Posts Tagged ‘Islamophobia’
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.
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.
The two sides of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement squared off in New York’s City Hall on Thursday, with BDS activists disrupting a hearing where city council members discussed a resolution condemning BDS. The resolution doesn’t add penalties, but displays a hostility to a non-violent act of free speech, BDS supporters say.
Click to read Resolution 1058-2016 or see the wording after Donna’s testimony below.
Testimony of Jane Hirschmann and Donna Nevel before the New York City council on 9/8/16
My name is Jane Hirschmann and I am representing a group called Jews Say No! We are a NYC based group of Jews who stand up for human rights and justice in Palestine. We believe that it is in the best tradition of the Jewish people to criticize, argue, think and think some more about issues of justice and fairness and to protest human rights abuses where they exist. Indeed for many of us that is one of the main lessons of the Holocaust. Also as Jews we have a particular obligation to speak out concerning Israel, which purports to speak for Jews everywhere.
As the daughter of Holocaust survivors anti-Semitism concerns me deeply. But to suggest as this resolution does, that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic or an attempt to delegitimize Israel is unfounded rhetoric and defamatory. This resolution and similar ones nationwide have been promoted by the Israeli lobby and segments of this community to distract people from the real issues at hand—Israel’s human rights abuses and blatant disregard for the law. This resolution is based on the premise that if you protest the inhumane behavior and policies of a nation state, you are delegitimizing that state, and in the case of Israel, you are anti-Semitic.
The United Nations and several International courts have made it very clear that Israel is in violation of international law. These violations include the 60 year illegal occupation of the West Bank; the illegal settlement expansion which contravenes long standing U.S. policy and hinders any serious peace effort; the theft of Palestinian lands; the blockade of Gaza and the horrific slaughter of thousands of Gaza civilians, to name just a few. Protesting and boycotting Israel for its lawlessness and violence against the Palestinians is not anti-Semitic. It is pro human rights. Can one criticize a country and their abuses without saying that those engaged in this criticism are either delegitimizing the country or, as in this case, are anti-Semitic? In fact, the notion that our protest of Israel’s abuses delegitimizes Israel is preposterous. Israel by persistently acting in an illegitimate way is delegitimizing itself. Every time it violates human rights standards, it delegitimizes itself; by occupying the West Bank it delegitimizes itself; by building a wall it delegitimizes itself, by stealing Palestinian homes and water it delegitimizes itself; by destroying Gaza it delegitimizes itself. And I could go on and on.
On the issue of boycotts I ask you to remember the bus boycotts in Montgomery. Did the boycotts delegitimize Alabama or did the racist policies delegitimize the State? Or take the boycott of South Africa for its apartheid policies. Did the boycott delegitimize the country or was it the conduct of that country? What about the most recent boycott initiated by Governor Cuomo against North Carolina over their anti-LGBT law. Was this an attempt on the Governor’s part to delegitimize that State or just a peaceful non-violent method to protest and force change by using economic and social pressure?
We in the BDS movement are also using this same time-honored, non-violent method to protest the activities of a nation state—Israel. We are not protesting the Jewish people per se because Israel does not represent nor speak for Jews all over the world. Opposing a country’s policy, is not opposing all of its residents nor is it delegitimizing the country. In the case of Israel we are simply joining a growing portion of the International community to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel until it ceases its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians; until the occupation has ended; until the right of return is recognized; and until Palestinians can live in dignity with all the same rights as Israelis.
This Israeli campaign to stifle first amendment activity, including the BDS movement is an attempt to delegitimize our constitution and the city council should not be a party to this.
Jane Hirschmann, one of the co-founders of Jews Say No!
Testimony before the New York City council
Donna Nevel, Board Member, Jewish Voice for Peace
As part of my commitment to speaking out and supporting the movement for justice in Palestine and Israel, I would like to speak about why I consider it my responsibility to stand in support of the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and why I strongly oppose the resolution being put forth today. As a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization dedicated to a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, I am speaking here to represent the growing numbers of progressive Jews who support this global movement for justice.
