Top U.S. Reform Judaism Group Rips Trump Over Ban on Travelers From Muslim Countries

Union for Reform Judaism's Rick Jacobs compares executive decision to pro-slavery Supreme Court decision from 19th century, internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington, D.C.
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Reform movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs addresses the group’s Biennial in Orlando, Florida, November 4, 2015.
Reform movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. Credit: Courtesy URJ
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington, D.C.

The Union for Reform Judaism on Saturday released a statement strongly condemning President Donald Trump's executive order banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the organization, which represents a million and a half of Jewish Americans, compared the new policy to the racist and pro-slavery Dred Scott Supreme Court decision from the 19th century and to the confinement of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.

“The executive order signed yesterday by President Trump will be remembered by history together with the Dred Scott decision & the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as governmental actions most antithetical to American values. We will resist its implementation by any means available to us," Jacobs said.

He said the movement will "join legal challenges to the executive order" and "support anyone who refuses to implement the executive order." Jacobs also quoted from the Book of Leviticus, stating that "we have not forgotten our charge: ‘When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’"

The president's controversial executive order received strong condemnations on Friday from other leading Jewish organizations. The American Jewish Committee declared that "blanket suspensions of visas and refugee admission would suggest guilt by association – targeted primarily at Muslims fleeing violence and oppression," adding that this was "both unjust and unwarranted."

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote that "We must stand up to remind the Trump Administration and the world – once we were strangers, too." He added that the executive order and other events from the previous week, "brings back dark echoes of the past."

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