Tag Archives: JCRC Statement

Community Response to BDS Supported Mapping Project

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Under the guise of an interactive map, the innocuously named “Mapping Project” is promoting a list of Jewish communal organizations in Massachusetts that it contends are “responsible for colonization of Palestine or other harms such as policing, US Imperialism and displacement”. Virtually every Jewish organization in the Commonwealth, along with its leadership, is listed in this map along with the relationships of each to civic, governmental, university and other community organizations. Whether those relationships were cultivated by the Jewish institution or the community organization, the underlying messages are clear: Jews are responsible for the ills of our community and if you maintain your relationship with Jewish organizations, you will share that responsibility.

It is a list with names and organizations to be shunned, isolated and disenfranchised. And it draws on age-old antisemitic tropes that are all too clear to our community: Jewish wealth, control and conspiracies.

But we will not be intimidated and we will not be silent.

As a Jewish community, and one that has made allyship and outreach the cornerstones of our work, we condemn this demonization of the Boston Jewish community and attack on its relationship with others. This is no thinly veiled attempt to target the Jewish community – it is an explicit one that is keeping lists and naming names.

At a time when antisemitism, including antisemitic attacks on the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel intensify, we in Boston will stand together and continue our work building bridges, supporting our allies and each other, and confronting antisemitism where we see it and when we experience it – as we do today. And we ask you to join us in helping our friends and community leaders and organizations recognize the antisemitism embedded in this hate-filled effort and ask them to join us in calling this out.

We have just marked the 20 year anniversary of the dedication of the Zakim Bridge – a visual reminder of the bridge-building led by Lenny Zakim. At this moment, let us take inspiration from his words as we join together:

We have the power to change things. It doesn’t take much to start a revolution of thought and spirit. It takes one person and then another. When it works, it’s a work of art.

Statement from JCRCs on Congressional Funding of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System

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Statement from Jewish Community Relations Councils on Congressional
Funding of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System

September 23, 2021

As Jewish Community Relations Councils deeply committed to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we thank the 420 Members of Congress who voted to fully fund the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. This overwhelming bipartisan vote demonstrates the commitment of the United States to upholding the special relationship with Israel and reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself. We are deeply disappointed with those Members from our own delegations who failed to support this uniquely bipartisan vote.

The Iron Dome determines which rockets are likely to hit civilian areas and attempts to destroy them mid-air, thus saving lives. Without the Iron Dome, rockets launched by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and other terror organizations would surely maim and murder countless additional Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as well as Palestinians. Simply put, Iron Dome limits severe escalation of the conflict on a near-daily basis.

Objecting to funding this purely defensive technology reveals an attempt to further isolate and delegitimize Israel. We are proud that the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans are committed to funding the Iron Dome.

Signed:

Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Indianapolis 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Louisville 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas 
Jewish Community Relations Council of New York 
Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis 
Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee of Detroit

Joint ADL/JCRC Statement regarding Genocide Education Bill

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ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) are pleased to support S2557, An Act concerning genocide education, as reported by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means this afternoon. We are grateful to Chair Rodrigues and his team for their leadership on this strong bill that achieves key objectives in providing schools across the Commonwealth with access to resources to implement genocide education programs. Through lessons about the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and other instances of genocide, such programs will serve to ensure that students learn to recognize and fight hate in their communities.

Genocide education is key to combating hate by helping students understand how seemingly benign stereotypes and prejudice can turn into atrocity. Over the last several years, we have seen a significant rise in hateful incidents in our communities, paired with a dangerous downturn in knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides. We appreciate the support of the House and Senate Chairs of the Joint Committee on Education in moving this legislation forward early in session and hope to see it make its way to Governor Baker’s desk as swiftly as possible.

Statement from JCRCs on Congressional Funding of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Capture


Statement from Jewish Community Relations Councils on Congressional
Funding of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System

September 23, 2021

As Jewish Community Relations Councils deeply committed to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we thank the 420 Members of Congress who voted to fully fund the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. This overwhelming bipartisan vote demonstrates the commitment of the United States to upholding the special relationship with Israel and reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself. We are deeply disappointed with those Members from our own delegations who failed to support this uniquely bipartisan vote.

