(JTA) – Forty modern Orthodox rabbis in an open letter called on Donald Trump to repudiate racism during his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference.
The rabbis from throughout the United States, who said in the letter posted online Friday that they “care deeply not only about America’s relationship with Israel, but the values and character of this special land,” also called on Trump to denounce the language of hatred and xenophobia.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination, will be speaking today at the AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C.
“There is no mitzvah in the Torah repeated more often than the embrace of the stranger,” the rabbis wrote. “The Jewish story is itself the history of exiles seeking shelter; of refugees seeking asylum. And since it became a sovereign nation, Israel has proudly stood by and supported peoples of all backgrounds in their times of need: From Haiti to Taiwan; from Sudan to Nepal. Jewish tradition demands that we look past what separates us and instead keep our eyes trained on our shared humanity.”
The letter was posted on “The Rabbi’s Bookshelf,” the blog of Rabbi Yosie Levine of The Jewish Center in Manhattan.
The rabbis also called on Trump to “reassure our community that you understand that there can be no moral equivalency between a sovereign government acting in self-defense on the one hand and a terrorist organization committed to genocide on the other.” They urged: “Let your listeners know that you would never strong-arm Israel into negotiating a peace deal when Israel has no partner for peace.”