JNS noted our statement in its coverage of the storming of the United States Capitol by rioters.
(January 6, 2021 / JNS) Jewish and Israel-related groups reacted to the mob invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by Trump supporters as members of Congress gathered in a joint session on Wednesday to certify U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Eric Fingerhut, a former member of Congress, and currently the president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, told JNS that he was “horrified” by what happened, calling it “appalling” and blaming the rhetoric by U.S. President Donald Trump in part leading up to the overrunning of the Capitol.
Violence erupted in the afternoon when some of the protesters of the certification process scaled walls and scaffolding, and smashed windows to enter the building. One woman was shot during the chaos inside the Capitol and transferred to a nearby hospital; she was pronounced dead around 6 p.m. Multiple injuries to law enforcement have also been reported.
Jewish groups from both sides of the aisle unwaveringly condemned the chaos on Capitol Hill, with Democratic and liberal groups blaming the president for inciting the violence. Conservative Jewish groups focused on the breakdown of the rule of law, which they vociferously lamented.
“Protesters must stop now. We support peaceful protest, but storming the halls of Congress and the Capitol building is unacceptable. We condemn these actions. G-d bless the [Capitol Police],” tweeted the Republican Jewish Coalition.
“Shame on Donald Trump, who has incited violence, sedition, anarchy & insurrection, playing out in real time. He is risking the lives of Republicans and Democrats alike in order to stop the peaceful transfer of power. Praying for the safety & security of those in the Capitol,” tweeted Jewish Democratic Council of America CEO Halie Soifer.
“The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of and essential to American democracy. We are disgusted by the violence at the US Capitol and urge the rioters to disperse immediately. Law and order must be restored, and the peaceful transition of administrations must continue,” tweeted the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“The peaceful transition of power is the bedrock of our democracy. We are shocked and horrified by the violent riots taking place on Capitol Hill at this time. We urge @POTUS to call for an immediate end to the riots and respect the certification process currently underway,” tweeted the American Jewish Committee.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tweeted, “We share the anger of our fellow Americans over the attack at the Capitol and condemn the assault on our democratic values and process. This violence, and President Trump’s incitement of it, is outrageous and must end.”
Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told JNS that his organization “condemns and deplores the several dozen idiotic lunatics who broke into the Capitol building. The First Amendment does not permit any part of a protest to be violent. And Trump should have made a stronger speech urging this travesty to stop.”
In a statement, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said “extremists must be taken at their word. First, there was volatile rhetoric online, then explicit calls to violence, and now people are acting on those calls in the nation’s capital and flagrantly breaking the law. It must end now.”
He went on to state, “The president has promoted sedition and incited violence. People assaulting law-enforcement officers or breaching government buildings must be arrested and held accountable.
Additionally, Greenblatt called for social-media companies to “suspend his accounts ASAP as they would do for anyone else advocating disinformation and promoting violence.”
On Wednesday night, Twitter suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours, threatening a permanent ban.
‘One of the saddest days in our nation’s history’
In a statement, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called Wednesday “a dark day for all Americans.”
“The right to protest is sacrosanct in American life,” said the organization. “But the very values and rights bestowed by our democracy are degraded and diminished when police officers have to draw their guns to protect our duly elected officials in the heart of our nation by violent protesters who have stormed Congress and by their reckless and dangerous behavior have inflicted grievous wounds on our nation.”
“Nothing,” it added, “not even the emotional charges of voter fraud in a presidential election, can ever legitimize or excuse such behavior.”
B’nai B’rith International called the mob invasion of the Capitol “one of the saddest days in our nation’s history” and called for Trump “to publicly condemn the rioters.”
“The United States Capitol building represents the heart of our democracy,” said the organization. “We condemn those who are engaging in this senseless disregard for the democratic values of our nation.”
“Though it’s horrifying to see the U.S. Capitol under siege, the seeds for this have been planted and nurtured for many years,” continued B’nai B’rith. “We decry the divisiveness in the country that led to this day, and we must re-engage in a political process of compromise, one issue at a time. The election season is over.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council called Wednesday “a sad and dangerous day for our democracy.”
“The violence taking place in Washington, including the attempt to storm the United States Capitol, is despicable,”said the organization. “These actions have been encouraged by the highest officeholders in our nation, reminding us that rhetoric matters and words have consequences.”
“Make no mistake: If order, decency and rational decision making do not prevail, the underpinnings of our social fabric are in jeopardy,” they added.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) said what transpired “was a direct assault on our democratic process, and nothing less than an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transition of power in a presidential election and an act of sedition.”
The Texas Jewish Post covered our donation of COVID-19 relief kits to local organizations in the Texarkoma Region of the United States.
A donation of COVID-19 relief kits will help local organizations combat coronavirus. Alex Nason, B’nai B’rith community coordinator and president of B’nai B’rith in the Texarkoma Region, presented local organizations with COVID-19 relief kits provided by B’nai B’rith International.
Jewish Family Services of Tarrant County, the Tarrant County Molly and Max Barnett B’nai B’rith Apartments, and Strengthening After-School Programs through Advocacy, Resources and Collaboration (SPARC) received kits containing a cloth face mask and travel-sized hand sanitizer, both imprinted with the B’nai B’rith logo.
These kits, made possible by B’nai B’rith International, will help ensure that recipients stay safe during the pandemic.
Jewish Family Services of Tarrant County, a program that provides transportation for seniors to bring them together for activities and meals, received 25 kits. Hedy Collins, senior program director, accepted the kits from Nason.
The Tarrant County Molly and Max Barnett B’nai B’rith Apartments house 95 low-income seniors. Each resident received a COVID kit, accepted on behalf of the residents by Board President Dan Sturman and Property Manager Tiffany Bell.
SPARC provides after-school programming and training to serve all Fort Worth schools. Tobi Jackson, executive director of SPARC and first vice president of the Fort Worth Independent School District board of trustees, accepted the kits.
“Seeing the appreciation from the kit recipients who are familiar with B’nai B’rith International was very nice,” Nason said. “And hearing how surprised and appreciative people were who didn’t know about B’nai B’rith International and its disaster relief doings was priceless. It made me very proud to be a part of B’nai B’rith.”
These donations are some of many made as part of B’nai B’rith’s project to provide 3,000 COVID-19 relief kits to communities around the United States. B’nai B’rith community coordinators around the country are donating kits on behalf of B’nai B’rith to local agencies dedicated to serving their community.
“Every community in America is facing the challenge of responding to the needs of vulnerable populations. We want to be part of the solution and help make sure everyone stays safe,” said Rebecca Saltzman, senior vice president and chair of the B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Committee.
As the U.S. experiences a high level of transmission of the virus, this project will help people follow the CDC recommendation for the “consistent and correct” use of face masks, as well as guidance to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available. Since it began in March 2020, the B’nai B’rith COVID-19 relief campaign has supported projects around the world to help keep people safe and alleviate the effects of the pandemic.
The B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund has responded to man-made and natural disasters around the world since 1865.
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