More Than 20 Religious, Faith-Based Organizations Call On Congress To Stop Weaponizing Anti-Semitism For Political Purposes

Categories: Letters From Leadership

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader, United States Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer Minority Leader, United States Senate

322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

1236 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer

Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

1705 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

2468 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

To Congressional Leadership,

We, a coalition of national communities of faith, write to express our deep concern about the use of anti-Semitism for partisan purposes as well as the use of Holocaust and Nazi comparisons to disparage political opponents.

 

Anti-Semitism has a long and dangerous history. Successful efforts to combat it have been rooted in interfaith and bipartisan action. We are distressed to now see anti-Semitism being used as a wedge issue. At the same time, we are also concerned by members of Congress using references to the Holocaust and Nazis to demonize the opposition. Most recently, one member of Congress quoted directly from Mein Kampf on the floor of the House of Representatives in his effort to criticize the other side of the political aisle. Such behavior is deeply offensive and ultimately harmful to our democracy.

 

We welcome bipartisan efforts aimed at combating anti-Semitism. However, much of the recent rhetoric and political maneuvering on the issue seems cynically focused on showing that one party cares more about anti-Jewish bigotry than the other. This political theater is not only counter-productive, but endangers the very people such advocates claim to defend.

 

Anti-Semitism has a significant impact on the lives of American Jews, contributing to a culture in which Jews are afraid to openly express their faith. In a nation founded by those seeking religious freedom, we cannot allow this phenomenon to become normalized. Any solution to the rising trend of anti-Semitism must include Democrats, Republicans and Independents working together. Last year, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum warned, “As the Holocaust recedes in time, some Americans (and Europeans) are becoming increasingly casual and disrespectful to the mass murder of millions.” The United States Congress should not add to that problem.

 

Last year’s horrifying massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, carried out by a professed white supremacist, should be a stark reminder that we need our political leaders to be uncompromising in calling out anti-Semitism and bringing our country together. We also expect you to show the same vigilance in confronting bigotry targeting other minority faith communities. Only by working together can we live up to the highest aspirations of our nation, founded in principles of religious liberty and tolerance for all.

 

We must all strive to do better. Please join us in calling on your colleagues to stop using anti-Semitism and accusations of hate to win votes and seek political advantage.

 

Respectfully,

 

Interfaith Alliance

Ameinu

Americans for Peace Now

American Jewish World Service

Anti-Defamation League

Central Conference of American Rabbis

Faith in Action

Habonim Dror North America

Hadassah

HIAS

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jewish Labor Committee

J Street

Keshet

Muslim Public Affairs Council

The Rabbinical Assembly

Reconstructing Judaism

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Union for Reform Judaism

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Uri L’Tzedek

Washington National Cathedral

 

 

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