Pushing Hatred Out of the Civic Mainstream

Inside Leadership

Pushing Hatred Out of the Civic Mainstream

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner's Remarks at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Post-Election Press Conference

Throughout the history of the Reform Jewish Movement, we have joined across lines of difference, building coalitions across race, class and faith, in the pursuit of justice for everyone. We lift up all people: Jews and non-Jews, people of all races and religions, of all sexual orientations and the immigrants among us.

This election once again brought anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny to the foreground of American politics and, it is up to us to push them out of the mainstream of our civic life.

Campaign speeches and ads included anti-Semitic allusions and harassment of Jewish Americans spiked online, with billions of impressions of hateful tweets and posts.

The Reform Jewish Movement stands shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We emphatically reject the scapegoating and fearmongering that they have unjustly experienced. We remain as committed as ever to welcoming refugees and defending freedom of all people to worship.

We are undeterred in our pursuit of racial justice. In this election, we focused on nonpartisan election protection, and seeking to fight voter suppression laws that targeted the African American community with “surgical precision.” We will continue to work for criminal justice reform, because mass incarceration truly is the new Jim Crow.

In the face of polarization, we will build bridges. We will be a religious movement of resistance; we will resist the hatred against women, minorities, Muslims and Jews that this election has exposed.  And we will resist the politics of division, bigotry and hate.

If the president-elect changes his tone and uses the presidency to bring people together, we will be ready to work with him for the common good. If he does not, we also stand ready to be fierce advocates for the enduring values that guide us: inclusivity, justice and compassion.  

Do justice love mercy walk humbly with God.

Support the Religious Action Center to ensure we can continue our critical work to resist hatred, division, and bigotry, and help create a world of wholeness, compassion, and peace.

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Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner represents the Reform Movement to Congress and the administration as the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He also serves as the senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America, he has been an inspirational leader, creative entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for social justice.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
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