As Jewish leaders and current and former leaders of Jewish organizations and communities throughout the country, many of us have seen and spoken out about the use of division and fear to target progressive Muslim, Black, and Brown leaders and activists and divide them from Jewish communities.

We write this letter to sound the alarm about a related dangerous pattern that has been taking shape, exemplified by recent attacks on Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) and Rep. Andy Levin: Increasingly, we are witnessing smear campaigns that seem designed to isolate and divide progressive Jews from the rest of the Jewish community. These smears take several forms, but often boil down to the claim that progressive Jews aren’t “real” Jews; that activism and political action for social justice are not only at odds with Jewish values and identity, but grounds to deny that identity altogether.

We are dismayed to see that certain Jewish legacy organizations appear to be engaging in smears against Jews with whom they politically disagree. Much has been written about AIPAC’s campaign against Rep. Andy Levin. Less has been written about the recent attack on JFREJ, and the alarming decision of Jonathan Greenblatt, the National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to validate it.

Over the past two weeks, JFREJ has been viciously targeted by a political candidate who continues to: single out individual JFREJ members for harassment; smear JFREJ and its electoral arm, The Jewish Vote, as antisemitic; and accuse JFREJ members of being ‘fake’ Jews. Greenblatt chose to retweet a Twitter thread making these attacks, a decision an ADL spokesperson defended in a statement. The candidate has since cited the ADL’s statement in an effort to legitimize his defamation campaign against JFREJ and its members.

We ask that Jonathan Greenblatt and the Anti-Defamation League condemn the candidate’s attacks on JFREJ and publicly apologize for affirming them. To amplify a politician’s direct, personal targeting of an organization’s individual members is harmful enough on its own. But we are even more alarmed that Greenblatt, who knows this country’s dangerous history of isolating progressive Jews from the rest of the community by attempting to strip them of their Jewishness, would support and further enable such an attack. As Jewish social justice leaders, we ask that the Anti-Defamation League sit down with us to consider how this harmful strategy undermines all of us and the Jewish future that we all deserve.

JFREJ is an integral part of New York’s Jewish and social justice ecosystem. Some of us are proud members. Even if we don’t always agree with every position the organization or its members take, we respect the 6,000 members who call JFREJ home. We greatly value the more than three decades of multiracial and multi-faith organizing that JFREJ has accomplished on the front lines of movements for police accountability, workers’ rights, immigrant justice, building a caring economy, expanding democracy, and combating antisemitism and winning unprecedented funding for hate violence prevention programs in New York City.

JFREJ has stood at the forefront of understanding and exposing antisemitism, and building the interfaith and multiracial coalitions to combat antisemitism wherever it arises. JFREJ has been a national leader in making Jewish communities more inclusive and supporting and uplifting the voices of Jews of Color. What is it about this work — about racial and economic justice and celebrating the diversity of our community — that so threatens JFREJ’s detractors? What possibly justifies the level of vitriol and antisemitism that progressives increasingly and heartbreakingly face from fellow Jews?

We condemn efforts to divide the Jewish community by drawing on antisemitic tropes and scapegoating members of the progressive movement. We condemn efforts to demonize allied Muslim and Black-led organizations working to make real the aspirations of a multiracial democracy. It is imperative that in these difficult times, we remain clear-headed and focused on seeking to repair and improve our broken world, instead of further breaking it and our Jewish community apart.

(affiliations listed for identification purposes only),

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)

Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

Rabbi Lisa Grant, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

Rabbi Sharon Brous, Senior Rabbi, IKAR

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action

Rabbi Francine Roston, Glacier Jewish Community/B'nai Shalom

Rabbi Joshua Stanton, East End Temple

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Orthodox, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)

Rabbi Emily Cohen, West End Synagogue

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, Lab/Shul

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All

Rabbi Shais Rishon (MaNishtana), Orthodox Movement

Rabbi Nate DeGroot, National Organizer, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, President and CEO, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Amber Powers, Executive Vice President, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Maurice Harris, Associate Director for Thriving Communities & Israel Affairs Specialist, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, Director of Leadership and Learning, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, National Jewish Educator, Avodah