The Iron Dome determines which rockets are likely to hit civilian areas and attempts to destroy them mid-air, thus saving lives. Without the Iron Dome, rockets launched by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and other terror organizations would surely maim and murder countless additional Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as well as Palestinians. Simply put, Iron Dome limits severe escalation of the conflict on a near-daily basis.

Objecting to funding this purely defensive technology reveals an attempt to further isolate and delegitimize Israel. We are proud that the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans are committed to funding the Iron Dome.

Signed:

Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Indianapolis 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Louisville 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas 
Jewish Community Relations Council of New York 
Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis 
Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee of Detroit

Statement by Board President Regarding Membership Process

For Release: September 25, 2020
 
Statement by Stacey Bloom, Board President, JCRC of Greater Boston
 
In recent weeks, various parties and community members have reached out to express an opinion to JCRC in both public and private communications, about ZOA’s continued membership on the JCRC Council. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the professional leadership of the JCRC, I want to clarify the status and decision making process regarding the challenge to the ZOA’s continued membership on the Council.
 
Several weeks ago, JCRC received a petition from 25 of the 117 voting members of our Council challenging the continued membership of the Boston chapter of ZOA on the Council - our governing body —whose members represent our 40 member organizations (who each have between 1 and 4 voting representatives) and the community-at-large. Pursuant to our Bylaws, this petition has been referred to JCRC’s Membership Committee for review and for a recommendation. The Membership Committee has a maximum of 180 days to make its recommendation on the petition to the Board. After the Board has reviewed the Membership Committee’s recommendation, the petition will be referred to the Council. Once referred to the Council, the JCRC Bylaws require that the full Council vote on the petition.
 
The decision on the petition challenging the ZOA’s membership on the JCRC Council is a decision that will be made by the JCRC Council, not by the Membership Committee, not by the Board, and not by the JCRC professional leadership. Until such time as the petition is presented to the Council, the JCRC will continue our important work advocating on issues of shared importance for the Jewish community during these challenging times. 
 
When the JCRC Council receives the petition in accordance with the Bylaws, it will be the Council—the 40 organizations and community representatives—and Council alone that will determine who belongs at the Council table.

On January 17, 2019, at a meeting of the Council of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the following resolution was adopted by a vote of 62-13 with 8 abstentions:

Whereas, in 1944 the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) was formed as a coalition of organizations to act as an organized Jewish community of Boston, the express purpose of this coalition being to confront, in a unified manner, threats to the Jewish community including and specifically anti-Semitism; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s mission includes being a “representative voice of the organized Jewish community.  Rooted in Jewish values and informed by Jewish history… Comprised of constituent organizations” ; And,

Whereas, as a coalition of organizations JCRC advocates for a “safe, secure, Jewish, democratic state of Israel” ; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s bylaws articulate that with regard to an organization’s eligibility to be a member of the JCRC, “the programs, activities, and practices of such organization and, if applicable, its parent organization, are compatible and do not conflict with the mission” of JCRC; And

Whereas, JCRC has, for many years, understood support for the global BDS movement to be an indicator of an organization’s denial of the legitimate national aspirations of the Jewish people to a state of our own in our homeland, and; has understood such denial to be incompatible with support for a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel, and thus, to be antithetical to our mission; And

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization that claims for itself an identity as a Jewish voice, while explicitly and unequivocally placing itself in opposition to Zionism, including: Fully rejecting the national aspirational movement of the Jewish people; making false and tendentious claims about Jewish history and the experience of Jews both in Europe and in Arab countries, and; defining Zionism as false and failed; That such an organization is speaking and acting from an ahistorical ideology that places itself outside the boundaries of the organized Jewish community that JCRC has been formed to represent. Additionally, such an organization is lending credence and validity to similarly noxious and anti-Semitic views outside the Jewish community; And,

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization rejects the very legitimacy of Jewish national aspirations and, in the same breath, legitimizes and aligns itself with the national aspirations of other peoples, that such a position is, itself, holding the Jewish state to an unjust double standard; And,

Whereas, the JCRC understands such a self-identified Jewish organization to be, through its own words and actions, advancing an ideology that is expressly in opposition to a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel; and, further, that such an ideology is riven with frameworks and analysis that place it in opposition to the mission of JCRC.

