I have published the following remarks in several places. I think they very accurately reflect my viewpoint as a Jew, based not only on our history, but on our enduring commitment to prophetic Judaism.
A generation ago, Pastor Martin Niemuller, in "Letters from Prison" wrote,
" In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me.
And by that time, no-one was left to speak up."
I am not an African American but I learned from Martin Luther King, Jr. the transformative words, "I have a dream".
I am not a nineteenth century Viennese Jew witnessing European anti-Semitism, but I leaned from Theodor Herzl who wrote, envisioning a Jewish state, "If you will it, it is no dream."
I am not a Latino picking fruit, but I learned from Cesar Chavez, who taught us, "Si Se puede."
I did travel in the American south, and saw signs that read, "No Jews, dogs, or N. . . s allowed" and I learned from them.
To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, I may not be able to define racism, but I know it when I see it.
Despite the governor's denials, racism is blatantly clear in Arizona Law 1070.
One clause in this infamous law says that a private citizen who does not think a police officer is enforcing the law can take that officer to court. The implication is that a KKK member can sue a police officer for not being sufficiently racist.
It is interesting that police chiefs in several Arizona counties have come out in opposition to this law which discourages citizen cooperation with the police and encourages rogue cops who dishonor the badge by arresting drivers for the crime of DWB (driving while black) to expand their practice to DWH. Having spent fifteen years as a police chaplain, I understand and salute the dedicated cops who oppose this law.
Let's look at reality. Canadians or northern Europeans who have overstayed their visas are not sought. This law declares an open hunting season on Hispanics.
It also says that an immigrant must carry identification with him or her 24/7. Does this imply a practical necessity for Hispanic citizens to carry their American passport all the time? Of what administration in what country does that remind you.
I call on ministers to honor the injunctions in Exodus and Deuteronomy, "Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt", and encourage City Council to join Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, St. Paul, Minnesota, and the California cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco in banning official business trips to AZ, and entering into new contracts with that state.
Answered by: Rabbi John Sherwood, Deceased (z"l)