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A Masorti Response to President Trump’s Travel Ban

By Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Britain last week to express their dismay over President Trump’s travel ban, issued by executive order. Former President Barak Obama was moved to break the principle of not commenting on the policies of his successor, to say that ‘a policy that closes our doors runs counter to core American values of non-discrimination’.

As Jews we have often paid the price of collective discrimination. We cannot be silent when other faiths and nationalities are being forced to pay it today.

While security and constant vigilance are a sad but vital necessity in a world of terror and constant threats, a better future will not ultimately be constructed by more walls, more distrust, more hate and more fear.

It is not enough for us merely to say that we oppose discrimination, wherever we may find it. Without being naïve or simplistic, we need to work to take down the barriers of ignorance, fear and suspicion in our minds, our homes, our communities, our schools and our places of work. We need to strive so that those who harbour prejudices and hatred against us do likewise.

This is the real challenge which will determine the quality of our, and our children’s, future.

February 9, 2017