SOCIETY FOR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM CALLS FOR Increased Government Action Against Hate Crimes
The Society for Humanistic Judaism condemns the rising hate crimes and malicious rhetoric, against immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and other minority groups, which have plagued the United States since the 2016 presidential election. Whether it is the burning of mosques, bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, vandalism to places of worship, children chanting “build that wall” to taunt their peers, Islamophobia, the elevation of white nationalism, or anti-immigrant sentiment and policies, the president as the leader of the nation must not only regularly and forcefully decry any and all hate crimes and rhetoric but also identify ways for this administration to actively counter hate crimes.
Remaining inactive against the rise in hate, whether from the far-left or far-right, is dangerous to the fundamental values that we as Secular Humanistic Jews hold dear. It was unacceptable—and we fear purposely provocative—to issue a White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention the Jewish people. Jews were targeted for extermination to a degree that was epic in its scope, horror, and inhumanity, and to which the word “Holocaust” was specifically applied as a translation of “Shoah,” the Hebrew word for the Nazi genocide of the Jews. It was especially abhorrent when journalists merely ask whether the nation’s leader will condemn the rise in anti-Semitism and the response was to ridicule the journalist, ignore or deflect the question, and/or respond that he personally is not anti-Semitic rather than using the opportunity to educate our citizens.
One statement against anti-Semitism after an unprecedented fourth round of multiple bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers nationwide will not erase over a year of demonizing minority populations for the U.S.’s perceived woes. Now that the campaign is over, we call on this administration to end the scapegoating of minorities and acknowledge that what “makes America great” is not based on any person’s religion, color, or nation of origin. Hate must never be a political tool in a democracy. Democracies thrive on empathy, honesty, evidence, and knowledge. Accordingly, the Society for Humanistic Judaism joins other Jewish groups in urging the president to continually and aggressively condemn the rising growth of hate that is flourishing under his administration and implement actions and policies to reverse the trend.
— February 2017