The BDS movement is motivated by a call for solidarity from the international community. In 2005, a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and ends its violations of Palestinian rights.
The resolution under discussion shamelessly and shamefully distorts the BDS movement’s goals. BDS is about leveraging pressure to compel a state to change its behavior and respect human rights. The BDS movement is not permanent; this pressure is needed only UNTIL Israel complies with basic principles of equality.
BDS has garnered such strong international support among concerned people, including Jews, across the globe because people of conscience oppose decades of denial of a people’s basic human and national rights.
One of the false and destructive accusations being made is that it is anti-Semitic to support BDS. This is not only a highly irresponsible accusation, and harmful to those fighting for justice, but it also does an injustice to the reality of actual anti-Semitism when it occurs.
It is not discriminatory in any way to hold a nation-state accountable for its human rights abuses and for violations of international law. There is nothing anti-Semitic about that in any rational definition of anti-Semitism.
There has been a call from Palestinian civil society, whose community is suffering on a daily basis, to join an international effort to hold Israel accountable to changing its behavior. That is ethical; that is a call I embrace.
On a final and personal note, I support the ethical and yes, dignified call for BDS–as a Jew and as a human being committed to justice and to peace. I have always felt—and continue to feel—deeply connected to my community’s history of struggle and resistance; of the anti-Semitism and oppression we’ve endured. In no way is my support for BDS and my deep commitment to justice for Palestinians at odds with that deep connection to my people. In fact, it grows out of my history and life as a Jewish person who grew up learning from my deeply ethical parents to be proud of who I was but to never think I was better than anyone else or any other people, and to fight against injustice whenever and wherever I saw it.
Therefore, I will continue to support BDS with thousands and thousands of others across the globe UNTIL there is a just solution rooted in ending state policies that are discriminatory and anti-democratic and in insuring equal rights and respect and safety for all.
I hope you will reject this very wrong-headed resolution that attempts to trivialize and distort a critical human rights issue.
Resolution condemning all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel.
By Council Member Cohen, Deutsch, Garodnick, Greenfield, Grodenchik, Kallos, Koslowitz, Lancman, Levine, Maisel, Treyger, Rosenthal, Cabrera, Palma, King, Gibson, Gentile, Espinal, Richards, Koo, Vacca, Van Bramer, Vallone, Johnson, Dickens, Borelli, Matteo and Ulrich
Whereas, The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a campaign seeking to exclude the Israeli people from the economic, cultural, and academic life of humanity; and
Whereas, This movement targets not just the Israeli government but Israeli academic, cultural, and civil society institutions, as well as individual Israeli citizens of all political persuasions, and in some cases even Jews of other nationalities who support Israel; and
Whereas, The Global BDS Movement targets Israel and only Israel, while ignoring the world’s myriad despotic regimes; and
Whereas, Israel is far and away the most democratic and open society in the Middle East, with well-established rights for religious minorities, women, and LGBT citizens that far exceeds those of any other nation in the region; and
Whereas, The Global BDS Movement does not recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination; and
Whereas, Some of the BDS Movement’s supporters and leaders have trafficked in unacceptable anti-Semitic rhetoric, including comparison of Israeli policy to that of Nazi Germany; and
Whereas, University-based BDS efforts violate the core goals of the university and global cultural development, which thrive on a free and open exchange and debate; and
Whereas, Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safe and secure states, free from fear and violence, with mutual recognition; and
Whereas, The Global BDS Movement does not support the two-state solution, a goal which can only be reached through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; and
Whereas, Israel is an ally of the United States and has a long-standing relationship with the City of New York; and
Whereas, The City of New York has the largest population of Jewish residents in the nation and is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel; now, therefore be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York condemns all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction its government and people.
Why We Must Challenge Islamophobia In All Its Forms
Yes, his words have been disturbing and dangerous. But the problem of Islamophobia is already so deeply embedded in our public discourse and our domestic and foreign policy that Trump’s words shouldn’t have surprised us.
