Many Jewish organizations have tried to find a way to fight back against the terrible rhetoric of Donald Trump, but Nathan Guttman’s story of May 20 lionizing the efforts of the Anti-Defamation League and other groups missed some of the most important work happening on this issue — and a crucial player: Bend the Arc.
This is a vitally important time for Jews to be speaking up and speaking out about the virulently xenophobic and Islamaphobic politics of Trump. We are called to lend a moral voice to the debate that resonates with the media and voters alike.
And while the work of top-down organizations like the ADL is important, more important is engaging and mobilizing our fellow Jews on the ground. This has to be a movement. And it can’t be about just vague principles — it has to be about doing the real work needed to defeat the man who is making this hatred happen: Trump.
Nobody is doing that work as well as Bend the Arc, which has been mobilizing on this issue since last fall. When Trump suggested that every American Muslim should be registered to a list — a horrible, despicable suggestion — Bend the Arc was one of the first and loudest Jewish voices to condemn it. Their statement made national news, and launched a petition that gathered 13,000 signatures of American Jews in just weeks.
Since that time, Bend the Arc hasn’t let up. They’re working in coalition with other progressive groups like Color of Change and they’ve been organizing grassroots volunteers, activists and rabbis for ongoing action this coming summer and fall, when the fate of this country will be decided.
It’s critical for the Jewish press to see this work and understand its value to the Jewish community and our democracy. The voices of our longstanding institutions are important, but they’re simply not enough. Jews everywhere, grassroots and establishment, must be part of this struggle.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom
Rabbi Menachem Creditor serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley and is the Founder and Co-Chair of Rabbis Against Gun Violence.