Following the announcement of Donald Trump’s “travel ban,” which slashed America’s refugee resettlement program and blocked Muslim citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, I felt a rush of pride as I signed the name of Brown Students for Israel, which I was leading at the time, to the Greater Boston Area Jewish “Communal Joint Statement on Immigration and Refugees.” It was a relief to see the major Jewish institutions of my home community, like Boston’s Federation (the Combined Jewish Philanthropies) and the Hillel Council of New England, “reject any effort to shut our nation’s doors on the most vulnerable.” The national Jewish effort was no less impressive.
Indeed, American Jews can take pride in much regarding our role in confronting Islamophobia in this country. There is also, however, room for our community to improve. Now that Muslims in the United States and abroad have become such high-priority targets of the American government, we must be all the more attentive about our attitude toward our Muslim American neighbors. We are at a crossroads—we can choose to allow ourselves to be tools of the new divisive political order, or we can fortify our community against Islamophobia and prepare to resist efforts to play us against Muslims.
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