Tag Archives: JCRC Statement

JCRC Statement on Developments in Iran Negotiations

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) is following reports today out of Lausanne, Switzerland that a framework agreement has been reached between the P5+1 and Iran.  The organized Jewish community of Boston reaffirms our continued belief that a diplomatic resolution is the ideal path to end the threat of Iran developing the capacity to become a nuclear power.  We appreciate and honor the indefatigable efforts of Boston’s own Secretary of State John Kerry in these negotiations.

At this time, we do not have sufficient information about the details of today’s developments to know whether this agreement achieves the goal of ending the threat of a nuclear Iran. We look forward to learning more and we will be consulting with our member organizations in the coming days. A good deal should and must be able to withstand public debate and scrutiny.

JCRC urges the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to scrutinize any agreement in the days ahead to insure that it is one which achieves its stated goals.  We look forward to hearing the voices of the delegation in support of a good deal for all concerned.

MA Legislature Passes Anti-Semitism Resolution

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) applauds today’s passage by the Massachusetts Senate and House of a joint resolution sponsored by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) and Representative Lori A. Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), which condemns the recent disturbing global surge in anti-Semitism and urges measures to prevent and combat anti-Semitic attacks and incidents. JCRC recognizes and appreciates the work of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in advocating for such a resolution. JCRC thanks the Massachusetts Legislature for today’s resolution and its unequivocal opposition the increasing incidents and expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the world and its support of expanded anti-bias and Holocaust education programs.

Jeremy Burton Statement on Boston Herald Article

In an article published in today’s (2/18/15) Boston Herald (Elizabeth Warren can raise stature if she stiffs Bibi), a statement was attributed to me that I did not make regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress. The Herald has since updated the online version of the article to no longer suggest that I said that “[Warren] skipping the event won’t cost her.”

It is deeply unfortunate that this statement was initially attributed to me. I share the anger of those members of our community who see this quote as in any way diminishing the value of their voices in the conversation about whether members of our congressional delegation should attend the speech as an expression of respect and support for the US-Israel relationship.

What I told this reporter and what I have said often in recent weeks is that it is a vital concern of the Boston Jewish community as well as to the people of Israel that the US-Israel partnership - which our congressional delegation has historically and strongly supported – must not become a partisan issue in Washington.

Reasonable people have concerns about the timing of the Prime Minister’s address to Congress. Some will choose to attend and some will not. We are not encouraging or discouraging Senator Warren or the rest of the Massachusetts delegation from attending the speech.

I have had many discussions with Senator Warren about the Iranian nuclear threat and I know she takes these issues seriously and examines them with great thoughtfulness.  Senator’s Warren’s decision to attend or not attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month should not be the defining factor of how her strong and ongoing support for the US-Israel relationship is perceived.

The speech, and who attends it, is not the issue. The real issue is the serious threat of a nuclear capable Iran. We cannot take this threat lightly and we need to have an honest, thoughtful discussion without partisan rhetoric or divisive actions for political gain. Regardless of the decisions individual members of our delegation make in the coming week about attendance, we look forward to working with them to ensure that the US-Israel partnership continues to be a robust one, and to examine the issues related to the Iranian threat in a fair and thoughtful way.

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Jeremy Burton
Executive Director
Jewish Community Relations Council

JCRC Condemns Fatal Attacks in Denmark

We are horrified and heartbroken by yet another act of terrorism in Europe, this time in Copenhagen. This heinous act left two people dead - one at a cafe where a seminar on freedom of expression was taking place and one outside a synagogue where a bat mitzvah was being celebrated - and wounded at least five police officers. We express our condolences to the people of Denmark and our solidarity with the Jewish community who are reeling from yet another anti-Semitic act of terror perpetrated against them. 
 
The global Jewish community will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters in Europe and elsewhere who are under attack. We affirm and demand that Jews must have the right to live freely, openly, and safely as Jews. Governments have the responsibility to protect Jewish communities, and all communities, from hate, violence, and attacks on our freedoms. We commend the government of Denmark for doing exactly this last night, providing police protection at the city’s main synagogue. We mourn the death of Dan Uzan, a volunteer security guard and member of the Danish Jewish community; his actions and those of the two injured police officers prevented a potentially much greater loss of life inside the synagogue.
 
Reports at this hour indicate that this act of terrorism may have been inspired by Islamist propaganda. We stand with all decent people in the struggle against this extremist, supremacist ideology that is filled with hatred and backed by violence. We affirm that this is a struggle against Islamist terrorism, not a struggle against the vast numbers of decent people in the global Muslim community.
 
