Category Archives: Statements

CJP/JCRC Statement on August 14 Vandalism of New England Holocaust Memorial

We are appalled and saddened that the New England Holocaust Memorial was vandalized Monday night for the second time in just 6 weeks. The images of Nazis marching in the streets of America over the weekend in Charlottesville and now shattered glass once again at this sacred space in Boston are an affront to our Jewish community and to all those who stand-up against bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism. We thank the Boston Police and the Public Works Department for their rapid response and for their continuing support during this difficult time. We will remain resilient and will have a timeline for rebuilding the memorial once we have assessed the damage.

For information about the New England Holocaust Memorial or to make a donation, visit www.nehm.org/donate.



 

The Memorial consists of six towers representing the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust; the six years from 1939-1945 during which the “final solution” took place, and; the six main death camps where the majority of Europe’s Jews – men, women, and children – were murdered. The Memorial, which was created by Holocaust survivors who made a new life in the Boston area, is open 24-7.

The New England Holocaust Memorial, located on Congress Street across from City Hall, is managed by CJP in partnership with JCRC.

CJP and JCRC Statement on Violence and Bigotry in Charlottesville

We are heartbroken and outraged by the events in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. We join with the many of our member organizations who have already condemned both the violence perpetrated, and the message of racism, anti-semitism and other xenophobic views we heard today.

We are dismayed by the response of the President. This is, as the American Jewish Committee said today, "a time for moral clarity." Condemning "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" blurs the truth and gives a pass to neo-Nazi perpetrators. We join with our national network, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, in calling on President Trump to unequivocally condemn the white nationalist marchers and their movement.

We pray that calm will be restored, and that all people of good will can come together in confronting hate and bigotry in all its forms. We mourn the loss of life and we pray for those injured today.

We can and must be better than this.

CJP and JCRC Statement on the Murder of the Salomon Family

We are reeling from news of the murder of three members of the Salomon family in the West Bank community of Halamish.

On Friday night, Yosef and Tova Salomon sat down to Shabbat dinner with two of their children and five grandchildren. The family had gathered to celebrate the birth of a new grandson.

As the family waited for guests to join the celebration, a 19-year-old Palestinian from a nearby village entered the home armed with a knife and attacked the family members. He stabbed to death Yosef (70), his daughter Chaya Salomon (46), son Elad (36), and seriously wounded Yosef’s wife, Tova. A neighbor, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, and rushed to the home, shooting and wounding the attacker.

Photographs of the Salomon home released by the army show the shocking savagery of the attack. Tova Salomon underwent surgery on Saturday morning and awoke to learn that her husband and two of their children were dead.

The mother of the terrorist released a video in which she says that she is “proud of her son.” Sadly, this is an all too common response; one born from the rampant anti-Israel incitement that poisons generation after generation of Palestinian children. The Salomon family, like the Fogel family and Hallel Yaffe Ariel, and Dafna Meir, and so many other innocent Israeli men and women, have paid for this hatred with their lives.

Our heart breaks knowing another Israeli family is destroyed, another community is ripped apart, and a country and its people are in mourning. As always, the people of Israel are in our hearts, our hopes, and our prayers.

On Friday, CJP issued a statement about the ongoing unrest in Israel. Since then the situation has remained volatile with four Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces, and another killed when a petrol bomb he was planning to throw exploded prematurely.

We are devastated by the loss of innocent lives and pray for reason and calm to prevail. We ask God to make true the words in Psalms, “May the Almighty grant strength to God's people; May the Almighty bless God’s people with peace.”

 

Barry Shrage                   Jeremy Burton
President, CJP               Executive Director, JCRC

CJP/JCRC Statement on New England Holocaust Memorial Vandalism

We are deeply saddened to learn this morning of an act of vandalism that damaged the New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston overnight.

