(JTA) – An online petition is calling on Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, to withdraw his participation in the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
The change.org petition was posted two days ago by a Los Angeles businesswoman, Myra Stark. As of Wednesday afternoon it had nearly 1,000 signatures.
“Hier is the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named for the heroic Nazi-hunter, and the Museum of Tolerance – normalizing Trump with his participation will turn these organizations into a mockery and be a shame on the Jewish name forever,” reads the petition. “Apparently, Hier thinks it is acceptable to legitimize and collaborate with a political figure who the KKK is literally marching in the streets to celebrate.”
The petition calls on Hier to “redeem your name and the name of the important organizations you lead by dropping out of the Inauguration proceedings.” It adds: “Simon Wiesenthal Center, take disciplinary action against Hier if he refuses to desist from this shameful action.”
Hier reportedly will offer readings, recite an original prayer and give Trump and incoming Vice-President Mike Pence each a benediction at the Jan. 20 ceremony. He told the Los Angeles radio station KPCC that the Inaugural Committee contacted him about his participation and that he said “it would be my honour to do so.” He said his prayer will have a “21st century ring to it.”
Hier is one of six faith leaders who will participate in the inauguration.
The others are Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center; the Rev. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Bishop Wayne Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International.