Video: Jews recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia

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Network Against Islamophobia (NAI)

We are pleased to share with you a new resource—the Network  Against  Islamophobia (NAI), a project of JVP. http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/campaigns/standing-against-islamophobia

Email: nai@jvp.org

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Jewish Groups Welcome the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Call on the Museum to Ensure Dignity and Respect for All

For Immediate Release      

Contact: Donna Nevel 917-570-4371 denevel@gmail.com

Jewish Groups Welcome the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Call on the Museum to Ensure Dignity and Respect for All

May 20, 2014   At 6:00 P.M. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 21, the day on which the National September 11 Memorial Museum officially opens its doors to the public, several Jewish organizations and allies will gather for a vigil in front of the Museum (Liberty Street) to call upon it to edit its six-minute video, The Rise of Al Qaeda, so that it avoids language that helps create a climate in which hatred, discrimination, and violence thrive.

According to Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organizer of the vigil, “We know that the National September 11Memorial Museum will play a unique and invaluable role in educating the public about September 11.  But we are concerned that many people who come from all over the world, and who are not well informed about Muslims and Islam, will come away with inaccuracies and misconceptions. That would do an injustice to the Muslim community and to all our communities.”

The Jewish groups gathering in front of the Museum honor the memory of those who perished on that date and also call upon the Museum to take seriously the concerns expressed by its own multi-faith advisory council, scholars, leading Muslim American and Arab American organizations, and community leaders. According to a letter signed by 400 scholars world-wide, “Labels to describe organizations such as al-Qaeda are heavily disputed among academics, and in a public environment, without proper explanation and historical context, these terms could easily mislead and assign collective responsibility to Muslims and Islam.”

As Marjorie Dove Kent from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, another of the vigil’s co-sponsoring groups, made clear, “The video’s current script will reinforce a dangerous falsehood at the heart of a post-September 11 narrative: that all Muslims are responsible for the attacks on September 11. Connecting Islam as a religion with the September 11 attackers has helped drive a national backlash against Muslims and those assumed to be Muslims—Arab Americans, Sikhs and other South Asians.”  This backlash has included individual anti-Muslim hate crimes and government policies and actions, such as the New York Police Department (NYPD) program that has targeted Muslims because of their religion, not because of indicators of criminal activity—a program that, according to a prominent NYPD official, “never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.”

“Jews have long resisted the idea of ‘collective guilt’ as applied to Jews,” said Dorothy Zellner of Jews Say No!, another one of the organizing groups. “Editing this video for fairness will prevent the acts of a small group from being associated with an entire worldreligion. We are standing here today as Jews, together with our allies, to reflect our profound commitment to dignity and respect for all.”

The vigil is co-sponsored by several Jewish organizations–Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace—New York, Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace—Westchester.

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From Islamophobic surveillance to ‘stop and frisk': Organizers decry criminalization of their communities in NYC

Islamophobic subway ads, “stop and frisk” and the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) surveillance program–what’s the connection? Activists and experts spoke out last night to make explicit the links between all of these seemingly separate strands of discrimination in the city. Continue reading

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Islamophobia and Palestine: A Panel Discussion (November 2014)

Jewish Responses to Islamophobia 2014

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“9/11 Museum Is Fifth Misuse of the Tragedy”

Two days ago the 9/11 Memorial and Museum opened to the public, and the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition held a protest of the museum’s exhibits. Continue reading

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Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition (JAIC) In NYC

On the day before the May 21, 2014 opening in New York City of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition (Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice) held a demonstration against a six-minute film, “The Rise of Al-Qaeda,” that was part of the museum exhibit. Continue reading

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Please join us on May 21 for a vigil in front of the National September 11 Memorial Museum

Please join us from 6:00 til 7:30 PM on Wednesday, May 21st
in front of the National September 11 Memorial Museum
Liberty Street

On Wednesday, May 21, the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which will play a unique role in educating the public about September 11, will open.

As we honor the memory of those who perished on 9/11, please join us to call upon the Museum to edit a six-minute video, The Rise of Al Qaeda, that contains disturbing terminology linking Islam with terrorism and that fails to contextualize al-Qaeda. We call upon the Museum to take seriously the concerns expressed by its multi-faith advisory council, scholars world-wide, leading Muslim American and Arab American organizations, and community leaders. The video’s current script will reinforce a dangerous falsehood at the heart of a post-September 11 narrative: that all Muslims are responsible for the attacks on September 11.

The conflation of Islam with the September 11 attackers has helped drive a national anti-Muslim backlash, including actions by government officials.

The communities being directly impacted by the distortions in this video—Muslims, Arab Americans, Sikhs, and other South Asians—are not asking for special treatment, but rather fairness and clarity in order to ensure that the acts of a small group are not conflated with or attached to an entire world religion. Let us stand together with dignity and respect for all.

This will be a silent vigil to hand out our leaflets to passers-by as they enter the Museum. Signs will be provided.

