As rabbis across the state of Minnesota, we are dismayed at the vitriolic language being used by President Trump, and many in our own community, to suggest that Rep. Ilhan Omar should “go back to where she came from.” This type of language has been used against Jews on many occasions to suggest that we were unequal, or even illegitimate citizens in the countries we have lived, worked, served, and loved. When we hear this language used today against other minorities, and especially refugees, we have a responsibility to stand by their side in support of their right to live and serve our amazing country with respect and equality.
To be sure, we also have a responsibility to engage our elected officials around issues we care about. We each do this work in different ways, and many of us have been in dialogue with Rep. Omar for many years, often expressing profound disagreement and disappointment. It is not only possible, but critical, that we not give up on our ideals and values in the face of someone who may hold a different opinion or belief.
We are concerned by recent comments made against some members of our own Minnesota Rabbinic community and stand united in our support for one another as we each engage respectfully in civic life.
Rabbi Kassel Abelson, Rabbi Esther Adler, Rabbi Morris Allen, Rabbi Samuel Barth, Rabbi Shalom Resnick Bell, Rabbi Jill Crimmings, Rabbi Barry Cytron, Rabbi Alexander Davis, Rabbi Max Davis, Rabbi Ryan Dulkin, Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, Rabbi Joseph Edelheit, Rabbi Jeremy Fine, Rabbi Jennifer Hartman, Rabbi Sim Glaser, Rabbi Yosi Gordon, Rabbi Tamar Grimm, Rabbi Hayim Herring, Rabbi Harold Kravitz, Rabbi Jason Klein, Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, Rabbi Arielle Lekach-Rosenberg, Rabbi Lynn C. Liberman, Rabbi David Locketz, Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein, Rabbi Tobias Divack Moss, Rabbi Cathy Nemiroff, Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman, Rabbi Avi Olitzky, Rabbi Debra Rappaport, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi David Steinberg, Rabbi Sharon Stiefel, Rabbi David Thomas, Rabbi Heidi Waldmann, Rabbi Aaron Weininger, Rabbi Michelle Werner, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman
I believe it is unwise to ignore Omar’s comments and passively tolerate her attacks. What the president does is different than what we should do in the case of blatant antisemetic remarks that go unsanctioned. This president would never learn by a more polite response. The president is temporary. Our passive behavior in Germany did not end well, even though we were more civilized.