October 30, 2000
The month-long violence in Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories has sparked an alarming escalation in virulent anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence around the globe. From synagogues in France, to a British Jew stabbed while riding the bus, and from a Chicago rabbi shot at in his car to a sukkah set ablaze in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jews and Jewish institutions have come under violent attacks.
These incidents are occurring in a context of two troubling developments: vile anti-Jewish incitement from a number of Arab and Muslim religious leaders in many countries, and, here in America, disturbing statements and actions during some of the pro-Palestinian rallies being held in several cities.
In Britain two weeks ago, a demonstration led by a Muslim cleric featured such statements as “Down, down, USA, USA, you will pay, Osama is on his way,” and “the final hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews.” In America, some pro-Palestinian rallies have been characterized with such troubling acts as burning the Israeli flag, equating Jews, Judaism and Israel to Nazism, and most chillingly, chants of “Death to the Jews”.
We condemn the anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence occurring in connection with the Middle East violence.
The violence in the Middle East has stirred up understandable emotions across the globe. Jews, Arabs and Muslims seek to demonstrate their political sentiments in a number of ways, including by holding public rallies. It is incumbent upon leaders to set a tone of peace and to denounce hate-filled rhetoric and actions and to marginalize those in their ranks responsible for such divisive steps.
Peace in the Middle East and global, Jewish-Muslim intergroup civility and cooperation cannot be built amidst such an environment. The JCPA will persevere both in its support for Middle East peace and Jewish-Muslim understanding here in America.