“We have witnessed the dangerous acts that can follow verbal expressions of hate.”
The Anti-Defamation League and 27 other Jewish groups signed an open letter Thursday condemning racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.
The statement came one day after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defended tweeting an image that featured Hillary Clinton next to a six-pointed star over a background of money. Critics said the star in the image resembled the Star of David, and the tweet was widely condemned as anti-Semitic and for enabling anti-Semitism.
“We call on all Americans — in their communities and on the national stage — to refrain from and denounce all forms of hatred and extremism. We call on all Americans who support or endorse candidates for public office to loudly and clearly condemn any and all racist and xenophobic language and actions,” the letter says. “Instead, we must demonstrate commitment to our proud American and Jewish values of religious freedom, civil rights, refugee protection, and equality for all.”
The letter from the Jewish groups did not specifically mention Trump or his Star of David tweet, which he deleted several hours after it was posted. However, it criticized “inflammatory rhetoric” that targets Muslims and refugees, and called out social media attacks against Jewish journalists, many of which have come from users declaring support for Trump.
The New York businessman has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. and has frequently raised concerns about refugees immigrating to the country. The Jewish groups — which also included HIAS, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable — referenced previous times Jews have faced persecution, such as during WWII, and urged Americans to stand together.
“The Jewish community knows all too well what can happen when particular religious or ethnic groups become the focus of invective. We have witnessed the dangerous acts that can follow verbal expressions of hate,” the letter says. “Jews and members of other religious minorities have found safety in the United States, thanks to this nation’s commitment to religious freedom, civil rights, and refugee protection. Yet these values that are pillars of our nation’s strength cannot be taken for granted; rather, they must be renewed and protected in every generation.”
This article was originally published on Time.com.