Early today one of the Memorial’s 132 glass panels was shattered in an act of vandalism. Each panel is etched with thousands of numbers representing the infamous tattoos inflected on the arms of many of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Even as we are angered by this act of desecration against a Memorial remembering the darkest chapter in human history, we are grateful for the rapid response of the Boston Police Department.  Based on what we currently know, they have a suspect in custody and that he will be charged with willful malicious destruction of property as well as a civil rights violation. CJP maintains 24-hour video surveillance of the Memorial and is providing the video of this event to Boston Police Department.

We are heartened by the outpouring of concern we have already seen by members of all communities as a result of this sickening crime.

The Memorial consists of six towers representing the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust; the six years from 1939-1945 during which the “final solution” took place, and; the six main death camps where the majority of Europe’s Jews – men, women, and children – were murdered. The Memorial, which was created by Holocaust survivors who made a new life in the Boston area, is open 24-7.

The New England Holocaust Memorial, located on Congress Street across from City Hall, is managed by CJP in partnership with JCRC.

If you'd like to support NEHM, visit nehm.org or click here to donate now. 

JCPA Condemns Shooting of Congressman Scalise

The following statement was issued on June 15, 2017 by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the national network of Jewish Community Relations Councils.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs strongly condemns the senseless shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and several capitol police during baseball practice yesterday.

We pray for the full recovery of all victims.

The shootings are yet another reminder of the importance of reinforcing our democratic  pluralist ethos and a political culture of respect.

We call on our public officials, civic and religious leaders to do all we can can to embrace our differences.  America is made up of diversity: diverse opinions, cultures, ethnicities, races, and religions.

"Political violence has no place in a democracy," stated David Bernstein, president and CEO of JCPA. "Our only response is to advance the kind of society in which such acts become unthinkable. We've got a ways to go."

JCRC Statement regarding proposed MA Democratic Party Resolution

In response to press inquiries regarding the proposed resolution on peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton has offered the following statement on behalf of JCRC:

"We share the sentiment of the resolution's sponsors that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security achieved through a two-state solution. However, this resolution presents a simplistic response to a complex conflict. By offering a one-dimensional response to a multi-dimensional problem, the resolution is a failed opportunity to offer constructive guidance on how to achieve peace. We urge people of good will to support those Israelis and Palestinians on the ground who are working together to create the conditions of co-existence and mutual respect that are necessary for achieving the peace we all yearn for.

This is a time of great uncertainty in the world. Serious questions are being raised about our own governments' ability to lead. Given the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria, the challenge of North Korea, and the threats to liberal democratic institutions in Europe, among other issues, we are interested to see if the proponents will put forth a comprehensive foreign policy platform articulating American interests in the world and addressing the numerous international challenges we must face.

We share the drafters' sense of urgency that together we must address rising anti-Muslim hate in the wake of the election. We are curious why the resolution does not address the actual policies that are being advanced in Washington, such as limiting visitors to the U.S. from several majority-Muslim countries and closing our doors to immigrants and refugees from the Muslim and Arab world. We would hope that any serious response to rising anti-Muslim sentiment in Washington would address these issues as well as the increase in hate targeting our Muslim neighbors here in Massachusetts and around the country."

JCRC Statement of Concern about Knesset Outpost Bill

Late Monday evening, Israel's Knesset adopted legislation to legitimize previously unrecognized Jewish outposts in areas beyond the Green Line. JCRC of Greater Boston joins the AJC and ADL in expressing significant concerns about this action by the Knesset.

This controversial decision moves Israel further away from the only feasible path to peace; a two-state solution. JCRC has long supported a negotiated two-state solution, a position which is consistently shown by polls to be supported by most Israelis. We are deeply disappointed by this legislation, which has been met with criticism from many in Israel, including the attorney general who has described it as unconstitutional and in contravention of international law. We hope that Israel takes meaningful steps to enable the realization of two states for two people living side-by-side in peace.

