Standing Tall for Our Values

August 2, 2010

UPDATE: In under 24 hours, we collected over 10,000 signatures in
support of religious freedom!  J Street delivered the signatures to the
Landmarks Preservation Commission ahead of its crucial vote on the
Cordoba House – and we were pleased to see that the commission
unanimously voted in favor of the project’s construction.

Appalled by the opposition to plans by American Muslims to build a community center in lower Manhattan modeled after Jewish Community Centers (JCC’s) and Y’s all over the country, J Street is collecting petitions in support of religious freedom and against anti-Muslim bigotry.

American and Jewish heritage are both grounded in a strong belief in equality, justice, and religious freedom. If freedom can be denied to a single person because of who they are, it can happen to anyone of us.

Jeffrey Goldberg calls the campaign against the project a “terrible mistake.” [1] The project has the support of Mayor Bloomberg, the Manhattan borough president, and the local community board, as well as members of the JCC board and leaders of the New York Jewish community. [2]

Mayor Bloomberg got it exactly right when he said, “What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us? Democracy is stronger than this. And for us to just say no is just, I think – not appropriate is a nice way to phrase it.” [3]

In the battle against violent extremism, core democratic values like respect for minorities and freedom of religion can be potent weapons in ensuring security and advancing tolerance and understanding. Now is the time to stand in support of those core values.

[1]”Peace-Seeking Muslims Should Refudiate Sarah Palin,” by Jeffrey Goldberg. The Atlantic, July 19, 2010.

[2]”Debate Heats Up About Mosque Near Ground Zero,” by Michael Barbaro. The New York Times, July 30, 2010.

[3] ibid.