Arab, Jewish & Community Groups At Union Sq. NYC.
ARAB, JEWISH & COMMUNITY GROUPS JOINED TOGETHER AT UNION SQUARE-NYC, COMMUNITIES SPOKE OUT AGAINST WAR & RACIST BACKLASH
In the wake of the September 11th tragedy, an ad hoc coalition of Jewish, Arab and other community groups held a press conference today, Sept. 19th, at Union Square to express mourning and outrage across community lines.
The coalition spoke out against racist backlash against Arabs, Muslims, and other people of color and immigrants in the United States, and oppose collective punishment of Middle Eastern populations and those who question U.S. policy in the Middle East.
The coalition also called for heightened awareness and protection of civil liberties, freedom of speech and freedom of movement during this trying time.
The Coalition is composed of:
Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)
Health GAP Coalition
Jews Against the Occupation
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
Jews for Peace Through Justice
Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood
Same Boat Coalition
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Third World Within
Vieques Support Campaign
Women for Afghan Women
Following is the text of the Press Release from Jews Against The Occupation-NYC (a member of the above coalition):
JEWS AGAINST THE OCCUPATION
Gelman (914) 282-7834, Lorne Lieb (646) 246-1121
In the wake of the September 11th tragedy, Jews Against The Occupation joins a coalition representing Arab, Jewish, Muslim, and other community groups, to speak out against war and the horrifying racist backlash directed at many of our brothers and sisters living in America.
As Jews engaged in the struggle for justice, we are shocked and distressed at the horrific attack on workers and visitors at the World Trade Center, and at the multiple violent hijackings which preceded it. We condemn this violence against random individuals and the obvious intention to kill and destroy lives.
Many of us have lost or nearly lost people we love, and without exception we are horrified at the pain, fear and death inflicted on millions of people, in New York and elsewhere, by these acts. We are concerned for everyone who has lost a friend or family member, for the missing, for the emergency workers and volunteers participating in rescue efforts, and also for the thousands of people whose mode of employment was destroyed in the wreckage.
Jews Against The Occupation calls on the people and the government of the United States to resist the temptation to label as "terrorists" all Arab, Muslim, People of Color and immigrant groups who object to American Policy.
As in the turmoil of the Gulf War, we fear an upsurge of anti-Arab racism, and we have already seen the signs in the media and in conversations on the street. But a crisis calls for strict adherence to the principles of democracy, and we condemn the "guilt by racial association" imposed on Arabs in the Middle East, in this country, and around the world. Let each individual be judged on the basis of their actions and words-we reject harassment, looting of businesses or other forms of witch-hunting against Arabs in our communities. These racist assumptions have fueled the killings of several innocent Americans from these communities already.
Jews Against The Occupation opposes collective punishment of Middle Eastern populations and those who question U.S. policy in the Middle East. American oil and geopolitical interests have visited war on the Middle East region, and American support for Israeli presence in the Occupied Territories has visited many years of violence and repression specifically on the Palestinian people. We must reconsider these policies -- not because we fear extremist violence, but because these policies are antidemocratic and unjust.
Jews Against The Occupation calls for heightened awareness and protection of civil liberties, freedom of speech and freedom of movement during this trying time.
Jews Against The Occupation calls for restraint and a halt in preparations for war.
Neither in America nor in Israel do we believe that security can be achieved by making war on other countries or by causing distress and displacement to other populations.
We know that when war is waged, the negative impact is not felt by people in government, but by people of color and others who are disenfranchised, that is why we are standing in coalition with all these other people whose communities are going to bear the brunt of a potential war.
As Jews, we call on other Jews during these days of reflection and forgiveness surrounding our High Holidays, to make a commitment to advocate for military restraint and to stand up and defend innocent people who are the targets of racist acts by other Americans.