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Jewish groups call on their communities: defund Islamophobia now


Editor’s Note: The following is a statement  from Defund Islamophobia. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.

As 450 Jewish community members from across the country gathered at the New York Marriott in downtown Brooklyn to participate in a one-day event, “A Taste of the Collaboratory,” where members of the Defund Islamophobia campaign held signs in front of the hotel that read: “Jewish Communities Say: Defund Islamophobia Now.” The group also handed out informational postcards and spoke to those attending the conference urging them to reach out to Jewish funds that support anti-Muslim racism.

The Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) in New York, one of the participants in today’s gathering, has supported anti-Muslim hate to the tune of over 2 million dollars in recent years. They are not the only Jewish fund doing so.  Chicago’s Jewish United Fund has allowed hundreds of thousands of donor advised fund (DAF) dollars to bankroll Islamophobic groups. Organizers in NYC and Chicago have documented their findings in detailed reports that reveal the extent of funding going to Islamophobia.

A report by the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) looked at the money trail from over 1,000 largely mainstream charities to 39 anti-Muslim groups that it calls the “Islamophobia Network. The 2019 report, called “Hijacked by Hate,” found that nearly $125 million was funneled to these groups (20014-2016). Of these 1,000+ charities reviewed, JCF was the 8th largest funder of anti-Muslim groups ($3.2 million during this period).

Protesters hands out information calling for the Jewish Communal Fund to stop funding anti-Muslim organizations. (Photo: Defund Islamophobia)

Protesters hands out information calling for the Jewish Communal Fund to stop funding anti-Muslim organizations. (Photo: Defund Islamophobia)

“That Jewish funds can support the most vile anti-Muslim bigots is unconscionable, particularly at this moment with the increase in violence against so many of our communities,” said Elena Stein, one of the organizers with the Defund Islamophobia campaign who was handing out the postcards to individuals entering the gathering. “Jewish organizations rightly wouldn’t fund anti-Semitic hate. Why do they not apply the same standards when it comes to funding anti-Muslim hate,” she added.

“We know that many Jewish groups and individuals are concerned about Islamophobia. We wanted them to know that our communities are funding anti-Muslim hate and demand that they stop,” added Talia Baurer, another of the campaign’s organizers.

The hundreds of postcards that got passed out asked. “In the spirit of today’s gathering, what does true Muslim-Jewish collaboration look like? “

The postcard includes examples of what Muslim-Jewish partnership looks like:

  • Building community together;
  • Protesting together and having each other’s backs;
  • Opening up our communal spaces during times of violence against our Jewish and Muslim communities;
  • Actively opposing the Muslim ban and other state-sponsored Islamophobia; and
  • Calling upon our Jewish institutions to defund anti-Muslim hate.

Some of the Islamophobes who are funded by the Jewish Communal Fund include:

PAMELA GELLER, who writes that Islam “is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth”; CLARION PROJECT, which funds virulently anti-Muslim films; “DAVID HOROWITZ, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement”; STEVEN EMERSON, who forged a “dossier” linking American Muslim groups with terrorism; and DANIEL PIPES, who claims Muslims wish to “impose Islamic law [in the United States]” and more.

The postcard urges participants in today’s event to call the Jewish Communal Fund (in NYC) and the JUF (in Chicago) and ask them to defund Islamophobia now.

Defund Islamophobia

The Defund Islamophobia campaign is led by three progressive Jewish organizations--Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism, Jews Say No!, and Jewish Voice for Peace-NY.

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7 Responses

  1. Kay24 on May 22, 2019, 4:17 pm

    This may have started in the US, but it has spread through Europe, and now found in Southeast Asia.
    This poison has spread to the unlikeliest places, like Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Certain nations that benefit from ethnic wars, have fueled it, and added to it, so that they can sell their weapons.
    Hatred for Muslims is now found all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand.
    The above haters like Geller, Horowitz, and others, should be held responsible for the rise in hate crimes, and the killing of Muslims, the consequences of this campaign of Islamaphobia.

    • Misterioso on May 23, 2019, 8:38 am


      “Hatred for Muslims is now found all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand.”

      So is hatred of Jews and other minorities and it is rapidly growing.

  2. Marnie on May 22, 2019, 10:56 pm

    The ‘personality politics’ of Narendra Modi and Donald Trump – BBC …

    “Minutes later, the prime minister is introduced on stage as the emcee calls on everyone to make a noise so loud it’s “an airstrike of claps”- a reference to the airstrikes India says it carried out inside Pakistani territory earlier this year.

    They do much more than that – whooping, screeching, whipping out mobile phones as they chant “Modi, Modi” in unison.

    “Bharat mata ki jai (victory for mother India)”, Mr Modi says, as he kicks off his speech.

    Once again I’m having a 2016 flashback to choruses of “USA, USA”.

