Archive for the ‘Jews Against Islamophobia’ Category

Organizing Against Islamophobia: Reflection And Analysis To Strengthen Our Work

February 1, 2017

Donna Nevel community psychologist and educator

MIAMI PROTEST

Muslim communities and those being targeted by the relentless, ongoing Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic assaults coming from so many directions are organizing with great integrity, strength, and intention. We know these assaults are not new, but the moment calls for all sorts of resistance. Community-based groups and coalitions like DC Justice for Muslims, housed at the Washington Peace Center, in Washington, DC and Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) in NYC (and many more) are engaging in powerful organizing rooted in years of deep work within their communities.

Those of us who are partners in this work and committed to not remaining silent or complicit are joining efforts that require both immediate responses and long-term planning. Social justice groups, faith communities, and other community members are attending community meetings, joining protests, and participating in actions led by Muslim and other impacted groups.

In addition to participating in day-to-day actions, we know that our own reflection, analysis, and deeper understanding can help strengthen our work. Many of us who are not being targeted can too easily carry Islamophobic assumptions propagated by the media, by our own communities, and in the public sphere. There are several issues that are integral to our discussions, analysis, and organizing: for example, the connections among Islamophobia within the U.S., the “war on terror” and U.S. imperialism, and the ways in which Islamophobia and Israel politics intersect.

Those of us working with the Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), a project of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) have spent the past few years creating curricula and resources on Challenging Islamophobia and Racism. These materials are designed to help strengthen our work within our communities and to enable us to be effective, principled, creative, and thoughtful partners in the broader movement for justice.

The curricula and work result from deep relationships, organizing, and learning with many different communities and individuals. NAI is deeply appreciative of the work and inspiration of our partners from Muslim and other communities targeted by Islamophobia and racism, and we honor their leadership and vision.

JVP CHAPTER, SEATTLE

Visit the Network Against Islamophobia to download the curricula and resources.

In 25 Cities, Communities Say NO To Islamophobia

December 24, 2016

Donna Nevel

 

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Photo from JVP Western Mass, Springfield, MA

On Wednesday evening, Dec. 21st, in 25 cities across the United States, Jews, Muslims, and other communities joined together to say with clarity and strength: No to Islamophobia; No to Racism: Yes to Justice; Yes to Dignity for All Communities. Organized to coincide with the holiday of Chanukah, which begins Saturday evening, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and its Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), together with JVP chapters and partners, initiated the actions to reignite their commitment to challenging all forms of Islamophobia and racism.

Written on eight candles in the shape of a Chanukah menorah, the commitments were read aloud for all to hear and take in. Among the commitments:
• We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.
• We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all their forms.
• We protest the use of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism to justify and perpetuate Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians;
• We challenge, through our words and actions, institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-Black violence.

In Kingston, New York, participants braved the cold to join the action called for by the newly created Hudson Valley JVP chapter. In Sacramento, hundreds of people stood together for a creative program ending with a question from the organizers, “How will you follow through on your commitments?”—and suggestions of opportunities, educational events and actions.

In Austin and New Haven, in Ithaca, Portland, and Raleigh—and in cities large and small— community members held their candles, visibly and with conviction.

In Chicago, the local JVP chapter partnered with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other groups to call upon Governor Bruce Rauner to reverse his position of pausing the relocation of Syrian refugees and, instead, to welcome and support their resettlement with all the resources at his disposal.

A vibrant march co-organized by JVP Boston made its way through the streets of downtown Boston. Hundreds of people participated, and the large group of social justice groups* that cosponsored the event expressed a commitment to addressing a wide range of issues.

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Photo from CAIR FL, Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

 

And in Miami Beach, where I live, CAIR FL and JVP joined to create an event that brought many communities together. In addition to music and readings, a number of children read signs they had made with words of “compassion,” “justice,” “respect,” “equality,” and “a world without Trump,” in response to being asked what words came to mind when they thought of the world they wanted to live in.

The Chanukah actions are part of a broader commitment to engage in this work thoughtfully and consistently and to stand against all forms of Islamophobia—whether it is a hate crime in the street or violence resulting from US domestic or foreign policies. JVP’s Network Against Islamophobia has as its foundational principles being accountable partners in the larger movement led by Muslims and those who have been directly impacted by Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and, at the same time, doing the work within Jewish communities to bring these issues to the forefront. That also means engaging within our communities in learning together through workshops and discussions about the multiple ways in which Islamophobia is manifested and how we can do this work most meaningfully and effectively.

