Hundreds of Jews Protest Hanukkah Celebration at Trump Hotel:

"We have to be alert and fight back."

December 17, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


In early December word spread among Jewish activists that the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations would hold its annual celebration of Hanukkah at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

“If Not Now”—a group of Jewish activists mainly focused on opposing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory—said that “... the Conference of Presidents chose to cozy up to power and be complicit in Trump’s presidency by holding their Hanukkah party in Trump’s hotel,” and called for protests at and a boycott of the party. Other Jewish groups took this up. At times they faced off against a much smaller group of “Jews for Trump” Trumpites chanting “USA! USA!”

On December 14, over 250 people marched from Freedom Plaza to the Trump Hotel, behind banners reading “Jewish Resistance” and “If Not Now.” As they marched people sang with solemn determination that though “this is the darkest hour ... No one can hold back the dawn.” Signs read “Rabbis Against Trump” and “Jews Against Xenophobia.”

The protest continued in front of the hotel for over an hour. An activist told The Forward: “Trump does not speak for me. He has aligned himself with anti-Semites and White Supremacists and here we have the Conference of Presidents saying ‘yay Trump, yay White Supremacists, screw all the Jews who don’t agree with us.’” Another activist compared Trump’s plans to register Muslims in the U.S. to Hitler’s registration of Jews in Germany, saying “As Jews we’ve seen that before in our history. And it’s horrible and atrocious and absolutely disgusting that it’s being talked about by our president-elect.”

A rabbi said she rejected “... the anti-Jewish misogyny, racist and Islamaphobic kinds of attitudes that Trump has unleashed in this country. We are seeing the unraveling of our democratic society and the unveiling of—I’m afraid the beginnings of—a fascist one and we have to be alert and fight back.”

In the context of planned protests and outrage, a number of mainstream Jewish organizations including American Jewish Congress and Hadassah, and the Anti-Defamation League, joined more liberal Jewish groups in boycotting the event.


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