Dear Nancy Baron-Baer,
We are writing to you to let you know that we cannot support the ADL's Walk Against Hate, even though we, too, support the fight against hatred. Your support for police exchange programs between the US and Israel directly contradicts your purported fight against hatred. We respectfully ask that you disavow the exchanges and seek to find solutions for community safety in practices that affirm all peoples’ rights, rather than protecting some at the expense of others.
With racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism on the rise, we need organizations to fight for the safety of all people. As a group whose stated mission is to fight for civil rights and against hate, it is inconsistent with your stated values to fund and facilitate police trainings that encourage racial profiling, Islamophobic attitudes, militarized police tactics, and violent suppression of civil dissent. Unfortunately, the ADL’s history is riddled with similar contradictions––from your continued conflation of support for Palestinian rights with anti-semitism, to a history of participation in the surveillance of Muslim activist groups. Live up to your values, ADL: disavow “solutions” that rely on inherently racist and discriminatory police practices.
The “deadly exchanges” that the ADL has initiated and supported over the years are a sharing of worst practices. The Israeli army and police enforce a brutal, illegal military occupation on millions of Palestinians, and use militarized tactics to repress civil dissent within Israel itself. Palestinians are denied both independence and citizenship, their land is expropriated, and they are routinely arrested, imprisoned, or killed for minor or exaggerated offenses.
Meanwhile, U.S. law enforcement officials are similarly abusive and unaccountable. Every year police shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people in this country. Police officers are caught on video with shocking regularity abusing their power, and entire communities of color live in fear of brutalization. At the federal level, ICE agents (who have also participated in U.S.-Israel police exchanges) snatch people off the streets for detention and deportation, tearing immigrant families apart. Officers or agents almost never face serious consequences or prosecution for crimes they commit.
We invite the ADL to join us in a world where we fight hate together: the hate of white supremacy, the hate of racism, the hate of war, the hate of displacement, apartheid, and colonization. Unfortunately, you are currently complicit in these injustices through your embrace of militarized police in both the US and in Israel. We want no part in a false vision of security in which some communities are policed, quite literally, to death, in the name of keeping others safe. We pledge to commit our time and resources to a vision of safety for all, and will reject the misleading “Walk Against Hate” until you join us in finding a solution to truly protect civil rights for everyone.
[add your name]
We are deeply concerned that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) continues to present itself as an institution “opposing hate” by organizing events like the Walk Against Hate, while simultaneously sponsoring trips for U.S. police, ICE agents, FBI agents, and border patrol to Israel for meetings and trainings with Israeli armed forces. These trips, which occur through ADL’s National Counter-terrorism Seminar (NCTS), normalize racist ideologies and policing practices that harm the very communities ADL is purportedly seeking to support. Given the violence that communities of color and other marginalized groups in the U.S. already face at the hands of the police and under the Trump administration, we cannot ignore when communal organizations that claim to be fighting for safety for all are simultaneously leading programs that perpetuate harm.
ADL’s National Counterterrorism Seminar, a program that Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State police chiefs attended in 2010 and 2011 and 2016, falls into a category of “counter-terrorism programs” that focus exclusively on “Muslims” and “Arabs” as a grave threat to the U.S., ignoring the fact that violent attacks from Muslims and Arabs make up a small percentage of overall violent attacks in the United States. This feeds racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric. While there is little information on the positive impact of these programs on community safety, their profoundly harmful impacts on Muslims and different communities of color have been extremely well documented.
In addition to the reinforcement of Islamophobic narratives, the trips contribute to the normalization of the Israel Defense Force’s daily brutality against the Palestinians. These are abuses that currently take the form of intentional killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters along the border of the Gaza Strip. Any kind of program that valorizes an armed force that is responsible for war crimes and human rights abuses as a “model” for U.S. police demonstrates ADL’s complicity in and tacit support for those abuses.
By glorifying the practices of Israel’s armed forces, including racial profiling, extrajudicial killings, and violent suppression of grassroots protests, and feeding Islamophobic narratives on who commits violence, ADL’s NCTS program does not create safety; it perpetuates harm against communities that are already bearing the brunt of racialized state violence.
