Reform Movement Statement on Recent Wave of Antisemitism

The Reform Jewish Movement unequivocally condemns the recent antisemitic statements by some public figures, yet merely condemning antisemitism is insufficient, it must also be accompanied by education. Nor will antisemitic words from individual members of an oppressed minority diminish our support of Black lives or detract from our commitment to the dismantling of systemic and structural racism.

New York, NY; July 17, 2020 – The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) issued this statement condemning the recent wave of antisemitism:

In recent days, painful centuries-old antisemitic tropes and canards about Jewish influence voiced by some public figures have come to light. We unequivocally condemn these recent statements, just as we have always condemned any and all forms of antisemitism. History has shown that when such harmful views become common, they can too often lead to more virulent and violent acts of antisemitism.

We understand, though, that merely condemning antisemitism is insufficient; it must also be accompanied by education: about debunked sources of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and their tragic consequences if left unchecked; about the ways in which antisemitism, xenophobia, and hate combine to fuel racism in all forms1; and about the genuine difference between antisemitic statements rooted in lack of knowledge and antisemitic statements rooted in notions of white supremacy. We must engage all who are prepared to learn about the painful impact of their words, and never hesitate to silence all who are determined to sow hate and fear.

The Jewish community’s diversity – racial, ideological, theological, and otherwise – is a source of our strength, and it also means that no one voice speaks for all Jews. So, too, with our allied communities of faith, race, and other marginalized groups. Consequently, when voices of hate and division are raised, regardless of their source, we understand those voices neither speak for us nor for the entirety of any other community. At this time, when Black Americans, including Black and Brown Jews continue to pay with their lives for centuries of systemic racism, we appreciate the outreach and expressions of support from all who reject antisemitism, and we pledge to remain stalwart allies, even when deeply hurtful sentiments regarding others are voiced within our community as well.

Some in our country are resistant to the overdue changes and glimmer of hope which are blossoming for Black Americans at this moment of national reckoning. However, their efforts to impede important coalitions of change and sow seeds of division belie the fact that when any of us are oppressed, we are all oppressed. We as Reform Jews will not allow antisemitic words from individual members of an oppressed minority to diminish our support of Black lives or detract from our commitment to the dismantling of systemic and structural racism in our country. Instead of questioning the commitment of others, we reaffirm our own.

1Eric K. Ward, “Somebody Must Be Blamed”: Antisemitism, the Equal Opportunity Ideology

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, Chair
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Ronald Segal, President
Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis 



About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.

Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 850 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.

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