Sunrise Movement: Singling Out Jewish Orgs for Removal From Coalition Is Antisemitic

The national Sunrise Movement says its D.C. branch's decision not to join a rally this weekend due to the participation of 'Zionist organizations' is 'unacceptable'

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Sunrise Movement rally near the White House demanding action on climate change and green jobs in June.
Sunrise Movement rally near the White House demanding action on climate change and green jobs in June.Credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/ REUTERS
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – The national Sunrise Movement, one of the leading activist groups on climate change, on Friday issued further clarification that it strongly rejects its D.C. branch's decision to not take part in a rally for voting rights this weekend due to the participation of three liberal Jewish groups it labeled “Zionist organizations.”

"To be clear, Sunrise D.C.’s statement and actions are not in line with our values. Singling out Jewish organizations for removal from a coalition, despite others holding similar views, is antisemitic and unacceptable," the organization tweeted on Friday, one day after leading Jewish organizations harshly criticized its original statement for not forcefully condemning the move.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which had not forcefully spoken out against the D.C. branch's move, slammed the national movement's statement as "shameful" and "tepid."

They, along with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and the National Council of Jewish Women, are all slated to take part in Saturday’s event aimed at championing D.C. statehood and expanding voting rights. 

“Given our commitment to racial justice, self-governance and indigenous sovereignty, we oppose Zionism and any state that enforces its ideology,” Sunrise D.C. had originally said in a statement.

However, the Sunrise D.C. branch which had put its Twitter profile on private following the initial uproar, on Friday tweeted: "We’ve been taking time to reflect, learn, and think carefully on what has transpired since we released our statement. We have been in conversation with our membership and local community and will be commenting further in the near future."

It also asked the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of more than 200 liberal groups behind the rally – to remove the Jewish organizations in question from its member list. 

National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz and RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner both welcomed the national movement's clarification. 

The progressive IfNotNow movement, perhaps Sunrise's closest ally in the Jewish community, praised Sunrise's "important statement."

The three Jewish groups are among the most powerful left-wing groups in the Jewish-American establishment, consistently lending their authority on domestic hot-button issues and largely avoiding focusing on Israel, though they all support Israel by definition.

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