Communal Joint Statement on Immigration and Refugees

“We Must Not Close Our Doors”

In response to the executive orders this past week on immigration and separately regarding refugees, we, the undersigned Boston Jewish religious, philanthropic, civic and human service organizations come together to say that these actions - which are causing anxiety, pain and anguish throughout immigrant communities and our nation – are unjust.  We stand together on the side of empathy and religious tolerance and we urge the administration to open the gates of compassion to those seeking safety, regardless of their faith or country of origin.

We urge our elected and appointed officials at all levels of government to do everything in their legal authority to protect our foreign born neighbors throughout the Commonwealth. We urge our community and others to join together and work to ensure that the United States does not close our doors to immigrants and refugees. We urge our government to maintain and expand a policy of responsible leadership for the protection and resettlement of refugee families, including in the United States and including innocent civilians fleeing the horrors in Syria.

The Torah warns against the wronging of a stranger (Ger) in thirty-six places. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks takes note that “there is something striking about this almost endlessly iterated concern for the stranger – together with the historical reminder that “you yourselves were slaves in Egypt.” Sacks goes on:

  “Why should you not hate the stranger? – asks the Torah. Because you once stood where he stands now. You know the heart of the stranger because you were once a stranger in the land of Egypt. If you are human, so is he. If he is less than human, so are you… I made you into the world’s archetypal strangers so that you would fight for the rights of strangers – for your own and those of others, wherever they are, whoever they are, whatever the color of their skin or the nature of their culture, because though they are not in your image – says God – they are nonetheless in Mine. There is only one reply strong enough to answer the question: Why should I not hate the stranger? Because the stranger is me.”

At the current moment, Jewish Vocational Service is serving some five hundred refugee clients in Boston, many of whom are waiting to be reunited with family members. Jewish Family Service of Metrowest is leading a collaboration of area synagogues to resettle refugee families with young children, with additional families - including Syrian Muslims and Ukrainian Jews -already screened, approved and ready to arrive in the coming weeks. All of these families are experiencing a great deal of anxiety and pain, and, for those who may be prevented from arriving, the potential for additional great suffering. The organized Jewish community of Boston and our human service agencies remain committed to our work in service to these families and their needs.

We share the belief that it is long past time for our nation to enact comprehensive immigration reform. We affirm our commitment to work for reform that maintains our commitment to being a welcoming nation that does not close its doors to immigrants, that addresses border security, and that provides a path to normalization of the status of those already living here – the overwhelming majority of whom share the same desires as every generation of American immigrant and refugee families; safety, security and the opportunity to pursue the promise of the American Dream for themselves and their children. We believe that the United States has the moral responsibility and the capacity to welcome at least as many refugees as we have been doing in recent years, with appropriate and diligent screening.

The approach to addressing these issues that was announced this past week is rooted in a rhetoric of fear and demonization and a policy that treats human beings around the world – including endangered refugees, many of whom are children who are suffering in devastating conditions - as an enforcement problem. We believe that these issues must be approached as a humanitarian matter, with a commitment to the dignity and welfare of all peoples.

Our community knows all too well the suffering that comes when America turns away refugees. We have experienced first-hand the extraordinary contributions that we as immigrants and the children of immigrants have brought to the American endeavor by adding to the prosperity and creativity of our nation. As Jews we came to this country often fleeing danger and oppression, and often we were unwelcome and discriminated against upon our arrival. We came to pursue our hopes, to practice our faith freely, and to realize the promise of America. We must not close our doors to those around the world who seek these same opportunities today.

We reject any effort to shut our nation’s doors on the most vulnerable. We recommit ourselves to the work of protecting and advancing the dignity of all human beings and to preventing suffering in this world.

