WASHINGTON — Hundreds of rabbis and other Jewish leaders will protest Donald Trump’s speech at the nation’s largest annual pro-Israel policy gathering in Washington today.
The demonstrators intend to either boycott Trump’s speech at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference entirely, or stand and silently walk out as Trump takes the stage. The protests are aimed not only at Trump’s vow to stay neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also what demonstrators call hateful and divisive campaign rhetoric.
Rabbi David Paskin, one of the protest organizers, told the Herald the walk-out will be nothing like the confrontational and sometimes violent clashes seen at Trump campaign rallies.
“We are not holding signs, we are not jeering, we are not yelling and we are not going to interfere with those who want to hear him,” said Paskin, a former rabbi of Temple Beth Abraham in Canton, Mass., who is now based in Florida.
Similar actions are planned by groups including the Religious Action Center and the Union for Reform Judaism. Protesters will join outside the venue to study Jewish scriptures about common decency and senseless hatred, Paskin said.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment, but yesterday Trump told ABC News that hisc remarks will focus on brokering a Middle East peace deal.
Jeremy Burton of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, who will attend the speech, said he respects both the decision of AIPAC to invite all presidential candidates to speak and the decision of some attendees to demonstrate respectfully. While the JCRC neither endorses nor opposes any presidential candidate, he lamented the negative tone on the presidential stump.
“The American Jewish community benefits from a national political discourse that has a deep and healthy respect for personal freedom, civil liberties, the rights and protections of minorities,” Burton told the Herald. “These are the things that have made America great for hundreds of years.”
Yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League announced it would use the roughly $56,000 of Trump’s lifetime donation to fund new anti-bias and anti-bullying education programs, and urged other groups to follow suit. ADL national director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said he believes Trump’s donations were “given in an honest and sincere way,” but his recent controversial remarks led to the decision to redirect the funds.
“I believe that it is best to be used fighting bigotry through education,” Greenblatt told the Herald.
(c)2016 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.