This past week, as the media reported a proliferation of hate crimes against Muslims, I stood with other Jews across the country, holding signs in the shape of candles that together made a menorah and helped make visible our opposition to Islamophobia and racism. Each night of Chanukah, in 16 cities, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Say No!, Jews Against Islamophobia, and others rekindled our commitment to fighting injustice. We declared: “We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes”; “We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities”; “We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling”; and “We call for an end to racist policing #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter.”
As a member of the Jewish community, I often think about how we can play a meaningful role in challenging Islamophobia, understanding that, as part of this work, we must look at the connections among Islamophobia, racism, U.S. and Israeli policies, and the “war on terror.”
Though Islamophobia has a long and ugly history, for many of us outside the Muslim community, the aftermath of 9/11 was when we first became aware of it. The many manifestations and layers of Islamophobia came into my consciousness in a real way as a result of my involvement several years ago with a coalition in support of the Khali Gibran International Academy, an Arabic dual-language public school, and its founding principal, Debbie Almontaser, who lost her position because of a sustained anti-Muslim, anti-Arab campaign against her and the school. While she was targeted by a group of Islamophobes who wanted to shut down the school and who, as part of their propaganda, claimed it would be a training ground for terrorists, the real damage was done by the mayor of NYC and the Department of Education, government institutions that capitulated to the Islamophobes who demanded the principal’s resignation.
There is a very carefully orchestrated anti-Muslim propaganda campaign that seeks to equate Islam and Muslims with violence. As we seek to resist this propaganda, we also have to examine the ways in which we can end up perpetuating it. The conflation of violence with Islam and with Muslims is so all-encompassing that many of us can easily get trapped in a narrative that is rooted in Islamophobic assumptions and propaganda.
Religious scholars can provide evidence until they are blue in the face that every religion preaches both violence and peace and that every religion has those committing acts of violence in its name. But we don’t hear media and political leaders demonizing Christianity or Judaism, just to name two religions whose members have committed extreme acts of violence in the name of their religion.
Our discussions of violence must necessarily address the massive levels of violence perpetrated by the U.S. government. The U.S. has wreaked havoc on, and continues to do irreparable damage to, countries and societies and peoples across the globe. If we want to have conversations about violence, this is where I would begin. Many discussions of violence are too often rooted in Islamophobic assumptions about whose violence needs to be “explained.” This framing too often ignores the larger truth about the extent of violence being carried out globally by the U.S. government and its allies.
Islamophobic hate speech and acts of violence take place in the context of the ongoing, state-sponsored Islamophobia of the U.S. government, whose foreign policy invokes Islamophobia to rally support for its bombing of countries with large Muslim populations. Human rights lawyer and activist Bina Ahmad has written: “Islamophobia necessitates convincing people that there’s a war at home and abroad”—and that this messaging “pushes through a brutal agenda and also allows our government to mask its true agenda.” It is not only right-wingers and Republicans, and the Trumps of the world who propagate Islamophobia, but also Democrats and along with them, the liberal establishment.
Those supporting the U.S. war on Muslims abroad intentionally amplify Islamophobia at home. As a result, the dominant narrative focuses on the violence of Muslims, rather than on the pervasive violence of imperialism and occupation.
This is also reflected in the ways the Israeli government uses the “clash of civilizations” framing to paint itself as a democratic, civilized island in a sea of violent Muslims, and thereby to justify its militarism and its oppression of Palestinians. It is no surprise that the same network of donors that sustains unconditional, hawkish support for Israel also funds Islamophobia in the United States.
Professor and activist Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, has written about the centrality of empire in fostering and sustaining Islamophobia. She says, “At its core, liberal Islamophobia flows from the logic of liberal imperialism. As several scholars have argued, liberal imperialism is based upon using liberal ideas to justify empire, and spans the gamut from the narrative about rescuing women and children from brutal dictators to fostering democracy. Liberal Islamophobia flows from this logic.”
