Posts Tagged ‘Jews Against Islamophobia’

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.

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Why We Must Challenge Islamophobia In All Its Forms

December 26, 2015

 

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

Thoughts after the Paris attacks – Raymond Wofsy, member of Jews Say No! educator/activist living in Paris.

November 16, 2015

Jews Against Islamophobia, a coalition of Jews Say No! (jewssayno@gmail.com) and Jewish Voice for Peace-NY (jvp-nyc-coordinating@googlegroups.com), would like to share the thoughts of Raymond Wofsy, member of Jews Say No! and educator/activist who is living in Paris.

I am so sad today. My heart goes out to the families and friends of
the people who were killed and who are still in the hospital.

I feel very touched by these murders. Friends of mine were in close
proximity, and friends of friends are in the hospital or were killed.
One of the restaurants that was attacked is next to a vegan spot that
Felix and I go to often. All of these places are places I know well
and that I could easily have been at or near on Friday.

It feels hard to mourn because so much of the collective mourning here
seems to be centered around nationalism, the French flag, and
celebrating how wonderful France is. I cannot separate French
nationalism from colonial racism, Islamophobia, and imperialism. So
how do I feel my feelings right now? I am sad, upset, angry, but I do
not agree with the French government and I do not valorize the French
state. I am trying to hold all this together and to mourn in a way
that feels right to me.

I believe, as analysts have said, that these terrorist attacks were
not the beginning of a war in France, but the manifestation of wars
France is already participating in, specifically by bombing Syria.
France was at war, is at war, and now we are seeing what war looks
like in our own city. Terrorist attacks happen in many places and
they only get this type of attention when they target Europeans or
people from the U.S. I am especially close to Paris because this is
my home right now. I have been given a glimpse of what it feels like
to live with this type of violence and death, and I am thinking of the
millions of people who live with this type of fear everyday.

In a country where it is illegal to wear a hijab in public buildings,
where my Arab friends talk how strangers look at them with racism and
fear on their faces, about being afraid to go outside, and where
violent anti-Muslim attacks increased 500% after the Charlie Hebdo
attack, I am very afraid of what is to come. I am also heartened by
some of the analysis I am reading in friend’s Facebook posts and in
articles from activist organizations. I am trying to end on a
positive note here, hopeful that we can stand together against this
Islamophobic backlash, which has already started.

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

To New York City Council Members Intending to Participate in a Trip to Israel

January 11, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

Contact:  Donna Nevel   denevel@gmail.com

January 12, 2015

 To New York City Council Members Who Are Intending to Participate in a Trip to Israel Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)

 Dear Council Members,

Because we know many of you have spoken out strongly against Islamophobia, we are writing at this time to call your attention to some of the ways in which the JCRC of New York, which is sponsoring your upcoming trip to Israel, has supported practices and policies that foster Islamophobia. It is clear that the JCRC has helped undermine the basic civil rights and liberties of our city’s Muslim residents, and we hope you agree with us that it is a most inappropriate organization to lead such a trip. (Others have been in touch with you about JCRC’s egregious support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. We agree with those views.)

Best regards,

Elly Bulkin, Marjorie Dove Kent, Alan Levine, Donna Nevel, Rebecca Vilkomerson

Members, Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition

 

THE JCRC AND NEW YORK CITY’S MUSLIM RESIDENTS

 JCRC Support for NYPD Surveillance of the NYC Muslim Community

The JCRC fully supported former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s anti-Muslim policies. In February 2012, when a dozen of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press (AP) articles on the NYPD surveillance of the Muslim community had already been published, the JCRC’s president, executive vice president and CEO, and associate executive director published an article in The Jewish Week making “The Case for Ray Kelly.” As a published response to this opinion piece pointed out: (1) the JCRC leadership’s expressed concern for the safety of New Yorkers did not extend to the Muslim community; (2) JCRC leaders “trivialized the impact of constant surveillance upon the Muslim community”; and (3) the JCRC statement did “not acknowledge that Ray Kelly was a featured interviewee in ‘The Third Jihad,’ a rabidly Islamophobic film — a fact he conveniently ‘forgot.’ Under Kelly’s watch, according to files uncovered by NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, the NYPD showed nearly 1,500 police officers during their training this anti-Islam propaganda film whose main narrative is that Muslims are trying to violently ‘infiltrate and dominate America.’ Though the JCRC claims part of its mission is to “build bridges to, and work with, many leaders in New York’s Muslim communities,” during this massive assault on the city’s Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, the JCRC wasn’t just silent, which would have been bad enough—but its top leadership spoke in strong support of the person in charge of this Islamophobic campaign.

Long-time Member of the JCRC Board of Directors Who Has Worked with Pamela Geller and Other Leading Islamophobes Additionally, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a member of the JCRC’s Board of Directors, was a leading figure in the 2007 attacks on Debbie Almontaser, founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), planned as the country’s first English-Arabic dual language public school. Wiesenfeld was New York chair of Stop the Madrassa, a self-described “community coalition” that formed in June 2007 to prevent KGIA from opening. Another key player in Stop the Madrassa was Pamela Geller, who subsequently spearheaded the opposition to Park51 and spewed anti-Muslim hate across the country’s transit systems; Geller got her start as an activist, not just a blogger, when she joined Stop the Madrassa. Three other central figures in Stop the Madrassa—Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, and David Yerushalmi—are discussed at length in the Center for American Progress’ Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. When Wiesenfeld attacked Almontaser and claimed that KGIA was trying to carry out a “soft jihad,” she asked that the JCRC respond to these attacks.  But they did nothing and, as Almontaser reports, refused her requests to meet with them. Almontaser was forced to resign in 2007 after public officials, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later determined, “succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel….” Wiesenfeld remains on the JCRC board.

Islamophobia and Palestine Tuesday November 11

October 22, 2014

Islamaphobia flier


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