Dear Friends of Jewish World Watch,
In recent weeks, as I’ve stepped up to take the helm of this amazing organization, I have witnessed first-hand the passion inspired by our mission to eliminate genocide and mass Atrocities from our world. Even when at times our task has seemed insurmountable, your commitment has been undiminished. Thousands of you have joined in our work: Our volunteers donate countless hours to educate both children and adults, our donors open their hearts and their wallets, and you all have spoken out to advocate for policy changes on both the national and international levels.
Right now, our commitment to work together could not be more important. Our work as educators and advocates for victims of continuing violence in Sudan and South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Syria cannot relent. We must continue to raise our voices and instruct those who are unaware about the need to stand up to the perpetrators, to fight for a peaceful end to the conflicts.
Why now more than ever? Because with a new administration coming to Washington, D.C., it is our charge to make sure that our issues are on the agendas of the new president and Congress, and to be sure that any divisiveness that has occurred here at home in recent months does not sway attention from the cause. We must ensure that we all are united in calling out for what is right.
Over the past few days, some of you have written to us expressing concern, others expressing gratitude, about an email sent by Mike Brand, our director of Advocacy and Programs, that called out hate speech that occurred during the U.S. Election campaign. We are all too aware that hate speech can lead to violence, and Mike wrote with passion — not as a matter of politics, but rather of policy. Jewish World Watch engages in advocacy, not partisan politics, and for that reason Jewish World Watch did not participate in this conversation until after the election was over and the votes were counted. I am writing here to support Mike’s essential message that hate speech cannot be tolerated, but I also want to share that we firmly recognize that Jewish World Watch can only be effective in our mission if we work in concert with our all of our political leaders. As we have throughout our history, we will continue to reach out across all aisles – be they political, socioeconomic or regional.
As Mike said in his blog post linked to the email, we will work to educate our new leaders “on the root causes and drivers of genocide and mass atrocities, and advocate for policy positions that will improve the U.S. government’s ability to prevent atrocities and respond quicker.”
And as our founder Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis taught, “Goodness is contagious.” Together, we must set the correct tone, even as we reinforce our commitment to speaking truth to power. We will defend our mission in a manner that we hope will be heard — with honesty, kindness and respect for our fellow men and women.
I am hoping that despite the rawness that many are feeling in the wake of such a divided election season, we can view this time of transition to the new administration as an opportunity to restore our ties to one another and to continue our commitment to our work. I can assure you that at Jewish World Watch, we are doubling down on our commitment to combat genocide, to educate the uninitiated on the topic, and to provide support to victims of atrocities abroad through essential on-the-ground programs.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be writing atrocities-prevention policy recommendations and specific actions addressed to the new administration. These recommendations will be shared with you, with President-elect Donald Trump’s advisors, and with members of Congress. We hope you will continue to join us in advocating that genocide and atrocities prevention must be a priority for our country.
We at Jewish World Watch all look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead.
All my best,
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