At a time when all of our communities are under attack, we believe there is too much at stake through the ongoing sponsorship of these exchanges to continue with “business as usual” with ADL. Join us in our fight to hold ADL accountable: pledge to not participate in the Walk Against Hate until the ADL stops funding and supporting police exchanges.
The fight for a world without hate means a world without racist policing or Islamophobia. Without full commitment to challenging those systems and structures, we cannot achieve a hate-free world that guarantees true safety for all.
Jewish Voice for Peace Philadelphia
Over 100 musicians, artists, scholars, union members and activists, as well as 35 social justice organizations, have called on the Philadelphia Orchestra to cancel its planned June tour in Israel.
Inspired by the global cultural boycott that helped end Apartheid in South Africa, Palestinian civil society has called on international cultural institutions not to perform in Israel as a popular non-violent means to pressure Israel to end its occupation and apartheid policies.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s claim that their performance in Israel is “cultural diplomacy,” not “a political mission,” is undermined by their own admission that the trip is "in celebration of its [Israel’s] 70th anniversary” and by their close collaboration with Israeli government officials, before the trip and in the planned itinerary. The orchestra has several meetings planned with high level Israeli politicians and military personnel, including a "VIP visit" to a military base!
This is the same military that has killed or wounded over 3000 unarmed Palestinians in the span just the last two weeks since March 30. At least 773 people, defenseless and demonstrating on their own land, were shot with live ammunition by snipers in ONE DAY.
Such examples of Israel’s contempt and wanton destruction of Palestinian life are precisely the sort of abuses with which The Philadelphia Orchestra will be associating itself in making this trip.
Philly: Don't Orchestrate Apartheid! Cancel the trip to Israel!
JVP Philly Signs on the #CloseTheCreek campaign:
Mayor Kenney recently announced that the City of Philadelphia would shutter the House of Corrections by 2020. This notorious jail is the oldest operating jail in the city system, and is known for its wretched conditions, rodents and pests, decaying walls and ceilings, and soaring summer temperatures. We are glad to see that the mayor and the city have publicly acknowledged that we can close this crumbling jail without replacing it with a new one. But there's no reason to leave it standing, and there's no reason to wait two years to tear it down. #No215Jail put out a statement following the mayor's announcement, which you can read in its entirety here.
Sign this petition to demand that ICE grant asylum to Carmela and her four children. Carmela and her family were issued a family order of deportation after their asylum petition was denied. They came to the U.S. fleeing the violence of the U.S.-backed drug wars in Mexico, which claimed the lives of three of their closest family members and led to physical assault of Carmela and her oldest daughter. Should Carmela and her children be deported, their lives will be in imminent danger.
Carmela and her children have taken Sanctuary in Church of the Advocate to protest their deportation orders and the injustices endured by immigrants everyday.
Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who has been recognized as a Human Rights Defender by the European Union and the United Nations, is undergoing Israeli military trial1 on 18 charges dating all the way back to 2010.
Mr. Amro’s case is an example of widespread targeting of human rights activists using old and exaggerated charges in a military court system whose conviction rate for Palestinians is over 99%
As civil and human rights advocates and faith groups, we ask that you call on the Israeli government to drop the politically-motivated charges against Issa Amro and allow him to continue his important work of protecting human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R. 1697) aims to quell the movement for Palestinian rights by penalizing companies and individuals that support the nonviolent tactic of boycott to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian rights. Specifically, the legislation seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to prohibit U.S. individuals and companies from taking action to comply with calls by the U.N. to boycott Israel or illegal Israeli settlements, with stiff penalties. H.R. 1697/S. 720 would provide legal support to illegal settlements and upend decades of established U.S. policy. The bill has been widely criticized, including by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil liberties groups, for violating First Amendment protections for free speech and against political discrimination. Jewish Voice for Peace opposes the legislation and has issued a backgrounder for engaging members of Congress.
We, several Jewish American Contact Improvisation teachers, and committed practitioners are writing to the Contact Improvisation community on the eve of the Global Underscore in the spirit of friendship and a desire to make our CI world stronger and more whole. We applaud the Global Underscore organizers for creating an opportunity for us to feel more connected and committed to each other across the globe. We are communicating with our global family in response to recent conversations among some organizers about how to position ourselves in relation to the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and to support fellow CI participants in more deeply considering their global context as they dance... READ MORE ONLINE AT THE PETITION SITE.