In May, President Trump’s first foreign trip made him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. His eldest daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, and Ivanka was one of many who contradicted her father over his refusal to blame Nazis and white supremacists for Charlottesville violence — words that he misquoted during his divisive Arizona rally. Now, a group of prominent U.S. rabbis have cancelled their annually scheduled call with the commander-in-chief in conjunction with the Jewish High Holidays.
The Washington Post reports that rabbis from the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements are putting their collective foot down with a statement, which tells the world that they — like the mother of the late Heather Hayer — have no interest in talking with Trump:
“The president’s words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia. Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazis, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community. They must be roundly condemned at all levels.”
The White House has yet to comment on the statement, which may have arrived as a blow, or not. After all, Trump’s “both sides” remarks have been so widely denounced, yet he refuses to truly take them back. On a related note, celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach denounced Trump’s remarks (in the Jerusalem Post) while penning a “letter” that he wishes Trump would have written instead of continuing to double down with incendiary remarks.
Oh, and the timing of Boteach’s letter might be telling, for he’s (surprisingly) great friends with Steve Bannon, who Trump fired last Friday.