Muslim communities and other impacted groups have been organizing for a very long time. The very positive recent decision by President Obama to dismantle the regulations that enable the NSEERS (Special Registrations) program to exist grows out of years and years of organizing by groups like DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) in NYC and by other groups that have been directly targeted by these government policies and programs. As that organizing continues to grow, JVP and NAI hope to be genuine partners in this work.

Community-building was also a key part of Wednesday’s actions, something that is much needed at this time. Participants made their commitments, not just for the evening, but as part of long-term, sustained, collaborative work for justice.

*The cosponsors of Boston’s actions included American Friends Service Committee, Northeast Palestine Advocacy Project, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, 1for3.org, Common Street Spiritual Center, Muslim Justice League, Arlington Street Church/Boston – Social Action Committee, UU’s for Justice in the Middle East – MA Chapter, Cambridge Bethlehem People to People Project, Black Lives Matter Cambridge and JETPAC Inc.

Letter in Support of Representative Keith Ellison

November 16, 2016

 

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November 16, 2016

We are writing in support of Representative Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in Congress, whom we know as an ethical individual committed to equal rights and justice for all people.

We are saddened and angered by the campaign against Representative Ellison and the baseless charges of anti-Semitism made against him. We know that he has strong support from Jewish political and community leaders and that the campaign against him is being spearheaded by forces that wrongly equate criticism of Israeli government policies with anti-Semitism and, in many instances, foster anti-Muslim narratives.

During this period of great division in our country, we need more voices like Representative Ellison’s.

Jews Say No!  

New York city

Another Jew Against Islamophobia

April 2, 2016

Hey All,

 As part of our commitment to making our opposition to Islamophobia as visible as possible, we are asking those of us having Passover seders to place a sticker on your door that says “Another Jew Against Islamophobia.”

 The sign signifies our commitment to challenging Islamophobia in all its manifestations–from individual acts of violence to profiling and state sponsored forms of Islamophobia to the ways that Islamophobia is promoted through the “war on terror” and through Israeli policies.

 You can make up the sign–or write to us at jewssayno@gmail.com–and we will email you the one we made up. Once you have the sign, all you have to do is get some tape and paste it on your door.

 Together we will work toward a society and world rooted in justice and dignity for people from every background and community. 

 Yours,

Jews Against Islamophobia,  a coalition of Jews Say No! and Jewish Voice for Peace–NY

another Jew against Islamophobia photo

WBAI: NY Jews Condemn Islamophobia and Racism

December 11, 2015

 

 New York City 12/08/2015 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)

New York Jews are speaking out against Islamophobia and racism. “We will not be silenced about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes.”

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No, gathered under the umbrella of Jews Against Islamophobia. They stood at Rockefeller Center Sunday night in the shape of a menorah, with nine signs representing each of the Chanukah candles, each symbolizing an injustice. They rekindled the commitment to speak out against all forms of hate speech and violence directed at the Muslim community or those perceived to be Muslim.

Please click on the arrow at the WBAI link to hear our report.

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Salon: “We will not be silent”: American Jews hit the streets during Hanukkah to fight Islamophobia and racism

December 11, 2015

Jewish Voice for Peace condemns “state-sanctioned Islamophobia & racism” and anti-refugee xenophobia this Hanukkah

This Hanukkah, Jews across the U.S. are taking to the street to rally against the Islamophobia and racism rampant in their communities. jvp-hannukah-protest-ny-620x412
 On each night in the eight-day-long religious holiday, Jewish activists are participating in protests against various forms of injustice in a campaign initiated by the Network Against Islamophobia, a project called for by national peace organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) to challenge anti-Muslim bigotry, along with Jews Against Islamophobia, a coalition of JVP-New York and the activist group Jews Say No!

The demonstrations are being held in 15 cities throughout the country, including Chicago, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta. The first demonstration was held at New York City’s Rockefeller Center on Sunday, Dec. 6, the first night of Hanukkah.

Activists are conveying their commitments through signs in the shape of eight candles, which together comprise a symbolic menorah. A ninth sign, modeled after the shamash, or “helper” candle, reads “Jews against Islamophobia and racism — rekindling our commitment to justice.” The eight pledges listed on the other candles are:

  1. We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes;
  2. We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities;
  3. We challenge, through our words and actions, institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-Black violence;
  4. We protest the use of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism to justify Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians;
  5. We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all its forms;
  6. We call for an end to racist policing #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter;
  7. We stand against U.S. policies driven by the “war on terror” that demonize Islam and devalue, target, and kill Muslims; and
  8. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong for immigrants’ rights and refugee rights.

read more: http://bit.ly/1NkZwuy

 

