As Passover (the Jewish holiday surrounding the story of the Exodus) is getting closer, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what our responsibility is, as Jews, to assist in the fight for immigration reform and for the safety of immigrants, many of whom escaped unsafe and unfair living situations, just like we are told the Israelites did in the Passover story.
Yesterday, Milo Yiannopoulos made a post on Facebook in which he attached three photos of himself wearing a yarmulke with the letters ICE glued onto it (showing his support for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ) as he prayed to a random wall (that somewhat represented the Western Wall/Kotel where Jews place prayers) where he posted his own “prayer”, in Google-translated Hebrew that stated the following:
“TO THE DADDY IN THE SKY — Grant us speedy deportations. Promise us an end to liberal jurists overturning Daddy’s executive orders. Deliver us from MS-13, the rapists, the murderers and the drug runners. Grant serenity and peace to the Angel Moms and to your valiant warriors on the front lines – the men and women of ICE. Love and kisses! — MILO”
As a practicing Jew and a practicing Immigration Reform activist, I am so hurt that a person, any person, would even have the thought of taking the style and language of my people's prayer to spread bigotry and hatred. The fact that Jews are living in America is a product of immigration and my people's escape from dangerous antisemitism. Your catholic ass does not get to take our culture and make a mockery of it to further your conservative and fascist agenda.
My religion does not exist for you to spread your hatred.
My God is not a "daddy in the sky". You have no respect for my culture, my language, or my prayer.
Of course, there are some Jews that are going to support you and your actions, but this is not a reflection of what our religion stands for, nor is it any type of reflection on any of our scriptures or teachings.
You do not get to sacrifice the dignity of my religion for the joy you find in shock value.
And, I get it. You, much like elementary-aged children, like to do and say things to get a reaction out of the people who oppose you. This article may be giving you exactly what you want, but that will not stop me from writing it, because what kind of person am I if you personally attack people while using my religion as a vehicle, and I say nothing? I need to show people that you do not represent us, Milo, and that the Jews of America are overwhelmingly here for immigrants and those who would benefit from immigration reform. Your hot-glueing the acronym of a group that causes so much harm onto our garments does not change our hatred for you, Milo.
I am so proud to be Jewish; to be a part of a religion that teaches to love our neighbor, to fight for immigrants, and to advocate for other people who escape tough situations and seek refuge.
With this I say, to my people, to my Jewish community;
Let us take Milo’s mockery of our culture and turn it into an opportunity for change. Let us use our anger toward this type of hatred as a call-to-action to advocate for the opposite. Let us channel our energy to create space for the immigrant voices that are constantly silenced.
This Passover, consider donating money and/or time to groups that fight ICE and encourage immigration reform. You can be the change.