Now therefore be it,

Resolved, that no member organization of JCRC, through its programs, activities and practices, shall partner with – in particular by co-sponsoring events primarily led or co-led by or by signing on to statements primarily organized or co-organized by - a self-identified Jewish organization that declares itself to be anti-Zionist;

such action is not compatible with, and is in conflict with, JCRC’s mission, and could be grounds for removal from the JCRC upon the determination of and through the procedures of this Council and its bylaws.

 

 

JCRC Dismayed by Elimination of Funds for Israeli-Palestinian Co-existence

JCRC is strongly opposed to the recent Trump Administration decision to eliminate USAID funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We are particularly disturbed by the Administration’s decision to cut off funding for co-existence programs for Israelis and Palestinians. The suspension of all USAID support will harm the chances for peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and will only serve to punish the Palestinian people for the failures of their leadership and create an opportunity for extremist groups to gain strength in the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli-Palestinian co-existence programs are the best long-term strategy for achieving peace and the two-state solution. The support of co-existence programs allows the United States to exert its global influence to create change that speaks to our deepest values of justice, dignity, and peace. JCRC calls on the Trump Administration to reverse this decision, and to rethink how United States aid can be used to encourage rather than discourage peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Boston JCRC Statement Regarding Nomination of David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

The announcement of David Friedman as United States Ambassador-designate to Israel has been received with much discussion and diverse reactions within our community.

Many within the organized Jewish community find cause to be hopeful that the coming administration presents an opportunity to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Not least of the reasons for this optimism are President-Elect Trump’s repeated declarations of concern for Israel’s security and his valuing of Israel as a close ally of the United States. Additionally, President-Elect Trump has, on several occasions, talked of his desire to help negotiate a resolution to the conflict for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

JCRC believes that it is the prerogative of any President to appoint qualified cabinet members and ambassadors who will advance his or her priorities and agenda. Still, the expressed views and activities on a range of matters by David Friedman raise serious questions about whether he can and will effectively advance the United States’ long held commitment to a two-state resolution.

For over two decades it has been the bipartisan policy of the United States government, of the government of Israel – including the current Prime Minister – and of JCRC and our organized Jewish community to work for a two-state solution. Whether President-Elect Trump supports a two-state solution, or believes that an ambassador who does not share his commitment to same can still carry out U.S. policy, is a matter of vital concern.  We urge the Senate to clarify this issue during Mr. Friedman’s confirmation hearings.

We take this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the organized Jewish community of Boston to achieving a two-state solution - to be achieved through direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians - as the only viable approach that will ensure Israel's security and future as a Jewish and democratic state. The realization of this goal may take time but it is dependent on keeping this option viable. JCRC will continue to devote our own efforts to expanding the potential for achieving it. JCRC will therefore oppose any change in U.S. policy that moves our nation away from support for achieving a two-state resolution.

Additionally, JCRC believes that it is intolerable that any representative of the United States - particularly one who would represent our nation to the Jewish state - could and does refer to members of our Jewish community as “worse than Kapos” or “not Jewish.” Further, we know that the Middle East is a tinderbox which can burst into flames at the slightest provocation. What is needed now is a strong, judicious ambassador who knows how to facilitate conciliation; not someone who will fuel polarization and heighten conflict.  Mr. Friedman has the right to his opinions, but his injudicious readiness to express them and his stubborn refusal to step back from them and issue a clear, public and unqualified apology, suggests a danger that he will pose to U.S. interests in the region if his nomination is approved. We urge our Senators to address this matter during the confirmation process.

 

Jeremy Burton             Adam Suttin       Beth Badik
Executive Director     President            Chair, Israel and Global Jewry Committee

 

Statement from Boston JCRC on Orlando Attack

As we complete our observance of Shavuot tonight, we are heartbroken by the news of the horrifying massacre in Orlando early yesterday morning. We are only beginning to fathom the horror, the unthinkable “firsts” that mark this nightmarish event. It bears repeating that this is the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the worst gun violence assault ever in our nation, and the single worst attack targeting the LGBTQ community. There’s much we have yet to learn about the dark forces behind the carnage, but this much we do know: this attack took place in what should have been a safe haven and place of belonging for the LGBTQ community, and at a time of celebration in the month of Pride.

