Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Anti-Palestinian Bigotry

A Statement by JVP of Northern NJ

November 2, 2023

Amid the horrors currently going on in the Middle East, there have also been some terrible consequences around the world: the spread of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian bigotry.

We in Jewish Voice for Peace are deeply disturbed by and unequivocally condemn all forms of bigotry. No crime by the Israeli state or by individual Jews can justify the mistreatment of Israeli civilians, of Jews as a whole, of individual Jews because they are Jewish, or of innocent Jews anywhere. No crime by Muslim or Palestinian authorities or by individual Muslims or Palestinians can justify the mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza or the West Bank, of Muslims or Palestinians as a whole, of individuals because they are Muslim or Palestinian, or of innocent Muslims or Palestinians anywhere. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian bigotry are totally antithetical to all we stand for and are contrary to our vision of a world where all the people of Israel-Palestine can live together in peace and justice.

Antisemitism, which has surged worldwide as a result of the current war, has been felt in the United States. There have been acts and expressions of hate and bigotry, and we strongly condemn these. Some supporters of Israel, however, have tried to brand as antisemitism criticisms of the Israeli government and its policies. The Anti-Defamation League, for example, has declared that opposition to Zionism, the doctrine justifying the Jewish supremacist and apartheid policies of Israel, is automatically antisemitic. The ADL also considers resolutions calling for boycott, divestment, or sanctions (BDS) against Israel to be antisemitic. We reject the equation of criticisms of the Israel government with antisemitism. We reject as well the claim that pursuing nonviolent means of protesting the behavior of the Israeli government, such as BDS, is antisemitic. 

We understand the fears of many Jews that opposition to Zionism, support for BDS, and criticisms of the Israeli government and its policies put the Jewish people in danger. But we don’t agree. We believe that trying to maintain domination over an occupied and oppressed people is what puts Jewish peace and security in jeopardy. 

Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian bigotry have likewise grown worldwide and have also been felt in the United States. There have been acts and expressions of hate, and we strongly condemn these. We are especially concerned that, while there have been many individual acts of antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and Islamophobic bigotry, some Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian bigotry has been government and institutionally backed and some has been urged by prominent political figures. In Florida, Students for Justice in Palestine has been legally sanctioned. Nationwide, pro-Palestinian speakers have been cancelled. Members of Congress have called for the expedited deportation from the United States of Palestinian non-citizens, continue to urge establishing a contentious definition of antisemitism that includes criticism of Israel, have attacked colleges and students for allowing/engaging in protest in support of Palestinians, have condemned a video that referred to “occupied East Jerusalem,” and have sought to censure Congress’s only Palestinian representative, Rashida Tlaib, and expel members of the “squad.” And it continues to be the case that thirty-five U.S. states—including New Jersey, under a bill that we have always opposed—penalize in various ways those who support BDS. As Jews well know from their history, bigotry combined with state power is especially dangerous.

Many Jews, Muslims, Palestinians, and Israelis in the United States today are feeling extremely anxious. JVP urges people on all sides to make sure that their advocacy does not further antisemitism, Islamophobia, or bigotry of any kind.