Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s proposal to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods in the United States to stop them from becoming radicalized is morally abhorrent as well as dangerously foolish.
We agree with J. Peter Donald, communications director for the New York Police Department, who described Cruz’s comments as an “incendiary, foolish statement” and pointed out that almost one thousand Muslims risk their lives every day protecting fellow citizens as proud members of the NYPD.
Muslims play a tremendously positive role in every aspect of American life. In singling Muslims out as an enemy class deserving of unequal and menacing treatment at government hands, Cruz’s proposal seeks to fix something which is not broken — and in fact to break it.
The proposal, quickly echoed and endorsed by Cruz’s rival Donald Trump, shows how the contest for the Republican presidential nomination has gone far beyond the bounds of decency and previously accepted political discourse in this nation. These two candidates have openly and unapologetically wrapped themselves in a mantle of racism. We utterly reject their hateful statements and call on all responsible Republicans and other public figures to do the same.
These candidates have no qualms about resorting to demagoguery and scapegoating an entire peace-loving community regardless of the consequences. They have brought a new, vile and dangerous tone to the debate, cynically playing on the anxieties of voters struggling to stay afloat in a difficult economy and fearful of violent developments in an uncertain world. There are horrible echoes in these words of the infamous internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
American Jews can play an important role in resisting the calls of Cruz, Trump and their ilk by reminding our fellow citizens of our shared ethical heritage which calls for welcoming strangers and treating them with love and respect.