Jewish Insider: Rabbis sign letter defending Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock

November 24, 2020

By Jacob Kornbluh

“As rabbis and religious leaders, we recognize and respect the devotion to his Christian faith that underlies Rev. Raphael Warnock’s strong support for Israel and his partnership with the Jewish people,” reads the letter, spearheaded by the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “Rev. Warnock recognizes that being a true friend also means being a truth-teller who does not shy away from hard conversations, and he has made no secret of his strong reservations and concerns over Israeli settlement expansion, which may impede prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Warnock is senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., previously served as a co-pastor.

The letter’s signatories — who specified that they were not endorsing any candidate — suggested that racial bias could be driving the “baseless claims and attacks” targeting Warnock. “We abhor the politics of dividing traditionally marginalized communities in order to consolidate political power,” the letter states.

JDCA board member Michael Rosenzweig, who resides in Atlanta, said the letter shows “that Jewish faith leaders understand that history and stand with us. We know the truth and we won’t let others divide us.”

Signatories include national Jewish faith leaders such as Rabbis Sharon Brous of IKAR, Jill Jacobs of T’ruah, Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Lauren Holtzblatt and Aaron Alexander of Adas Israel, and Sandra Lawson of Elon University, as well as Georgia-based Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal of Ahavath Achim Synagogue, who is also president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, and Rabbis Peter Berg of Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (The Temple) and Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta.

In an editorial recently shared with JI, titled “I Stand with Israel,” Warnock writes: “Without reservation, you can count on me to stand with the Jewish community and Israel in the U.S. Senate.” Warnock detailed his position on a number of issues, including his support for the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, his rejection of conditioning financial aid to Israel and his hope that a two-state solution can be achieved.