Rabbis and Cantors From Every Major Jewish Religious Movement Call on the Incoming Biden-Harris Administration to Place Human Rights at the Center of U.S. Foreign Policy

Joining with rabbis and cantors, American Jewish World Service says lifting up human rights is a key step to the U.S. regaining its standing in the world.

Today, more than 265 Jewish clergy — rabbis and cantors  from 34 states and the District of Columbia representing all major Jewish religious movements  — called on President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to adopt a progressive foreign policy that centers on the human rights and dignity of the most vulnerable people in the world. Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy for American Jewish World Service (AJWS), issued the following statement:

“We are proud to join 267 rabbis and cantors, representing a wide swath of the American Jewish community, in calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to place a progressive global human rights agenda at the center of American foreign policy. Based on the Jewish belief that every individual is created in the divine image and is infinitely valuable and deserving of respect and human rights, we join with this diverse group of Jewish religious leaders in urging the incoming Biden-Harris administration to both rebuild our nation’s foreign policy agenda and push beyond past precedents to use America’s power to help create a more just world for the most vulnerable people and communities. We believe that delivering on this promise is an essential step for the United States in regaining its standing in the world.

“With authoritarianism and other threats to democracy on the rise worldwide and the COVID-19 pandemic amplifying existing inequalities in every society, it is crucial that the incoming Biden-Harris administration lift up and protect the rights of activists for democratic rights, women and girls, LGBTQI+ people, indigenous communities, displaced populations and other marginalized groups.

“To restore and recenter human rights in American foreign policy, we call on the new administration to rejoin international human rights institutions and recommit to genuine diplomacy; rescind the global gag rule as one of its first actions and push for full legislative repeal, working with Congress to end other policies, like the Helms amendment, that prevent access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; promote the rule of law and accountability with greater support for frontline activists fighting for democracy civil society; and ensure a robust and collaborative COVID-19 response that centers on the needs of the most vulnerable in the global community.

“The last four years have been deeply challenging for all of us who care about human rights and the rule of law, and that’s why AJWS has been tireless in our efforts to mitigate the damage done by the Trump administration to international and domestic human rights while continuing to ensure our grantee partners can do their invaluable work in upholding and protecting human rights. The priorities this letter outlines will, if implemented in full, help the U.S. move forward from this damaging period and toward achieving a more equitable world for all. American Jewish World Service looks forward to working with the incoming administration to make this vision a reality.”

Click here for the full letter from 267 clergy to President-elect Biden

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Madeline Cohen at mcohen@ajws.org during AJWS office hours from 9 am to 5 pm eastern time, Monday through Thursday. If you are on an urgent deadline on a Friday, over a weekend or during evening hours, please write Stuart Schear at sschear@ajws.org.