Los Angeles-area Jewish leaders have started a coalition in response to President Trump‘s executive actions on immigration and refugees.
More than 1,800 Jewish people — including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Atty. Mike Feuer and City Controller Ron Galperin — signed a statement calling for the creation of Jews United for Justice and Democracy.
The group “is deeply concerned about rising threats to religious tolerance, equal rights, a free and fair press, human dignity, and long-held norms of decency and civil society,” according to the statement. “We will speak out and take action when our shared Jewish values require us to counter those threats.”
The coalition gathered the signatures last weekend from more than 110 clergy members, L.A. County’s entire state legislative Jewish delegation, seven current and former members of Congress, and 60 current and former elected and appointed officials.
The group’s focus is on three guiding principles: America is a nation of laws, of immigrants and “aspires to equality, respect and justice for all people.”
Zev Yaroslavsky, a former L.A. County supervisor and one of the six members of the group’s organizing committee, said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the coalition. He said the group will stand by refugees fleeing oppression as well as immigrants in the United States who “tonight as they go to sleep fear a knock on the door.”
“This is something the Jewish community wants to speak out on,” Yaroslavsky said. “It speaks to a thirst in our community to stand up and not be silent. We know what the costs are of remaining silent.”
While the effort to form the coalition was undertaken before the recent desecration of Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats to Jewish centers in L.A. and other cities, those issues are also concerning, he said.
“This is part of the atmosphere that is plaguing our nation right now,” Yaroslavsky said.