Rabbis cancel annual call with Trump over his Charlottesville response

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2017. PlayAlex Brandon/AP
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A coalition of major rabbinical groups has said it will not hold an annual conference call with the president because of how Donald Trump responded to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

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“We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year,” the groups wrote in a letter released on Wednesday.

“The President's words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia,” the groups said.

The rabbinical groups -- which include the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism -- hold the call every year for presidents to discuss the Jewish high holidays. The holiest days on the Jewish calendar begin with Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 20 and continue through mid-October.

The call was held annually throughout the Obama administration and the coalition had planned to hold the call up until last week, according to The Washington Post.

The group's statement comes after Trump said both sides were to blame for the violence that occurred at white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in mid-August -- which left one dead and 19 injured after a car-ramming attack.

“Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazi, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community,” the groups said in their statement Wednesday.

"We pray that President Trump will recognize and remedy the grave error he has made in abetting the voices of hatred," they added.