Co-sponsored by: Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace–New York, Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace–Westchester

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Jewish Groups Urge National September 11 Museum: Don’t Fuel Anti-Muslim Sentiment

For Immediate Release

Amy Helfant jewsagainstislamophobia@gmail.com
Donna Nevel 917-570-4371; denevel@gmail.com

Jewish Groups Urge National September 11 Museum: Don’t Fuel Anti-Muslim Sentiment

April 29, 2014 The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition deplores the refusal of the National September 11 Memorial Museum to edit its video, “The Rise of Al Qaeda,” to address the concerns expressed by its multi-faith advisory council, leading American Muslim and Arab American organizations, and community leaders. Protests by those within these communities have highlighted, for example, both the use in the video of problematic terminology that links Islam with terrorism and the failure to contextualize al-Qaeda. As a result, the video’s current script will reinforce a dangerous falsehood at the heart of the post-September 11 narrative: that all Muslims are responsible for the attacks on September 11.

We have seen this misconception play out locally and across the country. Most notable in New York City was the virulent opposition in 2010 to the proposed building of Park51, a Muslim community center and mosque, several blocks from Ground Zero. Hatred and fear of all Muslims were clear in the chants and signs of protesters, the venom that filled the airwaves of the right-wing media, the statements of conservative politicians, the attacks on Muslims and Sikhs and their institutions, and the speeches and writing of anti-Muslim ideologues. The conflation of Islam with the radical beliefs of the September 11 attackers made possible the ugly confrontations and the media circus around Park51.

This conflation has helped drive an anti-Muslim backlash throughout the United States, with hate crimes against Muslims, and those assumed to be Muslims—Arabs, as well as Sikhs and other South Asians. But the backlash is reflected in far more than the attacks on individuals, mosques, and Sikh temples, or a compilation of hate crime statistics (gathered by government agencies that have themselves been busy spying on the Muslim community, planting informers in their institutions, and infiltrating their mosques). Most significantly, this backlash has been institutionalized, with the government funding the training of public security personnel by advocates of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, Congressional hearings reinforcing the idea that American Muslims are a major threat to the country, and states passing laws, pushed by those who demonize Islam, against the mythical threat of “Sharia law” to the U.S. judicial system.

The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition fully supports the Muslim community and others striving to create a country in which all people are respected and safe. We believe that all institutions—but especially those, like the National September 11 Memorial Museum, that receive government funding—have a responsibility to prevent misconceptions or propaganda that contribute to hatred, discrimination, and violence against members of any group. We are aware from our own history of the consequences of stereotyping, scapegoating, and dehumanizing people and believe it is imperative that the movie be edited. We hope that the Museum will reconsider its initial refusal to follow the recommendations of its own advisory council and respond to the issues raised by Muslim and Arab American leaders.

Jews Against Islamophobia (JAIC) is a coalition that consists of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and Jews Say No! (JSN!). 

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Jewish Responses to Islamophobia and Anti-Arab Racism

For Immediate Release

Contact:  
Amy Helfant jaicpress@gmail.com
Donna Nevel  denevel@gmail.com

Jewish Responses to Islamophobia and Anti-Arab Racism

Nov. 20, 2013   Tomorrow, November 21st, at 7:30 PM, Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition (JAIC) will present a roundtable conversation on “Jewish Responses to Islamophobia and Anti-Arab Racism” at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, 57 Bethune Street, Manhattan.  The event is endorsed by Tikkun Magazine.

Panelists include Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah; Rabbi Guy Austrian of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center; Marjorie Dove Kent, executive director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice; and Donna Nevel, community psychologist and activist/writer on Islamophobia.  Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, will moderate.

“We are very excited to have this distinguished group of speakers, and we thank Rabbi Kleinbaum and the CBST community for hosting this event, “ said Vilkomerson, who also stressed that “we hope this crucial conversation will take place in Jewish community spaces across the city.”

According to civil rights lawyer Alan Levine of Jews Say No, “The conversation is an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves as a community about whether we are doing enough to battle Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.  My generation grew up hearing about how the world stood by when we were being persecuted– with the current climate of anti-Muslim sentiment and action on the streets and by the NYPD, we are called upon to ask ourselves the question of where we stand during this time.”

The panelists and audience will engage with a range of issues, including:
• How can we partner with the Muslim community and others fighting Islamophobia and racism?
• How can we build support within the Jewish community, and why are these issues important to Jews?
• What strategies have we found effective in bringing about change?
• What challenges do we face?

This is the last in a three-part series hosted by JAIC. The first two parts, with speakers from the Muslim community as well as other impacted communities, were “Making the Connections, Organizing for Change: Anti-Muslim Hate Speech, Government Policies, Police Surveillance, and Stop and Frisk” and “Islamophobia, Empire & U.S. Politics: What Are Its Roots? How Do We Respond?”

The CBST sanctuary is wheelchair accessible.

The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition is composed of Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Jews Say No!

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