Undersigned

AJC New England
Anti-Defamation League, New England Region
Boston Jewish Film Festival
Boston Workmen's Circle
Brown students for Israel
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Congregation Dorshei Tzedek
The David Project
Gateways: Access to Jewish Education
Hadassah Northeast
Hebrew College
Hebrew Senior Life
Hillel Council of New England
J Street
JCC Greater Boston
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Arts Collaborative
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly
Jewish Community Relations  Council of Greater Boston
Jewish Family and Children's Services
Jewish Family Service of Metrowest
Jewish Labor Committee, New England
Jewish Vocational Service
JUMP (Justice and Unity in Mideast Policy)
Keshet
Massachusetts Board of Rabbis
Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center
Minyan Kol Rinah
Moishe Kavod House
New Israel Fund
Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
Temple Beth Avodah, Newton
Temple Beth Shalom of Needham
Temple Emunah, Lexington
Temple Israel of Boston
Temple Shalom of Newton
Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester
Tufts Hillel
Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture
Yad Chessed Fund, Inc.

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We Stand Together Against Discrimination

Boston, MA (January 25, 2017) – Today, An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts was filed by sponsors Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) and Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representative Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) and Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) in a bipartisan effort to prohibit discrimination in state contracts system of Massachusetts.

“This bill harnesses the economic influence of our state to strengthen existing anti-discrimination laws and ensure that the state does not unwittingly use tax payer funds to subsidize discriminatory conduct,” said JCRC Director of Government Affairs Aaron Agulnek. “It would also require anyone applying for a state contract to certify that they are in compliance with Massachusetts laws prohibiting discrimination and that they will not discriminate against another in the business context based on the targeted individual’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

“After meeting with parties on all sides of this issue, I am filing this bill which simply prevents the state from contracting with parties who fail to affirm that they will abide by the state’s anti-discrimination laws – including those that prevent discrimination based on national origin” said Senator Cynthia Creem (D. Newton).  “I believe this bipartisan legislation protects individual rights, while also sending a strong message that Massachusetts will not do business with those engaging in discrimination.”

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this legislation that prevents discrimination in state contracts,” said Representative Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham). “This important and meaningful legislation will move our economy forward while preventing further discrimination based on divisive labels that have no bearing on business in the Commonwealth.”

“This is a proud moment where the legislature can stand together in support of Israel” said Representative Steven Howitt. “This bill clarifies to businesses that either support BDS or who boycott Israeli-owned businesses and products that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will not engage in commerce with them. I look forward to its quick passage.”

This consensus bill has garnered wide support representing a broad consensus of Jewish communal organizations.

Under this law, BDS boycotts targeting Israeli business owners based solely on national origin would be considered discrimination. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Executive Director, Andrea Levin said: "We strongly commend this important bipartisan bill that underscores Massachusetts will act against discriminatory treatment of Israel. We're proud that our state joins others in this vital national effort."  The proposed legislation supports the Commonwealth’s historic commitment to fighting discrimination and ensures that those engaging in discriminatory conduct will not reap the benefit of a state contract.

“J Street welcomes legislation under consideration by the Massachusetts state legislature designed to prohibit the state government from contracting with businesses that engage in discriminatory boycotts on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation” said J Street New England Regional Director, Shaina Wasserman. “We believe that it is important to stand up against discrimination in all its forms, including, of course, anti-Semitism and discrimination against Israelis.

Anti-Defamation League Regional Director, Robert O. Trestan, added:

“This legislation recognizes and rejects the insidious and destructive nature of BDS campaigns. We hope this legislative initiative will serve as an important catalyst that eliminates discrimination when it comes to doing business with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The legislation recognizes the strength of the Massachusetts-Israel economic partnership and assures both Israeli and Massachusetts businesses owners, entrepreneurs and investors that the Commonwealth is truly open for businesses.

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JCRC Urges Withdrawal or Veto of U.N. Security Council Resolution

JCRC of Greater Boston believes that, based on a review of the available draft, the resolution to be considered by the UN Security Council this afternoon presents a too broad, un-nuanced, and unproductive approach to Israel's construction and settlement beyond the Green Line.

We do not feel that this resolution - as drafted and considered in such a hasty and secretive manner - is a productive contribution to the pursuit of the negotiated two-state resolution for peace that we cherish. We urge the sponsors to withdraw the resolution, and the United States to veto it - as the Obama administration  has done in the past on similar resolutions.