(JTA) — Twenty faith groups — many of them Jewish — called on members of Congress to “stop weaponizing anti-Semitism” and said the issue should not be used to attack politicians from the other side of the aisle.
In a letter sent Thursday, the organizations said they were concerned “about the use of anti-Semitism for partisan purposes as well as the use of Holocaust and Nazi comparisons to disparage political opponents.” The signers included groups representing the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox denominations.
The letter directly referred to an incident last month when Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., quoted from Hitler’s 1925 book “Mein Kampf” on the House floor, comparing present-day Democrats with members of the Nazi Party.
“We welcome bipartisan efforts aimed at combating anti-Semitism,” the letter says. “However, much of the recent rhetoric and political maneuvering on the issue seems cynically focused on showing that one party cares more about anti-Jewish bigotry than the other.”
Organized by the Interfaith Alliance, the letter also was signed by a number of Jewish groups including Hadassah, HIAS and J Street. The Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Washington National Cathedral also signed.
It invoked October’s shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in which a gunman killed 11 worshippers.
“Last year’s horrifying massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, carried out by a professed white supremacist, should be a stark reminder that we need our political leaders to be uncompromising in calling out anti-Semitism and bringing our country together,” the letter reads.
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.
Faith Orgs: Congress, Stop Weaponizing Anti-Semitism