In calling for this special vigil, Not In My Name, a Chicago-based organization of Jews critical of Israeli policies toward Palestinians, seeks to provide a special place for mourning and healing for all people. Standing together as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious community, we will join the world in grieving for the families of the untold thousands who perished in the brutal attacks on Tuesday. While we recognize that the depth of human darkness knows no boundary, we also recognize that the height of human kindness and decency knows no summit.
We declare our solidarity with the Arab-American and Muslim communities in particular because of the harassment and indignities they are experiencing at the hands of racists in our society. US and Israeli politicians, along with the media, have been quick to assign blame to groups of radical Muslims. With little critical analysis, the media have presented only negative images of Arabs to the American public, while denying them the positive images that are reserved for non-Arabs. Little or no mention is made of the letters of condolences from West Bank villages, from Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim leaders, or of the candlelight vigils of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
In short, the media have not informed the American public that even as 11 more Palestinians, including an 11-year old girl, were murdered on Wednesday, even as Israeli tanks invaded the Palestinian village of Jenin, even as Israel seized the Palestinian village of Jericho, even as more homes in Jerusalem were demolished, still thousands of Palestinians publicly mourned for the families of those killed in the United States. They, too, like their Israeli neighbors, know the grief that comes from vicious attacks on civilians.
In Chicago, as Arab-Americans and Muslims grieved along with their fellow citizens, a racist mob of hundreds descended upon Arab-America communities. We Jews, who know what it means to be scapegoated, also remember how the loyal Japanese American citizens were interned in concentration camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is our moral responsibility to ensure that this never happens again and to declare publicly that the Arabs, American or otherwise, Muslim or otherwise, are not our enemy.
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