An open letter from American Jews pledging solidarity with immigrants and Muslims during the Donald Trump administration has attracted more than 21,000 signatures in the past 24 hours.
The letter, drafted and posted online by the Jewish social justice group Bend the Arc, promises support to “everyone who is threatened by the President-Elect and his administration.”
“To the millions of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBT people, women, people with disabilities, and everyone who is threatened by the President-Elect and his administration, we want you to know: we are with you,” the letter begins. “Please know that in the event of any attempt by our government to wrongfully abridge your safety, liberty, or dignity, we pledge to stand with you in solidarity.”
The lead signatories to the letter are Stosh Cotler, Bend the Arc’s CEO, and Alex Soros, a Bend the Arc board member and a son of the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who was featured in a Trump campaign ad last weekend that many saw as anti-Semitic.
“George Soros has been named and tagged and has been lifted up, he and his family have been also put at risk,” said Cotler. The Soros family “have made it their mission to create more inclusive and functional democracy.”
Cotler said that the massive response to the letter showed that the Jewish community is eager to resist. “Folks want to have something to do, they want to feel like they can be part of keeping one another safe, be a part of fighting what could be a fascit reality in the United States,” Cotler said. “My sense is this is only the beginning of stronger Jewish engagement”
Bend the Arc’s letter is a starkly different reaction from that of some Jewish establishment groups, which have already offered assistance to the incoming Trump administration.
“This letter is, I think, an expression — it’s not a statement about whether we will or will not work with Republicans or Trump,” Cotler said. “It’s more a recognition that this is a radically different atmosphere [and] that we want to be out in front saying that we will not back away from our responsibility and our obligations to take care of one another.”
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.