An open letter from Jewish donors and Jews in Philanthropy

"As Jews who work in philanthropy, we are moved to write an open letter at this moment for two reasons..."

First, we feel compelled to call upon our colleagues in philanthropy to cease the harmful practice of withdrawing funding for and/or delaying payments to organizations that speak up for the lives and safety of the Palestinian people. Second, we wish to correct the increasingly common misperception that Jews in philanthropy are uniformly aligned behind the false binary of Jewish versus Palestinian safety. The values of tzedek, tikkun olam, and a deep historical belief in open debate – all values we have been taught by our families, our communities, our ancestors, our synagogues, and our Torah – are what motivate us to speak out against these harmful practices and misperceptions. These are the same values that have called us to work in philanthropy and to support movements that seek liberation for all. 

As funders and as Jews, we have watched with increasing alarm over the past few months as our peers in philanthropy–many of whom espouse values of democracy, justice, listening, learning, and respecting the leadership and autonomy of their grantees–have issued threats, delayed funding, or withdrawn funding to organizations doing essential work at this moment in history, simply because those organizations have dared to criticize Israel’s policies, call Israel’s attacks a genocide, or even call for a ceasefire. We have also seen a dramatic ramping up of efforts in philanthropy to marginalize, discredit, and censor voices – including Jewish voices – that dissent from certain orthodoxies. It is not lost on us that the majority of the organizations that have lost funding as a result of their solidarity with Palestinian liberation are BIPOC-led, youth-led, and/or based in the Global South. Several of the groups that donors have sought to silence and/or punish are intermediary groups and public foundations–groups that play a critical role in our shared philanthropic ecosystem by providing financial and technical support to smaller, more nascent organizations that do not have direct access to consistent funding sources. Withdrawing funds from those groups has a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem we have worked so hard to nourish, punishing those doing life-saving work in exceptionally vulnerable communities and contexts.

A common claim being used to silence and defund organizations in this time is the notion that their words in support of Palestinian liberation are in fact expressions of antisemitism. As Jews who take seriously the very real and frightening rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of racism and bigotry in this period in history, this claim is particularly upsetting to us. The truth is that Jews have long argued over strategies for achieving Jewish safety and the relationship between Jewish safety and Jewish statehood. Attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, and claims that any criticism of the state of Israel’s policies or actions constitutes antisemitic hate speech, are practices that take us down an extraordinarily dangerous path at a historical moment when we should be building bridges to preserve democracy and fight authoritarian tendencies in the US and around the world. Rather than championing free speech, open debate, thoughtful dialogue, and political and analytical discernment, we see some colleagues in philanthropy using intimidation and punishment to silence those with whom they disagree, issuing gag rules or ultimatums, and otherwise aligning themselves with policies, practices, and actors that are antithetical to the values we espouse as Jews and as progressive donors.

As Jews, we know in our bones that fighting antisemitism and building Jewish safety depend on mobilizing a broad cross-section of people to defend inclusive, multiracial, multifaith democracies and to hold governments to account for their mistreatment of citizens, migrants, and indigenous peoples. They depend on resisting attempts to divide neighbor from neighbor through division and hate. They depend on doing the hard work of staying connected even while in disagreement. They depend on addressing the ways in which structural racism continues to disempower people of color, including Jews of color. And they depend on supporting organizations that combat antisemitism without fanning the flames of racism and Islamophobia, since antisemitism cannot be eradicated in a world where other prejudices thrive. 

These strategies cannot take root when we refuse to acknowledge the interconnectedness of our struggles, and when we weaponize our fear and trauma to silence opinions that make us uncomfortable or even simply invite us to reflect. As progressive donors, we cannot divorce one people’s fight for liberation, safety, and self-determination from another’s. We cannot call for the liberation of women, LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, disabled, BIPOC, and Global South majority peoples without calling for the same for all people – including Palestinians. The current defunding and censoring of organizations and movements working or speaking out for Palestinian liberation has served to undermine, discredit, and fracture multiracial movements at a time when these movements are needed more than ever. We are concerned that this trend will expand, increasing the polarization that fuels hatred, undermining painstaking work to build bridges across communities, missing an opportunity to deepen the nonprofit sector’s understanding of antisemitism, and in the end, making it harder to build thriving communities – including Jewish communities–that honor diverse perspectives.

As Jews, we have had to fight for our right to exist, to gather, and to practice our religion and traditions since the beginning of our existence. Today, we see the Palestinian people being forced to fight for their very survival and being pushed into exile as we were and we cannot be complicit as Palestinians face the same fate as ourselves, our relatives, and our ancestors. We will not let our faith be used as an excuse to silence the voices of progressive activists, and particularly BIPOC and Global South movements, that see deep linkages between their own struggles for liberation and the struggles of the Palestinian people. We understand our own history as one of struggle for survival, and we will not let our history be used to reject the freedom and safety of others. We invite our Jewish colleagues in philanthropy to join us in building a different future together. Specifically, we invite you to cease the harmful practice of cutting off funding to groups that express solidarity with Palestinian liberation and/or criticize the state of Israel’s policies. We invite you to recommit instead to democratic forms of debate: conversation, learning, curiosity, and the struggle for mutual understanding amidst disagreement. We offer our support and allyship to all those who are grappling at this time, and we recommit to building the world we all deserve–a world stronger, braver, and more whole than the one we all inherited.