On Chanukah: Jews Gather Nationwide to Challenge Islamophobia and Racism

December 6, 2015

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December 6, 2015 — This week, American Jews are participating in a series of nationally coordinated actions against Islamophobia and racism to mark the eight days of Chanukah with a  rekindling of their commitment to justice. Beginning Sunday, December 6th at 4pm in Rockefeller Center in New York City, each night of Chanukah Jewish activists and community members will gather to make public commitments to challenge state-sanctioned Islamophobia and racism and to call for the United States to welcome refugees. Each of the commitments is articulated through a sign that is in the shape of a candle; the candles together are in the shape of a menorah. Actions are happening each night in 15 cities across the country—New York City, Miami, Chicago, Washington, DC, New Haven, Portland (Oregon), Durham, Columbus (Ohio), Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Ithaca, Springfield, Denver and Providence.

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Initiated by Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) in NYC (a coalition of Jews Say No! and Jewish Voice for Peace–New York) and the Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), a project of Jewish Voice for Peace nationally, these actions call for the Jewish community to stand strong against Islamophobia and racism and in solidarity with communities facing threats and discrimination in the wake of recent violence and disturbing public rhetoric. On the eighth and last night of Chanukah, activists in each of the cities will come out again to rekindle their commitments to justice from city to city, from community to community, and from strength to strength.

According to Elly Bulkin of Jews Against Islamophobia and the Network Against Islamophobia, “We understand that the ongoing violence against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim takes place in the context of ongoing and systemic Islamophobia and racism that are pervasive and deep within our society. We are committed to challenging all forms of Islamophobia and racism in whatever ways we can.”

The commitments listed on the signs are: 1. We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes; 2. We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities; 3. We challenge, through our words and actions, institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-Black violence; 4.  We protest the use of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism to justify Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians; 5. We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all its forms; 6. We call for an end to racist policing #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter; 7. We stand against U.S. policies driven by the “war on terror” that demonize Islam and devalue, target, and kill Muslims; and 8. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong for immigrants’ rights and refugee rights.

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Follow @jvplive and #Light4Justice to see photos and videos of the actions this week. 

https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/rekindling-our-commitment-to-justice-on-chanukah/ 

Network Against Islamophobia can be reached at NAI@JVP.org

SURVEILLANCE OF MUSLIM COMMUNITY CONTINUES DESPITE PROMISES FROM DE BLASIO

November 2, 2015

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Nov. 2, 2015   Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) are outraged to learn that the NYPD has continued to spy on the Muslim community and calls on the Mayor and City to put a halt to this discriminatory practice immediately. Despite Mayor De Blasio’s statement when he took office that it is unfair for law enforcement to single out people on the basis of their religion, the Gothamist reported that an undercover NYPD officer had been spying on a group of Muslim students at Brooklyn College as late as December 2014, eight months after he took office.

Pretending to have converted to Islam, the undercover NYPD officer spied for four years on women from the Brooklyn College Islamic Society solely because they are Muslim. Such surveillance undermines civil liberties and injures the people and community being targeted.

In 2011/2012, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press series documented that the NYPD had engaged in a far-reaching surveillance program that burrowed deep into the lives and institutions of New York-area Muslim communities. Informants were placed in mosques, Muslim student organizations, and Muslim-owned bookstores, businesses, and cafes. Some infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses at six branches of the City University of New York, as well as at colleges outside the City.

“That Muslim students at Brooklyn College were spied on like this makes a farce of anything De Blasio said about protecting people on the basis of their religion,” stated Candace Graff, member of JAI. “We need to speak out far and wide against this spying and intimidation.”

 According to JAI member and CUNY emerita professor, Rosalind Petchesky, “The Muslim community continues to face discrimination on a daily basis—in employment, through acts of violence and hate crimes against them, and through continued state-sponsored Islamophobia. It is shameful that students at Brooklyn College—or anywhere—have to endure this kind of discriminatory treatment. It is not only the City that is responsible. Chancellor Milliken’s office and the administrations of Brooklyn College and all CUNY campuses need to be adamant about protecting our students against bias, spying, and harassment.”

 As Alan Levine, civil rights lawyer and member of JAI, wrote in a 2012 piece in the National Law Journal on NYPD’s Unconstitutional Surveillance, “The Muslim community should not have to wait a day longer for city officials to abandon a practice that so flagrantly affronts principles of equal justice and religious freedom.” This remains equally true in 2015 and must stop immediately.

 Jews Against Islamophobia is a coalition of Jewish Voice for Peace—New York (jvp-nyc-coordinating@googlegroups.com) and Jews Say No! in NYC (jewssayno@gmail.com).  Jews for Racial and Economic Justice can be reached at info@jfrej.org

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