73 progressive US Jewish groups sign pledge to shun Smotrich during visit

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Seventy-three progressive Jewish organizations in the US sign a pledge not to host Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in the latest petition ahead of the far-right Religious Zionism chairman’s visit to Washington next week to speak at an Israel Bonds conference.

Organizations signing on to the pledge organized by the Progressive Israel Network include the Union of Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which together represent the majority of US Jewry.

Signatories pledge “to shut the door to Smotrich in light of his virulently racist and homophobic stances and are encouraging the entire Jewish community to follow suit,” according to a statement from organizers.

“This move marks the first time in American Jewish history that a minister in the Israeli government — a member of the security cabinet — will be met with closed doors by so many in the organized American Jewish community,” organizers say.

“It is clear that the vast majority of American Jews want to tell Netanyahu’s Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, to go home. His racist and discriminatory policies, extremist and violent rhetoric, and the plan he supports to crush Israel’s democratic institutions have no place here.”

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