Jewish Organizations Unite Against Dangerous Conspiracies
Feb 5, 2024
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the impeachment of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The House has not made a serious attempt to impeach a Cabinet Secretary since 1876, when William Belknap, President Ulysses Grant’s secretary of war, was impeached in the House following a clear pattern of corruption and bribery. This time, however, the impeachment would be based solely on disagreements over policy — an unprecedented break from tradition and an abuse of the House’s powers. The impeachment proceedings have also been filled with deeply concerning language invoking white supremacist and antisemitic conspiracy theories about immigration to the U.S.
Today, 17 Jewish national organizations released a statement expressing their concern over the impeachment attempt and the antisemitic, white supremacist conspiracy theories that underlie it. The statement was organized by Jewish Council for Public Affairs and signatories include HIAS, Ameinu, Democratic Majority for Israel, Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, Jewish Women International, Keshet, National Council of Jewish Women, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, The Workers Circle, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Union for Reform Judaism, and Zioness.
The statement highlights the danger of the language of “invasion” and “replacement” used by House members involved in proceedings against Secretary Mayorkas. This uses the rhetoric of the “great replacement” conspiracy theory — which states that Jewish people favor liberal immigration laws in order to “replace” native-born citizens. This same xenophobic, white supremacist theory motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018 — the deadliest antisemitic attack ever carried out in the U.S. — and anti-immigrant and antisemitic attacks in Charlottesville, Buffalo, El Paso, Poway, and elsewhere.
“We are deeply concerned that such bigotry and divisiveness will only make our community, and so many others, even less safe at this tenuous moment,” reads the joint statement.
“We at HIAS know Secretary Mayorkas well, and can attest to his leadership and his strong character, and all he has done to protect the homeland, including the security of the Jewish community,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “This impeachment is nothing but a dangerous distraction for Congress, the Administration and the country from those essential duties. The impeachment effort is profoundly disturbing. It is not about high crimes and misdemeanors but about political theater, about stoking fear in the public and vilifying asylum seekers and immigrants. It is Congress, after all, that has long abdicated its responsibility to protect our borders, having failed to enact any comprehensive immigration legislation over the last 35 years, in spite of complete national agreement that the asylum and immigration system in this country is utterly broken and in desperate need of reform.”