Mexican immigrants are looking to an unlikely model in their fight to push back against attacks by Donald Trump: Jews.
Leaders of the Hispanic community are stepping up ties with Jewish groups, which they view as a potential paradigm for increasing their influence and political heft, especially as they have come under withering attack by the Republican presidential candidate.
“The Mexican community needs to polish its image to the point that “there has to be some sort of cost if you attack Mexico or Mexican Americans,” Dina Siegel Vann, who is Mexican-American and Jewish and an official at the American Jewish Committee, told Politico. “The moment that there’s attacks, that Mexicans are called rapists, there has to be some sort of national outrage.”
The growing ties come as Mexico’s government pursues a public relations campaign designed to convince America that its southern neighbor is an indispensible partner — like Israel.
The AJC has been a key partner in the Mexican diaspora’s surging interest in political activism, a push that dovetails with its own interest in increasing Latin American outreach.
There are of course huge differences betweeen Mexicans and Jews in America. There are about 6 million Jews and more than 33 million Mexicans in the U.S. But most Jews have been here for several generations, speak English and have legal status. They also have significant experience navigating the American political system.
Mexican immigrants, on the other hand, are newcomers with major economic, political and cultural hurdles to overcome.
The budding partnership is driven by Trump’s harsh attacks on Mexicans, whom he has branded “rapists” and criminals, and his vow to build a border wall to block illegal immigration. He drew more fire when he questioned the fairness of a federal judge who happens to be of Mexican descent.