Europe is experiencing a concerted attack on Western values, including freedom of speech, as we saw again yesterday. Those who are attacking the West are also choosing to single out Jews specifically. Anti-Semitism in all its forms is a challenge that needs to be named without equivocation and confronted directly without hesitation.
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Jeremy Burton
Executive Director, JCRC

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Jill Goldenberg
President, JCRC

What’s the real deal with Iran?

A blog post from our Executive Director, Jeremy Burton

The whole brouhaha over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress is a huge distraction. I personally think it is a terrible mistake to engage in activities that turn Israel and the Iranian challenge into a partisan football. The timing of when Congress passes sanctions - that would take effect only if negotiations fail - is a secondary concern; no, Iran won’t walk away if sanctions pass now and yes, everyone knows Congress can pass them within 24 hours if talks fail.
 
The real issue is what the P5+1 talks with Iran will produce. Will it be a deal that - as initially assured by the Obama administration - ends the threat of a nuclear Iran? If so, fantastic. This is why we support these talks; because a diplomatic resolution to this serious threat must be given every opportunity to succeed; because a diplomatic solution is far and away preferable to any other solution.
 
Or, will it be a deal that leaves Iran at or near the breakout threshold to have a nuclear weapon?
 
Will it be a deal that ends this threat, in return for sanctions relief? Or will it be one that leads to the normalization and empowerment of a rogue state that exports terrorism?
 
These are serious questions that require honest, thoughtful discussion and debate. What we don't need is partisan rhetoric and divisive actions for political gain.
 
The Washington Post’s editorial board raises three substantive reasons to be concerned about the direction of the negotiations in today’s paper (2/6/15):

  • The apparent collapse in substantive US demands on Iran.
  • Iran's empowerment by the US on a regional level, presenting a dire challenge and threat to several longtime allies.
  • The administration's move to exclude the Europeans and Congress from the negotiations.

We cannot take these concerns lightly. Let's stop the distractions and focus on the very serious implications of the current situation.

Please share widely this Washington Post editorial. 

JCRC responds to terrorist attack in Tel Aviv

We are extremely saddened and horrified by today’s terrorist attack on commuters in Tel Aviv.

We condemn Hamas' reaction to the attack—branding it "a heroic operation"—the latest example of their commitment to the path of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Those who incite terrorism must be held accountable for their actions. We fully support Israel's right to defend itself against these vicious attacks and responsibly protect her citizens from terror.

JCRC’s thoughts and prayers are with today's victims, their families, and all victims of terrorism.

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Jeremy Burton,
Executive Director, JCRC

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Jill Goldenberg,
President, JCRC

JCRC Responds to State of the Union Address

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The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston applauds President Obama for outlining proposals in the State of the Union that will help strengthen the middle class and invest in our economy’s workforce.

JCRC was a strong supporter of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Bill passed last November and we fully support the federal measure outlined last night by the President. Since sick workers who stay at home are less likely to infect their co-workers, paid sick leave creates a healthier work environment and helps prevent further productivity losses.

We share the President’s commitment to education, and to ensuring that Americans have the ability to receive a college degree and learn the skills needed to compete in a 21st century economy. Young people should be able to enter the workforce with skills that prepare them directly for good jobs with identifiable career ladders. Older workers should be able to get retrained so they can compete in an evolving economy. The steps outlined last night by the President will also ensure that more women and minorities are prepared for jobs in fields that have traditionally excluded them, like science technology, engineering and math.

JCRC shares President Obama’s hope for a diplomatic resolution to end the threat of a nuclear Iran that would present a risk to the security of the U.S. and our allies and would further destabilize the region. We welcome his reaffirmation of his commitment to keep all options on the table to achieve this goal. We are concerned by his insistence that we have halted Iran’s nuclear program given that just last week Iran announced plans to build two new reactors. While the President continues to promise a veto on congressional action in support of sanctions should diplomacy fail, we urge him to find a way to partner with Congress and to invite a bipartisan strategy both for the negotiations and in support of any deal. Doing so will ensure that any diplomatic effort is more likely to succeed and will be more durable than an agreement the administration pursues without Congress.

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Jeremy Burton
Executive Director, JCRC

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Jill Goldenberg,
President, JCRC

JCRC Boston and CJP Joint Statement on events in France

We are filled with horror as the people of Paris reel from the events of this past week. We are filled with grief for those who were killed by Islamist terrorists in this latest wave of barbarism and anti-Semitism. We join with the global Jewish community, and the people of France, in condemning the attacks and in offering prayers for the seventeen victims and their families.  

The deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo underscores the threat that the ideology of the attackers makes to our basic democratic freedoms. Sorely underreported is the fact that the terrorist who on Friday murdered Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada z”tl said that he deliberately “was targeting Jews.” This comes amidst a wave of anti-Semitic violence targeting Jews – especially in Europe - in recent years, a result, in part, of demonization of Israel including by some in positions of authority. 

