March , 2019

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Protest part of growing national chorus of progressive Jews urging communal institutions to break silence on bigotry of Trump appointments

The march, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago and If Not Now-Chicago, will take place Tuesday, November 22. Protesters will meet at the Federal Plaza at 4 p.m., on to the Offices of Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, 30 S. Wells at 4:15 p.m., and arrive at JUF at 4:25 p.m.

Chicago-area Jews will converge on the office of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) Tuesday, November 22, to demand that its president, Steven Nasatir, break his silence on President-Elect Trump’s appointment of notorious anti-Semite Steve Bannon to the role of Chief Strategist. They will also deliver a national Jewish Voice for Peace petition signed by tens of thousands of individuals and seventy-five organizations condemning Bannon’s appointment.

Bannon’s appointment has been celebrated by leading white nationalists. He is the former Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, a website that traffics in anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT, anti-woman and anti-immigrant content.

Thus far, Nasatir’s only statement was issued within hours after the Facebook event for Tuesday’s demonstration was posted. In it, he and Board Chair Michael Zaransky make no mention of the Bannon appointment, while welcoming “the calls for unity that have come from both President Obama and President-elect Trump.” (Full text of the letter available here).

Nasatir and the JUF’s hedging on this high-level appointment of a leading enabler of anti-Semitism stands in stark contrast with his and the JUF’s past eagerness to label supporters of Palestinian human rights “evil” and “anti-Semitic.”

Leah Fried, Coordinating Committee member with Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago: “JUF President Steven Nasatir apparently wouldn’t recognize anti-Semitism if it stared him in the face. He’ll call activists for Palestinian human rights evil but stay quiet about an appointment celebrated by literal neo-Nazis.”

NATIONAL BACKGROUND: The JUF’s parent organization, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), sent a letter to President-Elect Trump, congratulating him on his win and specifically expressing its appreciation for his “recognition of America’s and Israel’s shared values to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”  When pressed nationally on their silence, the JFNA responded simply that “Trump needs to be given an opportunity to lead.

JVP-Chicago is the local branch of Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jvp.org), a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

If Not Now-Chicago is the local chapter of If Not Now (ifnotnowmovement.org) a movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.

For more information, contact:
Michael Deheeger, Jewish Voice for Peace

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