At first glance, Jews and Latinos may appear to have very little in common. That impression may begin to change somewhat on Tuesday with the launch of a new organization that brings the two groups together. It’s called the Texas Latino-Jewish Leadership Council, and it’s modeled after a fairly new national group by a similar name. Southern Methodist University professor Luisa del Rosal is a founding member of the group, and says members of the Jewish and Latino communities have a lot in common.
“We are actually groups of very diverse backgrounds that share, together, an identity, whether it’s because of faith or because of shared languages,” del Rosal says.
She says the largest diasporas of people from Israel and Mexico are in the U.S.
“So, there’s a lot we can learn from each other and work together, because we share visions of migration policy, trade and investment policy, that are very similar,” del Rosal says.
Del Rosal points out that Jews also have connections to Latin America. Particularly after World War II, European Jews immigrated to Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. She says Mexico was particularly welcoming to immigrants after the war, and this history made for a natural alliance between Jews and Latinos in those countries. Del Rosal says she sees commonalities between the situation in the Middle East and what’s happening between the U.S. and Mexico.
“How do you enforce borders and secure communities while also satisfying the need of growth and human capital and interaction between two neighboring states?” del Rosal says.
She says her group has a pragmatic purpose, too: to give a voice to people in both communities.
“If you’re not at the table, you’re sometimes on the menu,” she says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.