The LGBTQ community was clearly and specifically targeted by a murderer acting upon baseless hatred. The targeting of any Americans for who they are and for living freely is an attack on all of us and on the freedom which constitutes the very soul of this nation. In the wake of this horrific act, we must resist the temptation to focus solely on a single factor at play. There are multiple dynamics, each one perilous in its own right and demanding a vigorous response.

We must face facts:

  • Gun violence proliferates in our culture. Assault weapons meant for military use are readily available, to a wide variety of consumers.
  • The LGBTQ community continues to be subjected to a deep and targeted hatred, despite recent achievements in civil rights.
  • And, if the killer's own words are to be taken at face value - we are all threatened by a violent and radical reinterpretation of a religious tradition, including faithful adherents to that tradition.

To talk about any one of these while ignoring the other does a disservice to the victims, to Americans, and to our ability as a nation to address this attack effectively and to prevent the next attack from being a sad inevitability.

We must also acknowledge that none of these challenges is new:

  • We have called over and over for action, as mass shootings happen across our country every two weeks in schools, malls, workplaces, houses of worship, and on so many of our streets. While the motivations of these attacks differ, all are made fundamentally worse by our all too easy access to guns. “Thoughts and prayers” and platitudes for the victims are insufficient. Nothing short of immediate, concrete, and measurable action is acceptable to restrict access to assault weapons and illegally obtained handguns.
  • We’ve seen the LGBT community targeted in the past. Here too, prayers and expressions of solidarity for victims in the wake of this violence ring hollow when they come from those who have engaged in and supported the rhetoric of homophobia, or have put up obstacles to legal protections for the LGBTQ community. Now is the time for serious reflection about the ways in which all of us nurture a culture of hatred toward this community and other minorities, and to insist on action to make ours a society that embraces and protects all of us in our differences and our dignity.
  • Last year, when a Jewish religious extremist committed a terrorist murder at the Jerusalem LGBT Pride March, we reminded the Jewish community that such radicalism and violence are not reflective of our community. Still, we said then, the path to radicalization and violent extremism begins someplace, and it is incumbent on all of us to address the roots of its formation in our faith community. So too today we must welcome and lift up the clear rejection of these actions by leaders of communities with which this terrorist is identified, while also insisting that all faith communities reflect on the ways in which the path he took began - and we must offer our partnership and support to those who work to ensure that the seeds of violent extremism are rooted out in each of our communities.

To recognize and name that the terrorist claimed to act in allegiance with Daesh also requires us to affirm that Daesh does not represent the mainstream Muslim community. Radical Islam is a real and serious challenge in our time that threatens not just our nation but also threatens the global Muslim community. While we must protect our nation and defeat this extreme ideology, engaging in rhetoric or enacting policies that demonize all Muslims is an obstacle to that end. Rather we must work to ally ourselves with and reach out to Muslim communities - here in the U.S. and abroad - who are fighting for the soul of Islam, a religion that they interpret as advocating peace and humanity and rejecting violence. We must work together with our partners in communities here in New England who quickly spoke out and rejected the violence in Orlando.

JCRC and the organized Jewish community join with others in Boston in declaring our solidarity with the LGBTQ community, with the people of Orlando, and with all those who are standing up to reject violence and the spread of extremism and hate in all its forms.

 

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Jeremy Burton                                Adam Suttin
Executive Director                       Board President

JCRC Condemns Anti-Semitic Remarks at High School Sporting Event

Taunting cheers at a high school basketball game took a very dark and troubling turn on Friday night when students from Catholic Memorial High School chanted “You killed Jesus!” at their game against Newton North High School on Friday night.

 

We join with our colleagues at AJC and ADL in both rejecting hatred and expressing our disdain of such anti-Semitic sentiments and also in our appreciation for the leadership of Newton North and Catholic Memorial High Schools responding with swift and decisive action. We are also grateful to Cardinal Sean O’Malley for sending a clear message to our community that Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable.