Hundreds of Jewish historians release Trump statement

More than 240 Jewish studies scholars have signed a public statement originating in the Bay Area that warns against the threat to minorities posed by the election of Donald Trump.

In “Scholars of Jewish History Speak Out on the Election of Donald Trump,” the president-elect’s campaign is described as “marked by unprecedented expressions of racial, ethnic, gender-based and religious hatred … against Muslims, Latinos, women and others.” Recalling the “discrimination and exclusion” Jewish Americans have felt as immigrants to this country, the signatories state it is “our duty to come to their aid and to resist the degradation of rights that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has provoked,” adding that “hatred of one minority leads to hatred of all.”

 The statement also notes the “repeated anti-Semitic expressions and insinuations” that surfaced during the campaign, particularly directed against journalists. According to the statement, Trump “refused to denounce … and even retweeted” such expressions.

The statement was written by David Biale, Jewish history professor at U.C. Davis, and began circulating on Nov. 11. It was edited by Hasia Diner of NYU and David Myers at UCLA.

“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 last week in New York. “I said, ‘Don’t you think people in the field should make a statement?’ ”

Twelve Bay Area Jewish historians signed the statement, including Marc Dollinger of San Francisco State University, who said he usually believes it’s inappropriate to sign petitions or bring politics into his classroom.

“This broke the rule,” he told J. “I’m doing this because I have an obligation as a Jewish American historian to bear witness as this primary source historical document is created before me.”

Other local signatories include Diane Wolf and Sven-Erik Rose of U.C. Davis, Rachel Deblinger, Aron Rodrigue and Steven Zipperstein of Stanford University, Alma Heckman and Nathaniel Deutsch of U.C. Santa Cruz, Eran Kaplan of SFSU and John Efron and Laurie Pearce of U.C. Berkeley. — sue fishkoff

Sue Fishkoff

Sue Fishkoff is the editor emerita of J. She can be reached at [email protected].