Conservative Jewish groups condemn Bannon appointment


(JTA) — Six top member organizations of the Conservative movement have called on President-elect Donald Trump to rescind his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.

Released Friday afternoon, the statement asserts that under Bannon’s leadership, the right-wing news site Breitbart News “trafficked in white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and misogyny.”

“Breitbart is an outlet for the alt-right, a movement that is contrary to both our American and Jewish values,” the statement continued. “We further affirm that any appointment made by a US President or President-elect must by definition exclude individuals who promote ideas that are antithetical to the values of our country.

“As Jews, we are compelled not to remain silent in the face of hate or the vilification of any group.”

The statement was issued by the Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Cantors Assembly, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs.

Despite what its name suggests, Conservative Judaism is a centrist denomination, positioned between the stringently traditional Orthodox and the religiously and politically liberal Reform.

Earlier in the week, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement saying his organization was “deeply disturbed” by the appointment of Bannon, citing many of the same reasons as the Conservative Judaism statement. The Anti-Defamation League has also condemned the choice.

Two groups on the right, the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition, have defended Bannon and Breitbart as pro-Israel.

READ: Modern Orthodox rabbis’ letter to Trump focuses on Israel


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