UK rabbis protest Donald Trump's travel ban in open letter: ‘We stand beside our Muslim cousins’

‘Holocaust Memorial Day reminded us what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged’

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 01 February 2017 10:20
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The letter says that last week’s Holocaust Memorial Day should be a reminder of ‘what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged’
The letter says that last week’s Holocaust Memorial Day should be a reminder of ‘what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged’

Nearly 50 British rabbis have signed a letter urging Theresa May to remind President Donald Trump “the lessons of history” in the wake of his decision to implement a “Muslim ban”.

Mr Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days sparked protests at airports across the US at the weekend as people were stopped from entering the country. Protesters took to the streets in cities across the UK on Monday night to demonstrate against the travel ban, while thousands descended on Downing Street.

The President’s executive order also suspended America’s refugee program for four months and banned refugees from Syria indefinitely.

A group of 47 Reform and Liberal rabbis and a cantor have now signed a letter condemning Mr Trump for “inciting and legalising hatred”.

The letter, submitted to The Times, said that last week’s Holocaust Memorial Day “reminded us what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged”.

The signatories include Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Richard Jacobi, Co-chair of the Liberal Rabbinic Conference and Rabbi Josh Levy, Co-chair of the Reform Rabbinic Assembly.

The letter reads: “Last week, Holocaust Memorial Day reminded us what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged. This week, we stand alongside our Muslim cousins as they face the consequences – both direct and indirect – of President Trump’s executive order.

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“By effectively banning many Muslims from entering the United States, Donald Trump is inciting and legalising hatred.

“We urge Theresa May to convey to the president the lessons of history, and the potential consequences of deliberately directing the tools of state against a minority.

Prince Charles has this week warned of the dangers of “forgetting the lessons of the past,” while at a fundraiser for the World Jewish Relief (WJR) charity.

Speaking at the fundraiser in London was Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who, in talking about how the charity gives people around the world hope, said: “Not much hope from the United States of America, of all countries, where President Trump appears to have signed an executive order which seems to discriminate against individuals based totally on their religion or their nationality.

“We as Jews perhaps more than any others know exactly what it is like to be the victims of such discrimination and it is totally unacceptable.”

Additional reporting by PA

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