(JNS.org) Four major American Jewish organizations—including three rabbinic associations—announced they will not participate in an annual conference call with the U.S. president ahead of the High Holidays.
In a joint statement, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism accused President Donald Trump of making statements that embolden “those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.”
“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 statement said.
The call has occurred every year since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush also held similar calls.
While the four Jewish organizations opted out of the call, the Orthodox denomination's Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), which characterized Trump’s response to Charlottesville as “a failing of moral leadership,” still plans to participate in the talk with the White House.
“We respect the office of the presidency and believe it is more effective to address questions and concerns directly with the White House," said RCA Executive Vice President Rabbi Mark Dratch.
Trump drew widespread criticism after the violence in Charlottesville, where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 were injured when a neo-Nazi supporter rammed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters. The president said “many sides” were to blame during the white supremacist protest.
“You had a group one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that but I’ll say it right now,” said Trump.