Letter from 100+ Jewish millennials to Netanyahu: Your policies “strain our connection” to Israel; “address these worrisome challenges” in AIPAC speech

For Immediate Release:

NEW YORK, March 20 — We hope you “recognize how some of your government’s policies both strain our connection to the Jewish State and hamper our ability to advocate for Israel’s well-being,” write over 100 Jewish millennials affiliated with a broad swath of American Jewish organizations in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, delivered today, five days before his speech to AIPAC’s Policy Conference in Washington.

The letter’s signers describe themselves as “Jewish millennial Zionists actively engaged” in the North American Jewish community, who “oppose the BDS movement and other efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, and fight anti-Semitic and anti-Israel voices on social media,” and are “committed to strengthening and advancing Israel’s well-being as a secure, Jewish, and democratic state.”

However, they tell Prime Minister Netanyahu, “It is becoming increasingly challenging for us to do this important work,” citing a range of troubling “policies, actions and rhetoric”  by the Israeli government that make their continued advocacy for Israel increasingly more difficult.

The signers, who range in age from 20-40, are or have been affiliated with major US Jewish organizations and young leadership networks, including: AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, Hillel International, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Federations of North America, J Street, Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Moishe House, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s ROI Network, Union for Reform Judaism, The Wexner Foundation and more. Signatories also include the founder of JSwipe, David Yarus, and Elad Nehorai, known as Pop Chassid on social media,

Zak Sawyer, AIPAC assistant director from 2014-2017, believes that “Millennial Zionists are finding it more difficult to make the case for the US-Israel relationship with a surging far-left and far-right here in America.” He added, “Having the Prime Minister of Israel cave to some of the most extreme voices in Israel makes it even more challenging for us to advocate for a strong US-Israel relationship.”

The letter urges the Prime Minister “to address these worrisome challenges” in his AIPAC speech and beyond, in particular, to “ensure Israel remains the homeland for all Jews and a state of all its citizens” and “to articulate your vision for achieving a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution.”

Not taking these and other specified actions, the letter declares, “could seriously erode support for Israel among our generation of U.S. Jews.”

The full text of the letter with names and affiliations of the signers is attached.  The organizers of this letter, IPF Atid, the young professionals network of Israel Policy, and Union for Reform Judaism will continue to collect signers until Tuesday, March 26.

“This initiative generated a lot of enthusiasm from young professionals who, like me, are eager to demonstrate to the American Jewish community and to the Israeli public the deep concern younger American Jews in our community feel about the impact of Israel’s current leadership on the future of the Jewish state,” said Adena Philips, an organizational consultant and Israel Policy Forum board member. Any individuals interested in adding their name to the letter can visit https://sign.dearbibi.com/.

NOTE TO MEDIA: The following signers are available for interviews:

Elad Nehorai, “Pop Chassid,” Co-Leader, Torah Trumps Hate

Adena Philips, Israel Policy Forum board member and chair of its young leadership network IPF Atid

Zak Sawyer, AIPAC assistant director from 2014-2017

Media contacts:

Martin Irom, martinirom@gmail.com, 212-362-5260, 516-567-4348 (c)

Lauren Theodore, ltheodore@urj.org, 212-650-4154

IPF Atid is the young professionals network of the Israel Policy Forum, an organization dedicated to advancing support for a viable two-state solution. IPF Atid educates, empowers, and connects the rising generation of Jewish and foreign policy professionals in support of a Jewish, democratic, and secure Israel.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ, www.URJ.org) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel. Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 900 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.