“If Muslims have to register, we’re all going to register . . . Jews know what it means to be identified and tagged, to be registered and pulled aside. It evokes very deep emotions in the Jewish community. . . . All of us have heard the story of the Danish king who said if his country’s Jews had to wear a gold star, all of Denmark would, too.”
Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance.
They are putting aside for now their divisions over Israel to join forces to resist whatever may come next. New groups are forming, and interfaith coalitions that already existed say interest is increasing.
Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, in a home here filled with Jewish art and ritual objects.
Until Mr. Trump was elected president, Ms. Firdaus, who is 56 and a manufacturing manager at Exxon Mobil, felt secure living as a Muslim in America. She has a daughter who is a doctor and a son who is an engineer, and she recently traveled to Tampa with her husband looking to buy a vacation home. But Mr. Trump’s victory has shaken her sense of comfort and security.
“In many respects, Israel is a red state, and American Jews are a blue country.”
If you are Jewish, odds are that you live in Israel or the United States. Four out of every five Jews in the world live in these two countries, with approximately 6 million Jews in each.
Pew Research Center has surveyed Jewish adults in both places, and has found deep bonds between them. Nevertheless, their experiences and perspectives are very different. For instance, we asked Jews in Israel to describe, in their own words, the biggest long-term problem facing their country. They were as likely to cite economic concerns (such as Israel’s high cost of living, or a shortage of affordable housing in Tel Aviv and other cities) as they were to mention military or national security issues (such as terror attacks or Iran’s nuclear program).
Yet when American Jews were asked to name Israel’s biggest long-term problem, fully two-thirds cited a military or security issue, and hardly any (1%) mentioned economic difficulties — which suggests that many Jews in the United States either don’t know much about Israelis’ day-to-day economic challenges or don’t worry much about them.
“The time when one side can afford to deny the presence of the other is long gone. The stark truth is that there are two peoples living on the same land and dividing it between them is the only way to bury this long conflict once and for all.”
For decades, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the larger Arab-Israeli conflict have cast a dark shadow over the Middle East. This conflict has cost human lives and drained vital resources. It has denied millions of people in the region the opportunity to prosper and grow away from the threat of confrontation, occupation and violence.
We know how this can and must end: a two-state solution ensuring that two states, Israel and Palestine, can live in peace and security, with both sides accepting and recognizing the national and legitimate rights of the other. This is not a zero-sum game — the fates of both peoples are permanently intertwined, and neither can truly flourish while the other suffers. [Continue reading here . . . ]