Creates Needless Conflict with Mexico and North American Jewry on Immigration and Refugee Policy
(January 30, 2017) Ameinu, North America’s largest progressive Zionist movement, released the following statement today denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unacceptable Twitter intervention into the debate over President Trump’s massive U.S.-Mexico border wall:
“For more than 113 years, labor and progressive Zionists in the United States have fought for a secure, just and peaceful Jewish State that maintains close, non-partisan, relations with the United States, the international community, as well as with Jews worldwide. Last Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took it upon himself to weigh in on a contentious issue between the governments and peoples of the U.S. and Mexico. With one tweet he created both an international incident and deepened discord between Israel and North American Jewry. The Prime Minister’s ill-conceived and foolish action was taken simply to ingratiate himself with the new Republican President of the United States.
While good relations with the new Administration is an important goal for any Israeli government, Netanyahu’s tweet of enthusiastic support for the highly controversial wall between the U.S. and Mexico — a project that is expected to cost $15 billion or more for U.S. taxpayers — was unnecessary, deeply partisan and harmful to Israel’s and the Jewish community’s interests.
Ameinu is particularly alarmed that Netanyahu weighed in on U.S. immigration policy just as President Trump was issuing restrictive and discriminatory executive orders targeting refugees, immigrants and sanctuary cities. Ameinu, and Jews throughout the US, have risen in protest and taken to the streets over the Trump Administration’s intentional conflation of immigration reform and counter-terrorism. Additionally, the government of Mexico, which has demanded an apology from Israel, and the Mexican Jewish community, have raised similar alarm over the proposed wall and the Israeli Prime Minister’s irresponsible tweeting.
Israel will always have the right to act decisively when its existential interests are threatened. This is definitely not one of those cases. To counteract the will of the vast majority of U.S. and Mexican Jews, and to undermine the bi-partisan consensus supporting Israel, simply to score political points, violates the trust that world Jewry places in the leadership of the State of Israel. These interventions must end immediately to reassure U.S. and Mexican Jews that Israel will not heedlessly undermine our domestic positions. Moreover, the Netanyahu government must apologize to the government of Mexico for its thoughtless intervention on matters that are not Israel’s business to address.
In closing, beyond the political impropriety of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments on the US-Mexico border wall, Ameinu reiterates that we stand with refugees denied protection in the United States, and oppose discriminatory immigration policies that would ban, in whole or in part, immigrants based on their religious faith. Likewise, Ameinu remains deeply concerned that Israel’s fence, not wall, along its southern border blocks the admission of desperate refugees fleeing persecution in Eritrea, Sudan and elsewhere, as well as vicious treatment by the military and police authorities in Egypt. Remembering as the Torah teaches, “we were strangers in the land of Egypt,” Ameinu will never cease to fight to protect vulnerable migrants whether they are seeking security and hope in the U.S., Israel or other parts of the world.”
For More Information Contact: Gideon Aronoff, C.E.O Ameinu, email@example.com