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Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) Executive Committee Issues Statement on U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

Feb 1, 2017
As the officers of the Association for Jewish Studies, a learned society of 2,000 scholars and students dedicated to advancing research and teaching of Jewish Studies in institutions of higher learning and to fostering a greater understanding of our scholarship beyond the walls of academe, we are outraged at the executive order issued by President Trump denying entry into the United States for the next 90 days to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

On February 1, 2017, the AJS Executive Committee issued the following statement:

As the officers of the Association for Jewish Studies, a learned society of 2,000 scholars and students dedicated to advancing research and teaching of Jewish Studies in institutions of higher learning and to fostering a greater understanding of our scholarship beyond the walls of academe, we are outraged at the executive order issued by President Trump denying entry into the United States for the next 90 days to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

This executive order has arbitrarily thrown the lives of innocent people around the globe into disarray, and, among them, are some of our students and colleagues. As scholars of Jewish history and culture, we remember the disastrous impact of the 1924 National Origins Act, which limited the immigration into America of Jews fleeing European persecution. We celebrate the diversity that immigration has brought to America, and are dismayed that our nation, a country built by immigrants, has not learned the lessons of the past, of the imperative for humanitarian and moral action.

This rejection of our core values was heightened by the fact that President Trump signed this executive order on international Holocaust Remembrance Day. We lament that the President's statement issued that day obscured the historical reality of the Holocaust by failing to mention either the Jews or antisemitism.

We call on our government to honor our past as a nation of immigrants, to recognize that a religious test for immigration violates the ideals embedded in our Constitution, and to end immediately these discriminatory practices.

  • Pamela S. Nadell, President
  • Zachary Baker, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Christine Hayes, Vice President for Program
  • Magda Teter, Vice President for Publications
  • Jeffrey Veidlinger, Vice President for Membership
  • Jonathan D. Sarna, Past President

(The statements of other US learned societies on the executive order are available on the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) website.)

The Association for Jewish Studies is the largest learned society and professional organization representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide. Learn more at ajsnet.org.