(JTA) — A dozen liberal Jewish organizations signed a letter criticizing key policy proposals of President-elect Donald Trump, and demanding that he rescind the appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.
The letter, published Friday, calls on Trump to disavow campaign pledges regarding the expulsion of undocumented immigrants and a ban on Muslim immigration, and to maintain the United States’ commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The letter was signed by groups including J Street, the dovish pro-Israel lobby; the National Council of Jewish Women; T’ruah, the rabbinic human rights group, and Uri L’Tzedek, the Orthodox social justice organization. Recalling persecution of Jews as a minority, the letter criticizes Trump’s statements targeting minorities during the campaign. It also condemns “the many instances of anti-Semitism – both subtle and overt – that appeared around your Presidential campaign.”
“As President, we expect that you will make it absolutely clear that you emphatically reject anti-Semitism in all forms, and that you are committed to ensuring the religious freedom that is at the heart of America’s identity,” the letter reads. “Further, we call on you to forcefully and consistently reiterate our nation’s commitment to respect the rights of all citizens and to fight discrimination in all of its ugly and un-American forms.”
Trump’s campaign denied any responsibility for anti-Semitism among his supporters, and said its policies would benefit racial and ethnic minorities.
The letter criticizes statements of Trump advisers, and changes to the Republican Party platform, that “eliminate the goals of the two-state solution and creation of a Palestinian state living at peace with Israel.”
The letter says Bannon’s appointment runs counter to American values. Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a website that Bannon himself called “the platform for the alt-right,” a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”
A handful of Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, have condemned his appointment. Some, including the AJC, Rabbinical Council of America and Jewish Federations of North America, have not commented on it directly, and two, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Zionist Organization of America, have endorsed Bannon based in part on his and Breitbart’s pro-Israel stance.
Other signers of the liberal groups’ letter were the heads of Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Jewish Labor Committee, Hashomer Hatzair, Habonim Dror North America, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel and The Workmen’s Circle.