The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) launched a new national group to be known as the “Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council” to “give Muslims and Jews a way to critique Trump and his advisers’ rhetoric and policy with a single voice.”
The fact that the AJC supports Israel—which has border, anti-refugee, and anti-Islam policies that pale in comparison to even the most extreme thing Trump has ever said—appears not to bother the AJC or ISNA.
Farooq Kathwar, left, and Stanley Bergman, right, co-chairman of the new Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, although “Jewish and Muslim groups have cooperated before, the size and influence of these two particular groups — and the prominence of the people who have joined the council — marks a milestone in Jewish-Muslim relations.”
“The council’s formation shows that American Muslim and Jewish leadership are now working together, focused on domestic developments. This is a first and is good news for the entire country,” said Robert Silverman, AJC director of Muslim-Jewish relations.
“Our council is coming at the right time,” said Eftakhar Alam, senior coordinator at ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.
“We have to show the administration that as American Muslims and Jews — people of the faiths of Abraham — we are uniting to help the administration navigate in the proper constitutional manner, to uphold freedom of religion and constitutional rights for all American citizens.”
The idea for the formal alliance was mooted before Trump’s election victory, the report continued, even though they had expected Hillary Clinton to win.
“But even had Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won, said Alam and others, the vitriol of the election calls for such a coming together of Muslims and Jews.”
“The Council brings together recognized business, political, and religious leaders in the Jewish and Muslim American communities to jointly advocate on issues of common concern. Stanley Bergman, CEO of Henry Schein, and Farooq Kathwari, President and CEO of Ethan Allen, are the Council’s co-chairs.
“At the group’s inaugural meeting, the Muslim and Jewish participants met for two hours to get to know one another, discuss the Council’s mission, and identify and agree on a domestic policy agenda.”
According to a statement issued by the AJC, the new alliance’s “initial action items” are as follows:
The Council will highlight the contributions of Muslims and Jews to American society, and aim to celebrate their contributions in the best traditions of American democracy.
The Council will develop a coordinated strategy to address anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Semitism in the U.S.
The Council will work to protect and expand the rights of religious minorities in the U.S., as enshrined in the Constitution, so they may practice their faiths in full freedom and security.
“Our two communities share much in common and should find ways, where possible, to work together for the benefit of the entire country,” Stanley Bergman, Co-Chair of the Council, said in the statement.
Farooq Kathwari, Co-Chair of the Council, said that the “Council aims to provide a model for civic engagement by two communities, vital to American society, that agree to work together on issues of common concern and overlapping interest.”
Jewish-Muslim cooperation against Europeans has a long historical record, most notably during the era of the white-slave trading Barbary States of North Africa.
According to the book, The Adventures of Thomas Pellow, of Penryn, Mariner: Three and Twenty Years in Captivity among the Moors, Jews worked as interpreters, bankers, and even high-level Barbary government officials, actively engaging in the slave trade in Europeans which was only finally stopped by American naval intervention in 1816.