Jewish historian’s anti-Trump statement goes viral

Historians in the News
tags: civil liberties, Trump



More than 240 Jewish studies scholars have signed a public statementthat warns against the threat to minorities posed by the election of Donald Trump.

In the letter, originally published on the Jewish Journal’s website on Nov. 15, the historians decried “repeated anti-Semitic expressions and insinuations” that surfaced during the presidential campaign, particularly directed against journalists.

“Our reading of the past impels us to resist any attempts to place a vulnerable group in the crosshairs of nativist racism,” the scholars noted. “It is our duty to come to their aid and to resist the degradation of rights that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has provoked.”

Since it was published, readers shared the letter 13,000 times on Facebook and viewed it online almost 40,000 times, making it the Journal’s most read article that week.

David Biale, Jewish history professor at UC Davis, wrote the statement, and Hasia Diner at New York University and David N. Myers at UCLA edited it. On Nov. 11, they began circulating the letter.

“All of a sudden, as American Jews we have to face a new reality, an onslaught of hate and racism,” said Biale, who came up with the idea while lunching with Diner in New York. “I said, ‘Don’t you think people in the field should make a statement?’ ”

The letter gained signatories by word of mouth, Myers told the Journal. At first, Diner and Biale reached out to a half-dozen historians, each of whom then sent it to another 10 or so colleagues with the instructions to share it widely.





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