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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association join call on American Jewish organizations to refuse to host Smotrich

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association join call on American Jewish organizations to refuse to host Smotrich. You can find the original letter below or by clicking this link.

We, the undersigned, who care deeply about the security and well-being of the State of Israel, are signing this letter to protest the racism and incitement of long-time settlement movement leader and Netanyahu-appointed Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich who is reportedly planning a trip to the United States. 

We pledge to not invite Smotrich to speak at our congregations, organizations, and communal institutions during his visit and to speak out against his participation in other fora across our communities. We call on all other Jewish communal organizations to join us in this protest as a demonstration of our commitment to our Jewish and democratic values. Our communities must reject Bezalel Smotrich and his party of hate. 

Smotrich has described himself as a “fascist homophobe” has a long history of promoting dangerous and violent policies. Recently, he crossed another red line when he openly declared that the Palestinian town of Huwara should be “wiped out” by the State of Israel, only days after hundreds of Israeli settlers carried out a violent pogrom that left one Palestinian dead, approximately 100 injured, and dozens of homes and vehicles torched. The fact that Smotrich is a government minister who has just been handed significant responsibility for affairs in the occupied West Bank makes his incitement all the more dangerous.

Smotrich has called gay pride parades “worse than bestiality” and supports laws that would strip rights from LGBTQ communities and from women. He has expressed support for expelling Arab citizens of Israel who are seen as opposing the government, as well as demolishing Palestinian villages in the West Bank and evicting their residents. And he aims to do great harm to Jews around the world, including by changing the Law of Return in ways that would cease to recognize Jews who converted with Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist rabbis. 

Smotrich and his allies’ policy proposals are anathema to the tenets of democracy and equality; they directly contradict the letter and spirit of Israel’s own Declaration of Independence. 

In 1984, when Meir Kahane was first elected to the Knesset, virtually all American Jewish organizations turned their backs on him and his violent and racist ideology and rhetoric. Now it is time for us to do the same for Bezalel Smotrich. American Jewish organizations must be clear: Smotrich has no place here.

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