Trump’s Racist Incitement Must Be Fought — Without Equivocation or Excuse

July 15, 2019

J Street is appalled by the ongoing torrent of racist incitement that President Trump continues to direct against progressive women of color in Congress.

Given the president’s long history of promoting bigotry and xenophobia in his rhetoric and policies, this latest outburst comes as little surprise. Yet by telling elected representatives to “go back where they came from,” he has sunk to a disgraceful new low of extremism and shown contempt for the very essence of democracy and equality in the United States.

The xenophobic policies and ideology of the Trump administration — including their imprisonment and abuse of migrant families at our southern border — represent a massive threat to the safety and security of all minorities in this country, including the Jewish community. As a movement that represents the pro-Israel, pro-peace majority of American Jews, we are outraged that the president and his allies continue to smear progressive Democrats with false accusations of anti-Semitism and to use “support for Israel” as a shield with which to obscure and justify their own bigotry.

We refuse to allow the real threat of anti-Semitism to be weaponized and exploited by those who themselves share a large part of the responsibility for the rise of white nationalist and anti-Semitic violence in this country. We refuse to allow false “anti-Israel” charges to silence important debate over US foreign policy conflict and legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.

It is outrageous that the overwhelming majority of Republican leaders, members of Congress and organizations — including the Republican Jewish Coalition — have either failed to condemn the president’s words, actively excused them or enthusiastically echoed them. Prominent GOP figures like Senator Lindsey Graham have normalized the president’s incitement today by similarly demonizing congressional women of color and other Democratic figures in the most vitriolic terms.

At a time when many of the core values and norms of American democracy are under threat, we cannot equivocate or hesitate to challenge the forces of hate, even — and especially — when these forces cloak themselves in the authority of the White House. We must call them out clearly and do all that we can to defeat them.