Jews on Left and Right Stand With John Lewis Against Trump's MLK Weekend Tirade

'Yeah. I am with him,' Reform Jewish Movement's Rabbi Pesner tweets after Trump lashes out at civil rights icon at start of MLK weekend.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

Progressive Jewish groups are standing by U.S. Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis after he was attacked in a tweet by President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday.

Trump began a long holiday weekend that honors slain black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by attacking Lewis, tweeting that he had falsely complained about the election results and instead "should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)."

"All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's tweets followed comments by Lewis, a Georgia Democrat,  who said on a segment of "Meet the Press" released by NBC on Friday he thought hacking by Russians had helped Trump get elected in November. Lewis said he does not plan to attend Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration, the first time he would miss such an event since being elected to the House in 1986, and that he doesn't consider Trump a "legitimate president."

The 76-year-old Lewis, who has been a civil rights leader for more than half a century, was beaten by police during a march he helped lead in 1965 in Selma, Alabama, drawing attention to hurdles for blacks to vote. He protested alongside King that day and on other occasions.

Anti-Defamation League director Jonathan Greenblatt voiced his group's solidarity with Lewis in a tweet:

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, also tweeted in support of Lewis:

Well-known conservative commentator Bill Kristol came out in defense of Lewis as well. “It’s telling,” tweeted Kristol, editor-at-large of the American Spectator, “I’m afraid that Donald Trump treats Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis.”

By contrast, Ben Shapiro, the conservative syndicated columnist , condemned the congressman’s decision to boycott the inauguration. “John Lewis can be an American hero who says dumb things about politics,” he wrote on Twitter. 

The National Jewish Democratic Council said in response: "Trump's Twitter feed is a constant reminder to reasons why he's so unfit for office. John Lewis is a hero, while Donald Trump continues to act like a clown. Time to instead act presidential. Try." 

Reuters contributed to this report