The Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) strongly condemns the sharp rise in violence and threats to Jewish American and Muslim American communities and calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Our nation and our local area have seen an alarming increase in hate and bias incidents involving the Jewish and Muslim communities. In Seattle, in an instance of anti-Semitic intimidation, several synagogues have been targeted by mailings of unidentified and potentially hazardous white powders. Violent threats have been made to members of the Jewish community on campuses and neighborhoods across the country. We are also witness to anti-Muslim attacks, such as the murder of six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and assault of his mother in Illinois, and the injuries sustained by a Muslim Stanford University student who was hit by a car while the driver shouted anti-Islamic epithets.
JACL has long condemned and opposed anti-Islamic racism, especially since 9/11. We similarly stand in solidarity with local Jewish community organizations as both anti-Semitic and anti-Asian hate incidents have surged in the past several years. We join with Muslim Americans and Jewish Americans to forthrightly state: hate and bias have no place in our society. We urge all who support justice to unite in defense of those subjected to attacks based on race, ethnicity, and religion.
We also must acknowledge that world events have a huge impact on the treatment of communities here in the United States. We know this all too well as the history of racist incarceration and xenophobia targeting our own Japanese American communities was a direct result of the conflict between the U.S. and Japan in World War II.
The horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7 and the Israeli military’s ongoing relentless siege of Gaza have deeply affected us all. We are appalled by the immense loss of human life in the region, and condemn the targeting and killing of civilians, whether Israeli or Palestinian. We are outraged at the kidnappings and murder of over 1,200 Israeli civilians including children and the elderly that occurred on October 7, 2023. And we decry the ongoing mass killings, indiscriminate bombing, and forced displacement of civilians in Gaza that have resulted in over 11,000 deaths, nearly half of them children. The Israeli government’s disproportionate use of force and harming of innocent civilians violates basic tenets of morality, human decency, and international law. This unmitigated violence must stop.
Our U.S. government, which maintains a major diplomatic and military presence in the region, must demand that the Israeli government immediately cease its military operations in and bombing of Gaza, advocate for direct negotiations for the safe release of all hostages, and insist on swift delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Any further action or assistance by the U.S. government on behalf of the American people should be aimed solely at stopping further death and destruction in Gaza and Israel.
Here in America, we are witnessing how violence descends into more violence. The unmitigated bloodshed and human suffering in Israel and Gaza have reverberated throughout all of our communities, with Jewish American and Muslim American communities especially experiencing deep pain and harm. Conversely, a just peace that protects the humanity of all Palestinians and Israelis with a long term, constructive resolution of conflict in this region will contribute to uniting our communities so we can eradicate hate and bias here in the U.S.
In the face of a surge in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic bias and attacks locally and throughout the U.S., we call upon everyone to be a voice for safety, support, and protection of Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during this time of devastating international crisis.
Immediate Action to Take
If you agree with this statement, please share it with your Members of Congress ASAP with a request that they demand the Biden Administration support an immediate ceasefire, send humanitarian aid, and stop all financial and military support for the war.