A growing list of liberal Jewish organizations are backing the impeachment of President Donald Trump following last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. But the Anti-Defamation League remains alone among major nonpartisan organizations calling for Trump’s removal.
ADL alone among major groups in calling for impeachment
The American Jewish Congress, National Council of Jewish Women, Bend the Arc, J Street, T’ruah and IfNotNow were among the Jewish groups calling for Trump to be removed from office as the House introduced an article of impeachment against the president Monday.
American Jewish World Service backed Trump’s removal Tuesday, and called for “all elected officials who supported the violent insurrection of January 6 be removed from office and that all participants be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
But larger communal organizations, which seek to stay out of partisan politics, remained silent on the question. The American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the three major Jewish denominations either did not respond to requests for comment by press time or said they were not taking a position on impeachment.
“We have no comment at this time with regard to a possible vote on impeachment,” said Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center. The OU condemned the Capitol violence in a statement last week.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Conservative movement umbrella group, declined to comment; the Reform movement did not respond to a request for comment. JCPA said it had not, and likely would not, take a position on impeachment.
The Jewish Federations of North America, which is run by Eric Fingerhut, a former Democratic member of Congress from Ohio, did not respond to an inquiry about impeachment but Fingerhut released a statement last Thursday calling for the “country to move forward.”
Most of the Jewish groups backing Trump’s ouster now did the same in 2019 when the House impeached the president for offenses related to his dealings with the Russian government.
The American Jewish Congress is an exception. The organization did not take a position on impeachment last year. It called for the cabinet to consider removing Trump from office through the 25th Amendment last Wednesday, the day of the Capitol attack.
“We jumped quickly in support of the 25th and think it’s imperative that impeachment move forward,” executive director Joel Rubin said in an email.
NCJW called for Trump’s removal last Thursday but did not directly reference impeachment.
“NCJW is not endorsing a specific method or process, but is in support of removal by whatever means Congress or the Cabinet may choose to pursue,” spokesperson Sarah Garfinkel said in an email.
The House introduced an act of impeachment against Trump Monday for inciting the mob attack on the Capitol. Republicans blocked an earlier Democratic effort to pass a resolution calling on the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and cabinet to remove the president.
The ADL made waves last Friday when it called on Trump to be impeached. While Greenblatt has been a frequent critic of Trump, the ADL does not engage in the kind of left-wing activism of groups like Bend the Arc, which held rallies calling for Trump’s impeachment last winter.
But ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said the shocking nature of what happened last Wednesday forced the organization to speak out.
“The idea that a sitting president could incite a terror attack on the American government, there is no precedent for that,” Greenblatt said in an interview Sunday. “It is indisputable that the responsibility lies right at his feet.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the political party of Eric Fingerhut, the head of the Jewish Federations of North American and a former member of Congress from Ohio. He is a Democrat, not a Republican.
Update: This article was updated at 4:49 p.m. on January 12 to clarify the number of Jewish groups calling for President Donald Trump’s resignation and to add a statement from American Jewish World Service.
Arno Rosenfeld is a staff writer at the Forward. Follow him on Twitter @arnorosenfeld or email firstname.lastname@example.org.