, which even resulted in the mowing down of a counter-protester by a white Christian American supremacist, was the fault of solely the neo-Nazis and nobody else, saying “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 Nazis, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community.”
Rabbi Jonah Pesner said even though they had not discussed it openly, the community still had plans to hold a conference call this year for President Trump. However, what with the tepid reaction of the president to the rising anti-Semitism in the US, together with how he has handled this latest issue, has forced the community to drop their labs and to cancel the conference call.
The conference call usually involves a speech by the president followed by a question asked of the president by each denomination present for the conference. The usual topics include Israel, Jewish issues, issues related to racial and communal matters and so on, and typically involved the president reassuring the community of his continued support for their causes. Now, however, after the Charlottesville incident, the community feels they know now where the president stands on matters related to them, and have decided by canceling the conference, they are making a strong statement of protest.