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Rabbis Pull Out of Annual Presidential Conference Call

They're protesting Trump's comments on Charlottesville
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2017 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A coalition of rabbis won't hold its annual presidential conference call this year, accusing President Trump of showing support for "those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia," ABC News reports. Per the Washington Post, the coalition—which includes the Rabbinical Assembly, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and others—canceled the conference call with a joint statement Wednesday over Trump's comments on Charlottesville, which the rabbis called "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 coalition states the "Nazis, alt-right, and white supremacists" in Charlottesville "must be roundly condemned at all levels."

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George W. Bush and Bill Clinton talked with rabbinical groups ahead of the Jewish high holidays, and a conference call with hundreds of rabbis was held every year during the Obama administration, the New York Times reports. The call was typically free of "raw politics" and a chance for rabbis to discuss the high holidays and ask the president questions. Rabbi Jonah Pesner says the rabbis would have liked the opportunity to hear encouraging words from the current president; instead, Trump "has given anti-Semites comfort and aid." The organizations that pulled out of the call represent 4,000 rabbis and congregations. The move suggests Trump may have a very hard time gaining support among American Jews. (Read more rabbi stories.)

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