President Donald Trump made the traditional High Holiday greeting phone call to rabbis this morning in which he also professed his “love” for Israel and denounced anti-Semitism and all forms of hate against any community.
“He said all the right things,” said one of those who heard the call.
Trump was introduced by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He took no questions.
Rabbis from the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbinical organizations boycotted the call to protest Trump’s “lack of moral leadership” in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville, Va., demonstration last month by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klansmen. The groups, said to represent more than 4,000 rabbis and the vast majority of American Jews, objected to a number of the president’s comments in which he appeared to minimize the racist and anti-Semitic views of the demonstrators. A young woman was killed in the demonstration after a man drove his car into the protestors.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Trump as saying the tradition of Judaism “strengthens our nation and inspires us all.” He pointed out that Holocaust survivors had been invited to listen to his message.
“We forcefully condemn those who seek to promote anti-Semitism,” he was quoted as saying. “I will make sure we protect Jewish communities, and all communities, to make sure they are safe.”
Trump emphasized that his support for Israel is “not just because of security, but because of shared values. … On a personal level — and I just returned from Israel not too long ago — I can tell you that I love Israel. This new year gives us hope for significant progress on peace. And I am very hopeful that it could happen by the end of the year.”
Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are both expected to meet with Trump separately on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, no trilateral meeting has yet been arranged.