Letter to President Biden

View as PDF: Letter to Biden 08-07-2023

President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Biden,

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to upholding democracy and for your considerable efforts to deter Prime Minister Netanyahu from proceeding with the judicial overhaul In Israel. Your expressions of concern for Israel’s democracy and your frank criticisms of the Israeli government’s campaign to weaken the country’s judiciary has helped buoy the popular opposition to this alarming democratic backsliding. 

Sadly, we must acknowledge that warnings from the United States did not ultimately prevent the Israeli government from acting on this agenda. As a result, we now find ourselves at a critical juncture where further actions are necessary to safeguard the democratic values the US -Israel relationship is founded upon.

As American Jewish leaders who care deeply about Israel and wish to see it fulfilling its founding values of democracy, freedom, justice, and peace, we share your sentiment of deep concern for Israel’s future.

While deeply appreciative of your public expressions of concern, we are urging you to go beyond words and to take decisive action to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.

Mr. President, The current Israeli government’s campaign is so severe and so consequential that it merits a proportionate reaction by Israel’s chief ally, the United States of America.  

Therefore, we believe that the time has come to take concrete action to send a clear message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Going beyond words will make clear to Netanyahu’s government that its actions come with a price. Where there are fewer shared values, the special relationship becomes less special.

It is not our intention to advocate for punitive measures against Israel, neither the state nor the people. Most Israelis oppose their government’s anti-democratic campaign. Hundreds of thousands of them have been protesting the government’s insistence on weakening the Supreme Court, which works to guarantee basic rights and liberties of all Israelis. These patriots deserve praise, not punishment.

While Netanyahu’s government seems oblivious to domestic protest, it justifiably cares about Israel’s relationship with Washington. This relationship is Israel’s chief strategic asset.

To protect Israel's future and its relationship with the United States, we urge you to consider several concrete measures that your administration could take including but not limited to: 

  • Appointing a new Ambassador to Israel immediately, as the gravity of this crisis requires the highest levels of diplomacy
  • Taking steps to reopen a separate US consulate in Jerusalem which would serve the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza
  • Reissuing the US customs guidance on settlement labeling to accurately reflect the distinction between Israel and the West Bank settlements, aligning with longstanding US policy
  • No longer automatically preventing efforts to hold Israel accountable at the United Nations for its settlement activities and human rights violations against Palestinians
  • Ensuring that Israel meets all requirements, including reciprocal treatment for all American citizens, before considering its admission into the Visa Waiver Program
  • Communicating to the Israeli government that the evolving state of Israel's democracy will figure into the deliberations for the upcoming ten-year MOU between the US and Israel
  • Taking efforts to elevate the Palestinian diplomatic mission in the US and foster meaningful engagement with Palestinian diplomats in the US

We firmly believe that taking these specific actions will underscore the United States' commitment to democratic values, human rights, and peace in the region. By leveraging the US-Israel special relationship, we can encourage Israel's government to reevaluate its current trajectory and uphold the founding values of democracy, freedom, justice, and peace.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter, and we stand ready to support any efforts to preserve Israel's democracy and safeguard its future.


Hadar Susskind

James Klutznick

Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Ambassador Alan Solomont

Retired Congressman Alan Lowenthal

Joshua Malina

Mandy Patinkin

William Singer

Marilyn Katz

Alex Soros

Daniel Sokatch

Rabbi Rachel Tiven

Ayelet Waldman

Michael Walzer

Lisa Greer

Michael Chabon

Rabbi Sharon Brous

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Peter Frey

Randi Weingarten

Debra Katz

Nancy Kaufman

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Rabbi Noa Kushner

Rabbi Amichai Lau- Lavie

Peter Weiss

Edward Witten

Dr. Carol Winograd

David Birenbaum

Ernest Bogen

Martin Bresler

Debra DeLee

Dan Fleshler

Aviva Futorian

Larry Gellman

Gili Getz

Rabbi Steve Gutow

Steven Kaplan

Luis Lainer

Libby Lenkinski

Mik Moore

Jo Ann Mort

Kathleen Peratis

Marcie Setlow

Mark Silverberg

Judith Tuller

Rabbi Joshua Chasan

Aliza Mazor           

Rabbi Suzanne Singer

Rabbi Nate DeGroot

Rabbi Matthew Durbin

Rabbi Ora Weiss

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn

Rabbi Nancy Kreimer

Rabbi Jose Rolando Matalon

Rabbi Michael Knopf

Jessica Brown        

Rabbi Laura Geller

Rabbi Guy Austrian

Talia Benamy        

Elana Kahn

Rabbi Nancy Wiener

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb

Ori Nir      

Rabbi Megan Doherty

Ron Skolnik           

Rabbi Bob Gluck

Rabbi Laura Rumpf

Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Rabbi Michelle Dardashti

Rabbi Mira Rivera

Joe Goldman          

Rabbi Felicia Sol

Rabbi Katy Allen

Toby Rubin

Elaine Reuben

Cantor Sam Rosen

Rabbi Laurence Edwards

Daniel Kohl           

Rabbi Doug Alpert

Professor Paul Scham

Rabbi Eric Solomon

Ann Toback           

Rabbi Janie Hodgetts

Marci Gerston        

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Sanford Weiner

Dov Waxman         

Mark Zivin

Rabbi Gerald Serotta

Rabbi Sarah Bracha Gershuny

Judd Miner

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Rabbi Nadya Gross

Daniel Bral

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith

Rabbi Benjamin Ross

Rabbi David Shneyer

Richard M. Goldwasser

Rabbi Edward Bernstein

Rabbi Charna Rosenholtz

Rabbi Susan Goldberg

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson

Rabbi Marc Soloway

Rabbi Becky Silverstein

Rabbi Daniel Zemel

Gen Slosberg         

Benjamin Linder    

Rabbi Michael Lezak

Idit Klein

Jonathan Kopp       

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman

Josh Protas

Rabbi Robin Podolsky

Rabbi Deborah Bronstein

Cantor/Chaplain Michael Zoosman

Rabbi Joseph Wolf

Rabbi David Seidenberg

Aviva Meyer          

Abby Leibman       

Shaina Wasserman 

Melissa Balaban     

Rachel Lerner        

Rabbah Dorothy Richman

Madeleine Cereghino

Rabbi Marisa James

Rabbi Drorah Setel

Rabbi Alana Suskin

Rabbi Daniel Kirzane

Rabbi Nancy Kasten

Karen Paul 

Rabbi Annie Lewis

Rachel Faulkner     

Rabbi Johnathan Slater

Tamar Renaud

Rabbi David Teutsch

Rabbi Matthew Dreffin

Rabbi Laurie Franklin

Kay Berkson          

Shira Danan           

Rabbi Geoffrey Claussen

David Edelman      

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum

Alan Kligerman

Rabbi David Lazar

Dr. Terry Winograd

Sidney Hollander

Rabbi Phyllis Berman

Sara Litt    

Rabbi Jim Morgan

Dr. Rabbi Aryeh Cohen

Rabbi Barbara Penzner

Naama Haviv         

Professor Marilyn Sneiderman

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder

Dr. Howard Sumka

Frank Hornstein

Claude Stern

Rabbi Lew Weiss

Ada Horwich

Rabbi Douglas Krantz

Rabbi Deborah Waxman

Phylisa Wisdom