Jewish Organizations' Statements About Bannon

Abby Levine

Many Jewish Social Justice Roundtable organizations are speaking publicly about the election and Stephen Bannon. Below are a few of the statements we've seen so far. To add others, email [email protected].

Religious Action CenterWe are deeply disturbed by the announcement from President-elect Trump that he will appoint Steve Bannon to be the White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. The President is entitled to choose advisors who he believes will help him implement his agenda. However, both in his roles as editor of the Breitbart website and as a strategist in the Trump campaign, Mr. Bannon was responsible for the advancement of ideologies antithetical to our nation, including anti-Semitism, misogyny, racism and Islamophobia. There should be no place for such views in the White House. President-elect Trump has said he wants to be president for all the people. We urge him in this spirit to assemble a leadership team that reflects that aspiration.

Bend the Arc: President-elect Trump’s selection of Stephen Bannon, a professional purveyor of white nationalist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, as his top adviser is as horrifying as it is unsurprising. Those of us who were alarmed by Trump's campaign when it began over a year ago are starting to see the things we feared come to pass, and this is one of them - the elevation of an avowed bigot to a position of incredible official power. On Election Day, a majority of voters rejected the hatred central to the Trump campaign. We know many of them would join us in condemning this attempt by the President-elect to normalize and legitimize white supremacy, and we call on leaders across the political spectrum to denounce it as well.

T'ruahBy appointing Steve Bannon to the position of White House senior strategist, President-elect Trump has proven that he has no plans to distance himself from the hateful and extreme threats he made throughout the course of his campaign. Bannon’s open promotion of white supremacy, racism and anti-Semitic rhetoric disqualifies him for a position of power in the United States, whose strength lies in its diversity. At a moment in which supporters of the president-elect feel emboldened to carry out daily hate crimes against people of color, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and other minorities, Bannon must not be permitted to assume a position as a public servant. As Jewish tradition teaches us, ‘Happy is the person who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.’ (Psalms 1:1)

National Council of Jewish WomenNCJW is utterly appalled by President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Stephen Bannon as chief strategist in his administration. As former chairman of the ‘alt-right’ web outlet Breitbart News, Bannon has made his white-supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim views widely known. Upon joining the Trump campaign, Bannon roused a large portion of Trump’s base with a hateful mix of conspiracy theories, bigotry, misogyny, racism, and homophobia. If President-elect Trump truly wants to bring together his supporters with the majority of the country that voted against him — by a margin that is nearing two million people, Bannon and his ilk must be barred from his administration. This appointment requires no Senate confirmation. It is up to the president-elect to show leadership for all Americans by reversing this dreadful decision immediately.

AvodahAs an organization that works with many of the most vulnerable people in our country, we are deeply concerned about Bannon’s appointment as Chief Strategist. There is no room for fear-mongering and bigotry in our leadership. We ask that Republican Congressional leaders to stand up and demand that Bannon’s appointment be rescinded.

AJWSAs a community committed to working across borders and cultures to uphold the dignity and rights of the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world, we are gravely concerned by the appointment of Stephen Bannon as the Chief White House Strategist by President-elect Donald J. Trump. Bannon is a man who has a hard-earned reputation for dividing people along the lines of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

KeshetWhile Keshet did not endorse a particular candidate, we were and remain deeply troubled by the misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and absolute callousness for our shared humanity that surfaced over the course of the presidential campaign. We fear the possible implications for this country: for racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, for immigrants, for LGBTQ people, for anyone who has ever been treated like the “other.”

HIASHIAS, the global Jewish organization for refugees, does not make it our practice to publicly comment negatively on political appointments. In fact, I am not aware of any instance of HIAS opposing a government appointment in the 135 years in which we have been welcoming refugees to the United States. We cannot, however, remain silent on the appointment of Stephen Bannon as the Chief Strategist in the Trump White House. Under Mr. Bannon’s leadership, the Breitbart “News Network” has engaged in an extensive, persistent and aggressive campaign to vilify and dehumanize refugees and asylum seekers.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical CollegeThe Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, along with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association join in the concern expressed by political leaders across the spectrum about President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon to senior advisor and chief strategist to the White House. Mr. Bannon has overseen the primary website of the “alt-right,” a group espousing white nationalist beliefs. The site has often been critiqued for racist, anti-Semitic and other hateful content. Mr. Bannon’s appointment reinforces concerns that expressions of anti-Semitism, misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia—all normalized through the presidential campaign—will be embraced by the highest office in the land. We call for the appointment of a strategist who will work for the inclusion and well-being of all Americans.

JCRC of Greater Boston: We’re deeply concerned that the worst rhetoric or hatefulness of the campaign will become the policy of the administration.

JCRC of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties: The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) believes that our strong democratic and civil society deserves vigilant protection. Protecting democratic freedoms, developing peaceful relationships among Americans, promoting mutual respect, fostering understanding and celebrating diversity are values our Bay Area Jewish community cherishes and defends. By contrast, extremist statements that amplify hate and drive divisions in this country put all minority populations, including ours, at risk. For this reason, JCRC unequivocally condemns the appointment of Stephen Bannon to the position of senior counselor and chief strategist in President-elect Trump’s Administration. 

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action: For those who hoped that the hate-mongering of the presidential campaign might end with Election Day, the appointment of Steven Bannon as the President-elect’s chief strategist suggests such hopes are in vain. JALSA is outraged with this appointment. Bannon has facilitated white supremacist writings and he has been accused of anti-Semitic statements. This is not simply a controversial appointment; this normalizes speech and action which is not acceptable.  

JCRC of Milwaukee Jewish Federation: The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation strongly denounces the appointment of Stephen K. Bannon as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President. Through his words and his actions, Bannon spreads the alt-right’s dangerous white nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism -- values antithetical to the ethical underpinnings of this country. We call on President-Elect Trump to reconsider his appointment of Bannon; and to demonstrate his commitment to unity, pluralism, diversity, and respect for all Americans in future appointments.

Ameinu: And we call on you to staff your administration with individuals who exhibit excellence and empathy, and a commitment to protecting the security, honor and dignity of all American regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. Your recent decision to appoint Stephen Bannon to the post of Senior Counselor and Strategist in the White House runs counter to these principles and should be rescinded for the sake of the American people and the honor of the government of the United States.

Conservative movementWe were heartened by the words of President-elect Donald Trump following last week's election when he told Americans that it is time "to bind the wounds of division" and "to come together as one united people." We were further encouraged by his pledge to be president "for all Americans." We must speak up, therefore, in the face of President-elect Trump's appointment of Stephen K. Bannon who, as head of the Breitbart News site, trafficked in white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and misogyny. Breitbart is an outlet for the alt-right, a movement that is contrary to both our American and Jewish values. We further affirm that any appointment made by a US President or President-elect must by definition exclude individuals who promote ideas that are antithetical to the values of our country. As Jews, we are compelled not to remain silent in the face of hate or the vilification of any group: לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך. You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. (Leviticus 19:17) Americans rightfully demand an unambiguous affirmation of the principles that have guided our country: tolerance, justice, freedom and respect for all people.  The United States is a nation of all its people. We call upon President-elect Trump, therefore, to rescind this nomination.