Members of the Latino Jewish Leadership Council (LJLC) strongly denounce the violence, hatred and anti-Semitism displayed by white supremacists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12.

The group of 35 Latino and Jewish leaders in the U.S. is horrified by the death of Heather Heyer, the young woman murdered by an extremist who plunged his car into a group of peaceful counter-demonstrators, causing 19 injuries as well. We regard this as an act of domestic terrorism and call upon federal prosecutors to investigate and prosecute this case accordingly.

At this critical juncture, Americans expect moral clarity from their leaders. Words and actions are absolutely required to bring the nation together, heal wounds and prevent these despicable hate groups from further terrorizing our communities. But creating the impression of moral equivalence between neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK and demonstrators who oppose them is nothing short of offensive.

Since its establishment in January 2017, the LJLC has repeatedly denounced the rise of anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and xenophobic rhetoric that has too often infected our nation’s political discourse. We have also urged our public officials to take swift action against the increase in hate crimes. Sadly, the horrendous events of last Saturday have once again confirmed what history teaches us: hate groups start by targeting a specific ethnicity, religion or community, and then metastasize and end up attacking our broader society.

We call upon our elected and appointed officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, indeed all people of good will, to stand together, with total moral clarity, for American democratic and pluralistic core values, which remain the bedrock of our nation and the best defense against the forces of hatred that seek to uphold prejudice and divide us.

The Latino Jewish Leadership Council, convened by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), was established to jointly advocate for issues of shared concern and values cherished by both communities.

Photo source: By Mark Dixon from Pittsburgh, PA (Charlottesville-1520268) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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