The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) hosted a webinar on Monday that drew 500 people and has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken advocating for the release of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent who has been incarcerated in Russia.
Accused of espionage while working in the country, Gershkovich has been held by Russia’s Federal Security Service since March. He is the first journalist to face such a charge since the end of the Cold War.
In its letter, JFNA wrote: “Evan and his family are members of our American Jewish community. We are very concerned about Evan’s well-being, particularly given the record of Russian detention of Americans in various cases for months and years.”
Among those in government supporting Gershkovich is Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.Y.,) who participated in the webinar. “I know how ruthless and brutal [Russian President Vladmir] Putin’s regime is, and so do Evan’s parents,” he said.
Others who spoke out on the webinar include Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Paul Beckett, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau chief. Beckett emphasized that Russia pays attention to the reactions of Jews around the world and that speaking up for Gershkovich could “make a difference.”