Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted a series of reckless, graphic and debunked anti-Muslim videos, originally shared by a virulent hate leader from the UK. This was just the latest in a seemingly endless stream of bigotry from this administration that was denounced by the British Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by us – Jewish and Muslim leaders. With laws and border walls and fear, the president is openly trying to divide us. To defeat these efforts, we must unite instead.
For us, this means unfailing solidarity between our two communities. The ties between us, with an already long and proud history, are growing even stronger. In the Trump era, we face different but related threats. That’s why we’re taking action, together.
— The Verge (@verge) December 1, 2017
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) December 1, 2017
For American Muslims, the danger to their community is imminent and real, as both the politics and the rhetoric of this government target them explicitly. They face violence in their neighborhoods, discrimination in the public square, and hostile rhetoric from top government officials and anti-Muslim and white supremacist hate groups.
For Jews, this pattern is familiar. They understand the painful history of the ‘America First’ worldview that Trump advocates. They remember how the same rhetoric Trump uses against Muslims, was once used to deny those fleeing the Holocaust a place of refuge in the U.S. But they also know that anti-Semitism is alive and well even today. When neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates marched openly and proudly in the streets of Charlottesville, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” it was a harrowing reminder that anti-Semitism remains a potent force and is inseparable from white supremacy.
We also recognize the sharply different reactions by the President and his supporters to violence committed by these white supremacists and heinous acts committed by those claiming to represent Islam, like the perpetrator of the Manhattan truck attack. After Charlottesville, Trump shrugged off the event and praised neo-Nazis and white nationalists as “very fine people.” But in the case of Manhattan, the president immediately seized on the attack to demonize all non-white immigrants, calling for the end to a diversity visa program and renewing his support for unconstitutional “extreme vetting.”
There’s only one explanation for this behavior: The white supremacist hatred that runs through Trump’s agenda. Jews and Muslims wholeheartedly reject the radical, dangerous worldview that Trump espouses and represents. And we are committed to resisting it, inspired by our shared values: A commitment to protecting the rights of racial and religious minorities, a belief in the strength of a diverse nation, and the eradication of all forms of bigotry and injustice.
But this is more than a question of values; it’s a question of survival. Our communities are working together because we know that, divided, we’d be picked off one by one. Only together can we turn back the common threats we face.
The solidarity between Jews and Muslims has already led to important victories and successes. We are inspired by the Jews and Muslims who recently called on mayors to condemn the anti-Muslim hate rallies organized this summer by Act for America, the largest anti-Muslim hate group that does not act in the interest of America at all.
We’ve also seen successful efforts by activists nationwide to oust Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka–champions and apologists for white supremacy, anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Semitism—from their positions in the White House.
There are countless other example of Jews and Muslims working together: The thousands of American Muslims who raised $140,000 in just a few days to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery; the hundreds of activists, lawyers and concerned citizens—Jewish, Muslim and otherwise—who rushed to airports to welcome and support our Muslim brothers and sisters after Trump’s announcement of the first ‘Muslim ban’; and the legal organizations—including Muslim Advocates—who have filed legal challenges to the ban, supported by amicus briefs from Jewish groups.
Jews and Muslims share a common vision for America’s future: A nation free of bigotry and safe for all races, religions and creeds, a nation that protects the vulnerable and lives up to its highest ideals. The white supremacist worldview advocated by Trump and his allies is potent, dangerous and represents an existential threat to these goals. To defeat Trump’s agenda and realize our shared purpose, we must work together, support each other, and speak out against all forms of hatred and bigotry. How we act will determine whether our country remains a symbol of hope and freedom for the next generation, or if it succumbs to Trump’s hateful, radical vision.