WASHINGTON (JTA) — Liberal Jewish groups are speaking out against two of President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy picks, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
Bolton began Monday as Trump’s national security adviser. Trump last month nominated Pompeo, his CIA chief, to be secretary of state.
The American Jewish World Service and the National Council of Jewish Women joined a letter sent Monday to senators asking them to oppose the confirmation of Pompeo. The letter was sent by the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, an umbrella body. Among the Leadership Conference’s constituent groups are about 10 Jewish groups, but only AJWS and NCJW added their names to the letter.
Pompeo, the letter says, as a congressman had been shown to “harbor animus towards American Muslims.” It cited his appearance at conferences organized by anti-Muslim groups and his claims, after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, that American Muslim groups were “potentially complicit” for not condemning it. Jewish groups often recoil at calls upon religious groups to reflexively condemn acts by coreligionists. Additionally, many American Muslim groups and leaders had, in fact, condemned the Boston bombings.
The Anti-Defamation League, a constituent of the Leadership Conference, on Tuesday sent a letter to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which must confirm Pompeo, urging the senators to “closely examine Pompeo’s views, given his past statements and close ties to stridently anti-Muslim groups.”
The letter stopped short of recommending that Pompeo not be confirmed but called on him to “repudiate” past statements.
Separately, a recent statement by six liberal Jewish groups said Bolton’s record “shows him to be a fierce advocate for belligerent policies that would endanger the national security of the U.S., Israel and our allies around the world.” The groups are J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund, T’ruah, Ameinu and the National Council of Jewish Women.
Bolton, a top diplomat during the George W. Bush administration, was and remains an outspoken proponent of the Iraq War and on occasion had counseled striking Iran to keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Bolton has a long and close relationship with an array of centrist and right-wing pro-Israel groups, going back to his successful efforts, as a lead diplomat in the George H. W. Bush administration, to get the United Nations to rescind its “Zionism is racism” resolution.
The Zionist Organization of America has praised his appointment.