The new Congress has at least 33 Jewish members, in the House and Senate, among those who would have been present today.
By RON KAMPEAS/JTA, OMRI NAHMIAS, TZVI JOFFRE
“I did not believe I would see such pictures in the most powerful democracy in the world,” he continued. “This is proof that before political rivalry, we must agree on the rules of the game: Maintaining the rule of law, respecting democratic procedures and respectful discourse. I hope the horrific event comes to an end soon, and without any casualties.”
However, Netanyahu has not yet responded. The silence is reminiscent of that by Netanyahu after US news projected President-elect Joe Biden as the US’s next president. Netanyahu responded the following day.
It’s been a day unlike any in modern American history. Lawmakers have gone under lock and key. At least one person was shot and critically injured.
“We share the anger of our fellow Americans over the attack at the Capitol and condemn the assault on our democratic values and process,” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement. “This violence, and President Trump’s incitement of it, is outrageous and must end,” AIPAC’s statement reads.
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted: “I worked at the Nation’s Capitol. It’s a sacred place. The insurrection we saw today was despicable. The mob can never be allowed to rule-and sadly, the President whipped up the mob. The election is over-and anger over the outcome cannot be an excuse for mob violence.”
The Conference of Presidents of major Jewish Organization said in a statement: “The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of and essential to American democracy. We are disgusted by the violence at the US Capitol and urge the rioters to disperse immediately. Law and order must be restored, and the peaceful transition of administrations must continue.”
“We are shocked and horrified by the violent riots taking place on Capitol Hill at this time,” The American Jewish Committee (AJC) wrote on Twitter. “The peaceful transition of power is the bedrock of our democracy.”
The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) wrote in a press release: “We watched as a symbol of our nation’s democracy was attacked, with violent anarchists threatening the peaceful transfer of power, and we know this was not a spontaneous event. President Trump incited this insurrection, and he should be immediately removed from office for abuse of power.”
Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington condemned “the lawlessness and violence taking place in our nation’s capital.”
“Today’s attack on the most precious of American democratic traditions, the peaceful transfer of power, is reprehensible,” the organization said in a statement. “The riots and loss of life are the inevitable result of President Trump’s and others’ incitement and the spreading of misinformation and conspiracy theories about theft and fraudulence in our presidential election, the fairness and authenticity of which have been confirmed by Republican and Democratic state and national elected officials and by multiple federal and state courts.”
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, wrote: “We are witnessing an unprecedented assault not just on the US Capitol building and members of Congress, but on American democracy itself. The scenes of insurrectionists breaching Capitol security, of Senators and Representatives hiding under chairs on the chamber floor praying with the chaplain while Capitol police stand at the ready, are terrifying and heartbreaking.”
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) National President Rhoda Smolow and CEO Janice Weinman released the following joint statement: “The criminal behavior and events of this afternoon are abhorrent, as are attempts to disrupt democracy with incitement to violence. As Jews, we know the power of words and demand our elected leaders raise the level of discourse and lead with civility.”
Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Rabbi Abraham Cooper condemned the storming of the Capitol, saying ““The right to protest is sacrosanct in American life. But the very values and rights bestowed by our democracy are degraded and diminished when police officers have to draw their guns to protect our duly elected officials in the heart of our nation by violent protesters who have stormed Congress and by their reckless and dangerous behavior have inflicted grievous wounds on our nation.”
“Nothing, not even the emotional charges of voter fraud in a presidential election, can ever legitimize or excuse such behavior,” continued the statement. “For as the Talmud warns, ‘Pray for the welfare of the government, for without it… man would swallow his fellow man.’ Today is a dark day for all Americans.”
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stressed that ADL has said “again and again, [that] extremists must be taken at their word.”
“First there was volatile rhetoric online, then explicit calls to violence and now people are acting on those calls in the nation’s capital and flagrantly breaking the law. It must end now,” added Greenblatt. “The President has promoted sedition and incited violence. People assaulting law enforcement officers or breaching government buildings must be arrested and held accountable.”
The ADL head added that “what is happening right now at the Capitol is a direct result of the fear and disinformation that has been spewed consistently from the Oval Office. President Trump has a responsibility to call for an end to this violence and unrest that he has sowed. His campaign of disinformation is a clear and present danger to our democracy.”
Greenblatt called on social media companies to suspend Trump’s accounts.
In response to Twitter’s decision to suspend Trump’s account for 12 hours, former MK Dr. Nachman Shai, the IDF spokesman during the Gulf War who took the role of communicating with the public and keeping the nation calm, tweeted “Now Twitter is waking up? Too late, too little, but this will help for the future, Twitter, Facebook and all the other networks, the responsibility is on you and do not pretend to be innocent. You’re not.”
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to the storming of the US Capitol by protesters on Wednesday night, stating that the pictures from the scene “hurt the hearts of everyone who believes in democracy.”
The National Council of Young Israel joined Jewish organizations in condemning the violence at the Capitol, saying “While peaceful protests are an essential element of our country’s democratic framework, the violent protests and wanton attacks that we witnessed today are deplorable and a dangerous assault on the very foundation upon which this nation is built. Law and order are critical components of this country’s very existence, and those individuals who breached the Capitol doors and illicitly entered the building in a blatant and deliberate attempt to sow chaos and serve as a disruptive force should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Council additionally denounced the recent vandalizations of the homes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, calling the actions “cowardly” and stressing that “no lawmaker, irrespective of their political party or ideology, deserves to be subject to such despicable behavior.”