Rabbi Abby Stein

Rabbi Mia Simring

Rabbi Matthew Dreffin

Rabbi Tamara Cohen

Rabbi Susan Falk

Rabbi Max Reynolds

Rabbi Andrue Kahn

Rabbi Salem Pearce

Rabbi Margo Hughes-Robinson

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Malkhut

Rabbi Alana Alpert, Congregation T'chiyah

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Rabbi Emerita, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Brooklyn

April Baskin, former Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Union of Reform Judaism (URJ)

Ruth Messinger, former Manhattan Borough President, current social justice consultant

Brad Lander, New York City Comptroller

Lincoln Restler, New York City Council Member

Harvey Epstein, New York State Assembly Member

Julia Salazar, New York State Senator

Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street

Steve Bocknek, Acting CEO, Avodah

Abby Leibman, President and CEO, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

Stosh Cotler, former CEO, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Jamie Beran, Interim CEO, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Rachel Laforest, Chief Program Officer, Bend The Arc: Jewish Action

Rabbi Jason Kimmel-Block, Washington Director, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Idit Klein, President and CEO, Keshet

Meg Sullivan, Director, JCC Harlem

Ann Toback, CEO, The Worker’s Circle

Rebecca Zimmerman Hornstein, Executive Director, Boston Workers Circle

Meredith Jacobs, CEO, Jewish Women International

Jacob Feinspan, Executive Director, Jews United for Justice

Beth Gendler, Executive Director, Jewish Community Action

Carin Mrotz, former Executive Director, Jewish Community Action

Abby Lublin, Executive Director, Carolina Jews for Justice

Judith Levey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

Allie Zeff, Executive Director, Detroit Jews for Justice

Susannah Goodman, Deputy Director, Detroit Jews for Justice

Libby Lenkinski, Vice President, New Israel Fund

Melissa Balaban, CEO, IKAR

Brooke Wirtschafter, Director of Community Organizing, IKAR

Rachel Lerner, Chief Strategy Officer, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

David Schwartz, Director of Programs, JOIN for Justice

Shira Danan, Chief Communications Officer, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Hannah Weilbacher, Director of Campaigns, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Emilia Diamant, National Program Director, Avodah

Amanda Lindner, Director of Communications, Avodah

Sarra Alpert, Director, Avodah Institute for Social Change

Erica Kushner, Mazkirol/Director, Habonim Dror North America

Madeleine Cereghino, Director of Government Relations, Americans for Peace Now

Rebecca Ennen, Chief Communications Officer, Keshet

Harry Reis, former Special Assistant to Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL; former Policy Director, New Israel Fund; Dorot Fellow ‘17-18

Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause/NY

Udi Ofer, Deputy National Political Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Katie Goldstein, Director of Housing Campaigns, Center for Popular Democracy

Kevin Rachlin, Vice President of Public Affairs, J Street

Logan Bayaroff, Vice President of Communications, J Street

Dylan Williams, Senior Vice President for Strategy & Policy, J Street

Michael Chaitow, Digital Director, New Israel Fund

Michelle Weiser, Co-Director of Development, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Miriam Grant, Development Officer, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Rachel Maiman, Executive Assistant to the CEO, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Leah Robbins, Development Chair, Kavod Boston

Stephen Levin, former New York City Council Member

Leah Greenberg, Co-Executive Director, Indivisible

Sondra Youdelman, Campaigns Director, People’s Action

Pamela Shifman, President, Democracy Alliance

Yoshi Silverstein, Founder & Executive Director, Mitsui Collective

Shifra Bronznick, Social Change Strategist in Residence, Auburn Seminary

Rabbi Barat Ellman, Adjunct Professor, Fordham University Department of Theology

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Kohenet, Kesher Pittsburgh

Morriah Kaplan, Managing Director, IfNotNow

Dylan Goodman, Director of Engagement, JCC Harlem

David Krantz, President, Aytzim: Ecological Judaism

Jon Grabelle Herrmann, Chief Development Officer, Keshet

Ngozi Williams, Founder and Community Organizer, Jews of Color Cleveland

Pippi Kessler, Advisor, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable

Rachel Gottfried-Clancy, Senior Director of Organizational Change, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable

Dove Kent, Former Executive Director, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice; Co-Founder, Tzedek Lab

Helen Bennett, Co-Founder and Director, Tzedek Lab

Phil Aroneanu, Chief Strategy Officer, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action

Professor Esther Fuchs, Columbia University

Anita Altman, Board President, Yaffed

Amy Spitalnick