In the face of these horrifying acts we stand with the people of France and all decent people in the struggle against an extremist, supremacist ideology that is filled with hatred and backed by violence. At the same time, as we mourn the loss of Police Officer Ahmed Merabet who gave his life at Charlie Hebdo, and as we honor the heroism of Lassana Bathily who saved many lives at the Hyper Cacher market, we affirm that this is a struggle against Islamist terrorism, not a struggle against the vast numbers of decent people in the global Muslim community.  

We call upon all the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to join us in condemning these barbaric attacks and to make their voices heard in defense of freedom and in rejection of Islamist extremism.

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Jeremy Burton
Executive Director, JCRC

Barry Shrage
President, CJP

JCRC of Greater Boston Supports Immigration Reform That Will Protect Millions

Calls on Congress to pass permanent and comprehensive immigration reforms

(BOSTON) – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston supports the executive actions outlined by President Obama last night, which will prevent about 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported.

 “American Jews are a community deeply connected to our immigrant experience in this country,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of JCRC. “That history guides us and we will not shut the door on those who came after us. The American Jewish community has long advocated for immigrants’ rights including freedom from persecution, being united with one’s family, and the opportunity to build a better future for one’s family. These basic rights reflect not only Jewish values but our own communal experience in America.”

“As the President stated last night, our immigration system is broken and in need of repair,” added Jill Goldenberg, President of JCRC. “The President seeks to help immigrants who are part of our communities and our friends, and we must not abandon them. We appreciate the executive order and the steps outlined by the President, but this is a temporary fix. Congress still has a responsibility to do its job and pass meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform. We strongly urge Congress to come together now to finish the job that the president has started, for the benefit of all people who call America home.”

 

JCRC Responds to Attacks in Jerusalem

(NOVEMBER 18–BOSTON)

Statement by Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, and Jill Goldenberg, President, on behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council:

We are heartbroken and angered as the details of today’s savage attack in Jerusalem emerge. An attack on a house of worship, any house of worship, must be condemned without equivocation. We expect that all people of faith and all leaders of faith communities will condemn today’s terrorist attack and the brutal murder of these four rabbis at prayer.

Beyond the anguish we feel for any attack on worshipers, and for the vile targeting of innocent Jews, Boston’s Jewish community feels a particular connection to today’s events. Three of the four victims identified today were dual Israeli-American citizens and one, Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, z’tl, was a son of Boston and a member of one of our most distinguished families.

Rabbi Twersky was head of the Torat Moshe yeshiva, and the grandson of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, z'l, luminary of Orthodoxy and founder of the Maimonides School in Brookline, of which his grandson was an alumnus. May Rabbi Twersky's memory and the memory of all of today's victims be for a blessing and may their families find comfort in Zion and Jerusalem.

There are those who seek to incite violence through acts of terror and by spreading fear and anger, and diminish hope for a real possibility of peace. Today’s terrorist attack and other attacks in recent weeks are the product of those who would diminish hope and turn us against one another.

It must be noted and amplified that Palestinian President Abbas has condemned today’s attack. It would be a failure to note today’s condemnation yet ignore the fact that in recent weeks Abbas has contributed to the incitement by praising other terrorist perpetrators in Jerusalem as heroes.

While many in the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim worlds have been quick to condemn today’s horror, some - notably Hamas - have chosen another route: praising and celebrating the murder of Jews in a house of worship. Today’s events underscore again that Hamas is a terrorist organization that celebrates the killing of innocent Jews and seeks the destruction of the state of Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves praise for his actions in recent weeks and today to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock. He has been resolute in his committment to reject any voices, even those in his own government, that would alter the status quo. We praise the swift efforts today to protect the safety and welfare of all synagogues, mosques, and churches to prevent acts of retaliation while ensuring the security of the Israeli people, Jewish and Arab alike. We join the voices of those who urge restraint from vigilante acts of retaliation amidst our grief and anger. Justice must come through the rule of law and the state, not by the hands of individuals acting outside the law. Those who aided and incited today’s attacks must be brought to justice.

Now is the time to lead our peoples away from the abyss of violence and despair and to renew efforts toward a better future. Even if it seems that the two-state peace we support is not possible right now, we reject steps that will make it harder to get there. We must restore hope of achieving a negotiated peace between the two parties by building economic cooperation, personal connections, and a constituency in both Israeli and Palestinian society prepared to make the hard choices ahead.

Sadly, it is events like this that serve as a horrible and tragic reminder that the only viable resolution to this conflict is a negotiated agreement between Israelis and Palestinians to establish two states sharing one homeland. Terrorism undermines the possibility of peace. The killing of innocent civilians can never be justified and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

JCRC is available for comment upon request.