Prominent progressive Jewish donors urge Biden to end ‘unconditional’ Israel support

Letter warns disillusionment among Democrats over Gaza war is boosting chances of Trump victory; charges Israel with ‘indiscriminate bombing,’ urges conditions for defense aid

US President Joe Biden at a campaign event at Strath Haven Middle School on March 8, 2024, in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)
US President Joe Biden at a campaign event at Strath Haven Middle School on March 8, 2024, in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A number of prominent Jewish donors are signed onto a letter from more than 100 Democratic funders calling on US President Joe Biden to pull back his “unconditional” support for Israel’s war effort, and warning that it may harm his reelection prospects.

“Because of the disillusionment of a critical portion of the Democratic coalition, the Gaza war is increasing the chances of a Trump victory,” said the letter, which was sent Monday and first reported by The New York Times.

The letter comes amid growing pressure on Biden over Gaza from a swell of progressive voters, who have voted “uncommitted” in significant numbers in several primaries. The protest votes raise the prospect that progressive voters may stay home or decline to vote for the president in November, potentially facilitating a victory for former president Donald Trump.

“As donors and activists, we have committed much time and treasure in helping increase the turnout of likely Biden voters, particularly among young voters and voters of color,” the letter says. “Many of these voters are now questioning whether the Democratic Party shares their values.”

Among the signers are George and Liana Krupp, the father and daughter who steer the Krupp Family Foundation, which funds progressive Jewish organizations as well as the Council of American Jewish Museums. George Krupp, who has given $600,000 to Democrats this cycle, according to the Times, told the Times he remains committed to electing Biden to office.

Other prominent Jewish names include Barbara Dobkin, a philanthropist who has given to Jewish and Israeli feminist causes; Carol Winograd, who has funded progressive Jewish groups including J Street and Bend the Arc; Tamara Abrams, a Bay area climate activist who has served on the board of the East Bay Jewish Community Center; Margery Goldman, a philanthropist who has funded Israeli-Palestinian peace groups; and Marsha Rosenbaum, who has been at the forefront of advocating for drug reforms.

NCJW CEO Nancy Kaufman and Barbara Dobkin, board chair of the Dafna Fund, look on as Dr. Alice Shalvi speaks. March 8, 2018 (Credit: Gal Mosenson).

The letter says Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas after the terror group’s October 7 attack on Israel, which it said included war crimes. The attack, which started the current Israel-Hamas war, saw Hamas terrorists killing some 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages.

“We cannot imagine the pain that the hostages and their families endure every day,” the letter says. “We also acknowledge that Israel has the right, as does every country, to defend its citizens, and we sympathize with the stated joint goals of eliminating Hamas and freeing the hostages.

But the letter goes on to charge Israel with “indiscriminate” bombing and “systematically” destroying “nearly all civil structures in Gaza.” It calls for conditions on US defense assistance to Israel and adds, “Regrettably, President Biden has provided what appears to be unconditional support for the Israeli operation.” It says Biden’s pressure on Israel to minimize civilian casualties has been ineffective.

Israel accuses the Hamas terror group of fighting from within civilian structures, including hospitals, and says it makes every effort to avoid harming noncombatants

“We are asking the Biden administration immediately to change course,” it says. “Conditions need to be placed and monitored on any further military, financial or diplomatic aid. All indiscriminate bombing and demolition must stop.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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