With great hope!


Aaron  Chandler
Abby Q Goodman
Adam Roberts
AJ Aaron
Alana Zalas
Alex Grossman
Alexis Ortiz
Alissa Hauser
Alissa Schwartz
Alli Jernow
Amy Bisno
Amy Laura Cahn
Amy Leichtman
Amy Mandel
Andrea Lynch
Anna Goren
Anna Lefer Kuhn
Annie Berdy
Anya Rous
Avi Smolen
Aviva Jobin-Leeds
Barbara B. Dobkin
Barbra Wiener
Benjamin Billingsley
Benjamin Canyon
Bennett Lindenbaum
Beth Jacobs
Beth Zemsky
Bill Resnick
Billy Wimsatt
Bri Barnett
Bryan Perlmutter
Cara Romanik
Carla Mays
Carly Kol
Carol Hutner Winograd MD
Caroline Heller
Carrie Golden
Casey Therrien
Chana Fitton
Charna Gord
Cody Edgerly
Dan Marion
Daniel Levy
Dara Silverman
David Mele
Deborah Kalin
Deborah Sagner
Deirdre Judge
Diane Jordan Wexler
Dorianna Blitt
Dr. Susan M. Blaustein
Eileen Farbman
Eleanor Friedman
Elizabeth Levine
Ellen Epstein
Ellen Friedman
Elyse Gordon
Emily Forhman
Emily Saunders
Emma Liss
Emmaia Gelman
Ezra Nepon
Gabriel Hirschhorn
Gabriela Kaplan
Gabriella Zimbalist
Gabrielle Strong
Garrett Neiman
Ginna Green
Grant Goodman
Greg Jobin-Leeds
Greg Regaignon
Hallie Boas
Harold Erdman
Hayley  Smith

Heather Benjamin
Ilise Cohen
Iris Brilliant
Isaac Lev Szmonko
Iva Kaufman
Jackson Koeppel
Jacqueline Mann
Jacques Servin
James E Mann
Jane Segal
Jean K. Ries
Jeannie Blaustein
Jen Bokoff
Jennifer Redner
Jess Bendit
Jessica Bearman
Jessie Spector
Jeyn Levison
Joanna Ware
Joe Goldman
John S. Berman
Jonathan Rosenthal
Jordan Goldwarg
Jordan Mann
Joshua Mailman
Judith Bell
Judy Somberg
Judy Weiss
Julia Greenberg
Julia Von Alexander
Julianne Gale
Julie Dorf
Justine Epstein
Kathleen Peratis
Katie Unger
Kellea Miller
Kevin Simowitz
Kira Felsenfeld
Kristen Kendrick
Lara Friedman
Laura Horwitz
Laura Saunders
Laura Somoggi
Laura Wasserman
Lauren Tatarsky
Laurie Emrich
Laurie Schecter
Leah Varsano
Lena Cole
Leo Farbman
Leo Freeman
Liana Krupp
Lisa Baskin
Lisa Cowan
Lisa Jacobson
Livia Bokor
Liza Behrendt
Liza Siegler
Mac Liman
Mae Fuchs
Maia Ettinger
Margaret Fulton
Margery Goldman
Maria Chertok
Maria Rogers Pascual
Marissa Lapedis
Marjorie Fine
Matthew Lindenbaum
Maureen Greenwood-Basken
Maya Berkowitz
Maya Rachel Clifford
Megan Fenkell
Melissa Extein
Melissa  Rudnick
Michael Gast

Michael Ilan Loeb
Michele Silver
Mike Amitay
Miriam Eisenstat
Molly Gochman
Molly Schulman
Molly Schultz Hafid
Nadav David
Nancy Bernstein
Naomi Roswell
Naomi Sobel
Natalie Bamdad
Ned Rosch
Nikki Morse
Noa Mohlabane
Owen Berson
Pam Kohlberg
Patrice Aaron
Paul A. Beck
Peggy Curchack
Peter Beinart
Phyllis Wiener
Rabbi Becky Silverstein
Rachel Bodnar
Rachel Dobkin
Rachel Gelman
Radha Friedman
Raviva Hanser
Rebecca Ennen
Rebecca Fox
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Rebecca Wisotsky
Rena Greifinger
Richard Katzenberg
Risa Tatarsky
Robbie Solway
Robert Evan Heeger
Robert Warren
Robin Katcher
Rosa Bransky
Rosalind Joffe
Rose Green
Rusty Stahl
Ruth E. Levine
Ruth Goldman
Rye Young
Sam Vinal
Sarah Anne Minkin
Sarah From
Sarah Gunther
Sarah Mele
Sarah Perlmeter
Sarah Strnad
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser
Sera Bonds, MPH
Seth Morrison
Shannon Clark
Shari Silberstein
Shay Berkowitz
Sophie P. Dover
Stephanie Roth
Stosh Cotler
Susan Adelman
Susan Bernstein
Susan Roth
Suzann Madeley
Tai Jacob
Tamir Novotny
Tema Okun
Terry Greenblatt
Timi Gerson
Victoria Wigodzky
Yamila Saiegh
Yifat Susskind

The signatories represent a wide range of philanthropic institutions and fall in the following categories:


are staff staff at a foundation, fund, or philanthropy-serving organization


are major donors


are foundation board members


are consultants or donor-advisors


serve in other capacities