Jewish Federations urge for immediate release of Evan Gershkovich

At webinar attended by 500 individuals, Federations launch sign-on letter urging Secretary Blinken to use all available tools to secure the release of detained reporter 

Jewish Federations of North America are calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do everything in his power to bring detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich home.  A sign-on letter that will be sent to Secretary Blinken was launched during a webinar hosted Monday afternoon by Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the local Jewish Federations in Evan’s home state of New Jersey.

“While this case presents the broad policy implications of a foreign government detaining a United States journalist, on what we understand from your statements are groundless charges, for us, this is personal,” the letter states. “Evan and his family are members of our American Jewish community. We are very concerned about Evan’s wellbeing, particularly given the record of Russian detention of Americans in various cases for months and years.”

The letter acknowledges the efforts of Secretary Blinken to secure Evan’s release, as well as the White House and bi-partisan congressional support. “Our community stands ready to fully support you and your colleagues in our government and again urges you to use all available tools to bring Evan home as soon as possible,” the letter continues.

Speakers on the webinar included Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists Jodie Ginsberg, Washington Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal Paul Beckett and Jewish Federation leaders.

“As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I know how ruthless and brutal Putin's regime is and so do Evan’s parents,” Senator Bob Mendez said. “I know that Ella and Michael came to this country fleeing the Soviet Union, a country that persecuted at that time Russian Jews. Their families survived the Holocaust and the Stalin persecution and came to America in search of a better life for them and for their children. And they raised a son, not only with an understanding of where he came from, but with a desire to uncover the truth. And that's what he did. He sought out and told the truth to Russia and to the world.”

“I can only say again, how urgent it is that all of us in the Jewish community continue our advocacy on behalf of Evan,” Jewish Federations of North America President & CEO Eric Fingerhut added. “We certainly owe this to his family. We owe it to our New Jersey Jewish community. And of course, we owe it to the cause of free press and openness in the world. We all understand the impact of the growing oppression in Russia on the world and certainly on the Jewish community.”

Paul Beckett of the Wall Street Journal noted that Russian officials pay close attention to the reaction of the global Jewish community and that these voices “make a difference.” He also addressed questions on how to support Gershkovich and his family from a distance. He encouraged individuals to visit the Wall Street Journal to read Evan’s articles, send him a message and learn about ways to support him on social media.

Jodie Ginsberg of the Committee to Protect Journalists said that Gershkovich is receiving communications and that these messages are “an incredible morale boost.” She also stressed the importance of continuing to push for the release of Gershkovich and of keeping this issue in the public eye, emphasizing that these actions are effective and do matter.   

To sign on to the letter, please complete this form.