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Preserving Our Common Cause

In case you have been following the local issues with PACT People Acting in Community Together. 
Rabbi Magat and I had an op ed in the Chronicle…/Why-we-support-rescinding-CAI…

I am also pasting here what we submitted.


By Rabbi Melanie Aron and Rabbi Dana Magat

Coming together in common cause is the most effective way to combat hate, social injustice and racism. The Jewish and Muslim communities have a 20-year history of working together in Silicon Valley to create bonds of trust and respect. Recent events relating to PACT (People Acting in Community Together) and Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR, sadly undermine these long-time joint efforts.

Billoo’s work on behalf of the civil rights of Muslim Americans is laudable. As a people tragically deprived of our civil rights in the past, we also applaud PACT’s decision to build interfaith partnerships in support of this cause. The parallel world on social media can be used to further build these partnerships, or it can destroy them with inflammatory hate speech. Whether spewing bigotry against Jews and Israel, or against any faith or ethnic group, we would stand strongly opposed. It goes against our common cause.

We urge you to take the time to research Zahra Billoo on social media. You will find admirable expressions of support for human rights of Muslim Americans, Palestinians and immigrants. And then you will find vitriol against Israel—not opposition to policies or officials, but extreme accusations of racism and terrorism. It is an absolutist landscape in which there is no possibility of moving towards a peace beneficial to both peoples.

When PACT honors a community leader, the goal is to highlight a unique and special individual who draws together all the faith communities into their best and even most aspirational joint efforts. Zahra is free to reject our long-standing ability to find common cause across differences. But past experience has shown how much impact PACT congregations can have on important issues when we intentionally seek out common cause.

As leaders in the local Jewish community, we have been proud of our synagogues’ active participation in PACT. The very basis of this grassroots organization is firmly built on the ideals of equality and acceptance for cultural and ethnic diversity. This past decade we have worked together to dispel hatred, racism and bullying of all people within our community. It is because of what we have in common as humans that we refuse to give up the relationships we have worked so hard to build.

We are profoundly disappointed that PACT wavered in its purpose of advocating for solutions to local problems. We call on PACT to reaffirm its role as the genuine voice of our interfaith community and to return to its powerful focus on the lives and needs of those living in our county where it has made a tremendous impact and can continue to do good work.

We believe it is imperative, especially now. We cannot win our democracy back if we allow the splintering of our hard-built progressive coalition to occur because of one partner’s intolerance of another.

The Jewish and Muslim communities have a 20-year history of working together in Silicon Valley to create bonds of trust and respect. Recent events relating to People Acting in Community Together, an interfaith organization in Santa Clara County, and Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on...


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