Those most impacted by Islamophobia, including the frightening levels of Islamophobic hate speech and violence all around us at this moment, are challenging it on many fronts. There is enormous organizing going on within Muslim communities and among other targeted communities. I hope that those of us organizing in the Jewish community can continue to be intentional in our work, and as we organize, make sure that we are not perpetuating the structures of oppression we claim to, and genuinely want to, resist.
This piece was adapted from a presentation the author made on “Challenging Islamophobia” as part of a panel at a Jewish Voice for Peace national membership meeting in March 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.
Salon: “We will not be silent”: American Jews hit the streets during Hanukkah to fight Islamophobia and racismDecember 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.
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:
- We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes;
- We condemn state surveillance of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities;
- We challenge, through our words and actions, institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-Black violence;
- We protest the use of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism to justify Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians;
- We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all its forms;
- We call for an end to racist policing #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter;
- We stand against U.S. policies driven by the “war on terror” that demonize Islam and devalue, target, and kill Muslims; and
- We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong for immigrants’ rights and refugee rights.
read more: http://bit.ly/1NkZwuy
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.
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.
Follow @jvplive and #Light4Justice to see photos and videos of the actions this week.
Network Against Islamophobia can be reached at NAI@JVP.org
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jews Say No! in NYC (email@example.com). Jews for Racial and Economic Justice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
To the Editor:
Pamela Geller is an Islamophobe whose public remarks about Muslims have rightly been condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate speech. But she has the last word in your article (“Organizer of Cartoon Contest Trumpets the Results,” news article, May 5), wrapping herself in the mantle of the First Amendment as if she had made a useful contribution to a public dialogue about Islam.
She has not. While hate speech is protected by the Constitution, the sole purpose of such speech is to inflame bigotry and to inflict injury. Your reference to the case of Debbie Almontaser is a case in point.
Ms. Almontaser, a respected educator and community leader, was selected by the New York City Department of Education to head the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the city’s first Arabic dual-language school. In the months after the announcement of the school’s creation, Ms. Geller and her allies unleashed a hate-filled barrage of false and Islamophobic accusations about Ms. Almontaser and the school.
Capitulating to the campaign, city officials forced her to resign. She then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In ruling that Ms. Almontaser had been the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice, the commission said that the Department of Education had “succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel and a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on D.O.E. as an employer.”
Ms. Almontaser’s reputation and career survived Ms. Geller’s onslaught. However, her ordeal should be a reminder that those who propagate hate speech are not proponents of First Amendment rights, but destroyers of lives.
The writer is a civil rights lawyer who represented Ms. Almontaser in her suit against the Department of Education.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Naomi Dann 845-377-5745
Donna Nevel email@example.com
4/28/15 Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition stands strongly in opposition to Islamophobia in all its manifestations. Most recently, the courts ruled that Pamela Geller has the right to put up her virulently anti-Muslim ads on public buses. As a community, we will make our voices heard as forcefully as we can in protest of Islamophobic hate speech.
“The minute I read Geller’s language for the ads,* I was reminded of the history of accusations of blood libel against the Jewish community that provoked, and fed into, anti-Semitism,” said Marjorie Dove Kent, executive director, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.
According to Rosalind Petchesky from Jewish Voice for Peace-New York, “These ads are bad enough in and of themselves. But, this hate speech also operates within the context of continued discriminatory surveillance of the Muslim community. And I have seen the pernicious effects this had had on Muslim and Arab students at CUNY, where I have been a professor for many years. That is why we pledge to continue our work with Muslim groups and others concerned with state-sponsored discrimination against the Muslim community.”
Geller is the lead instigator and public face of a nationwide anti-Muslim ad campaign. She co-founded, with Robert Spencer, three groups designated as anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), one of these groups, is the sponsor of the ads.
Geller’s ad campaigns most often explicitly link Israel with Islamophobia through images and words that smear Muslims and Palestinians. These campaigns have engendered bold and creative opposition by a wide range of communities—and this time will be no different.
JAIC calls upon the Jewish community—together with all communities– to speak out loud and clear against these bus ads and to demand the full civil and human rights of the Muslim community. *
*The ad reads: Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.
Jews Against Islamophobia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.