Resources & Media

Moving new ad from Jewish group on anti-immigrant rhetoric: 'We've heard it before'

Daily Kos
November 2, 2015
David Nir

On Monday night, I flipped on the television in my living room and wandered off to prepare dinner, reducing the TV to mere background noise. But then I heard an advertisement that snapped me to attention and made me race back in to watch—and just about brought me to tears:

We've heard it before. They called us rapists and murderers—said we weren't Americans. The ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric of today sounds painfully to American Jews. It was wrong then. It's wrong now. American Jews stand with all immigrants of all faiths yearning to breathe free. Raise your voice against hatred. Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice.

"Yes!" I thought. "Damnit, yes!" As a Jew and an American, this is exactly how I feel. My father was a Holocaust survivor. He impressed the searing lessons of the murderous consequences of unbridled hatred toward Jews upon me at an early age, and they have informed my values ever since in a profound way.

And not just my values: the values of the vast majority of American Jews, too, who are overwhelmingly liberal, support the Democratic Party in lopsided numbers, and are one of the groups most adamantly in favor of immigration reform.

Jews have been migrants for thousands of years—since our founding as a people—and it's a story we are duty-bound to remember. We retell a crucial episode of it each year at Passover, when we relive our enslavement as Israelites at the hands of the Egyptians, and as the ad above reminds us, Jews were once deeply unwelcome in this country, too.

That's why we as a group have such great empathy for those coming here today, and that's what made me so emotional watching this ad. I haven't forgotten, my people haven't forgotten, and we want newcomers to America to know that despite the horrific hostility they face from so many quarters, there are those of us who welcome them with open arms. We are fighting for a more just world and we will not forget you.