    In the pantomime style I’ve witnessed at Trump rallies, Mr Modi, too, encourages audience interaction.

    “Should we not kill terrorists in their homes?” he asks. “Tell me, should we not?”

    “No, we should,” the crowd replies.

    Mr Modi also devotes time to criticise his main opponent, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi.

    Both him and Mr Trump present themselves as outsiders with contempt for those they see as the imperious ruling classes. Both ran against members of political dynasties – Hillary Clinton, whose husband is a former president, and Mr Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

    Mr Modi derides “the Khan Market gang” – a reference to one of Delhi’s most exclusive areas, inhabited by the country’s most privileged.

    Mr Trump, who’d never held public office before, brands Washington’s elite members of the so-called “swamp”.

    “They want votes in the name of their ancestors but when I question the work their ancestors have done, and what they’ve done to our country, they get irritated,” Mr Modi says as hundreds roar in approval.

    He did not hold back in his attacks on the opposition and many felt he had sunk to a new low when he criticised his opponent’s dead father.

    He described Rajiv Gandhi, a former prime minister who was assassinated in 1991, as “corrupt number one”.

    It reminded me of similar insults Donald Trump directed at Senator John McCain, who lost his battle with cancer last year.

    Both Donald Trump and Narendra Modi pride themselves on being direct, but their speeches have sometimes descended into the distasteful.

    But for both sets of supporters, there’s a broad acceptance that it doesn’t matter if the lines of political civility are crossed – as long as the job is done.

    The cult of personality politics is what ties the two leaders. Their respective bases believe that personalities like Mr Trump and Mr Modi are ready to stand up for voices that are usually ignored by the ruling classes.

    “I really like him – there’s such an attraction,” Santosh, a mechanic from Delhi tells me, as he clutches his 18-month-old baby who is also dressed as the prime minister.

    “I’m ready to skip a meal but I’m not ready for anyone to disrespect our country – that’s why I like Modi.”

  3. Misterioso on May 23, 2019, 9:47 am

    Worth noting:

    “Dem Presidential Hopeful Accuses ‘Racist’ Israel of ‘Genocide.'”
    Middle East Monitor, May 22/19

    “A veteran US politician who has announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for 2020 has described Israel as a ‘racist state’ which is committing ‘genocide’ against the Palestinians. The remarks were made on Twitter by 88 year old former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.

    “’The bloodshed in Palestine and Israel will not cease until the fundamentally unjust existing structure is jettisoned,’ said Gravel. His message appears to be a response to the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel. He called on the US to end its ‘support’ for Israel, describing the Zionist state as a ‘right-wing racist regime’ that is ‘committed to annexation and gradual ethnic cleansing.’ Gravel ended by insisting that a ‘binational state with equal rights for all’ would be the best way to end the conflict.

    “In a separate tweet published a day later, the veteran politician denounced a tweet by one of his followers who claimed that, ‘There is no Palestine.’ He condemned the remark as a form of ‘linguistic genocide’ rooted in the ‘racist ideology of Meir Kahane,’ a far-right orthodox Rabbi who founded the ‘Jewish Defence League,’ which was listed as a right-wing terrorist group. Describing Israel as an ‘evil government,’ Gravel encouraged people to read the works of Orthodox Jewish intellectual and polymath Yeshayahu Leibowitz and not to ‘sacrifice your morals and faith to support an evil government.’

    “Leibowitz cautioned against Israeli militarism. Commenting on the 1953 massacre of Palestinians in the village of Qibya by the notorious Israeli commando Unit 101, he said: ‘We have to ask ourselves, where this youth of ours emerged from; young people who had no mental inhibitions about committing this atrocity? What inner motivation for such acts could have been at work here? This youth is not a mob but the product of Zionist, humanist social education.’

    “The Israel Prize nominee warned that the state of Israel and Zionism had become more sacred than Jewish humanist values and controversially went on to describe Israeli conduct in the occupied Palestinian territories as ‘Judeo-Nazi’ in nature.

    “A profile of Gravel and his campaign team in the Forward magazine claims that he is ‘close to qualifying for next month’s Democratic debates by hitting the party’s benchmarks – 65,000 individual donors by June 12, or hitting at least 1 per cent in three major polls.’

    “One of Gravel’s campaign team is Jewish teenager David Oks. Judaism, he believes, has been ‘used to serve a project of very soft [sic] ethnic cleansing.’ Commenting on Gravel’s position on Palestine, Oks added: ‘It’s important to Gravel because he’s always sympathised with oppressed people all over the world.’

    “He went on to explain his personal views. “For me, it’s important because I’ve seen Judaism, something I care very deeply about, become deformed into this monstrous justification for the Bibi Netanyahu government, and I think that if Israel continues doing these really atrocious things in Gaza and the West Bank, then global Jewry are going to be indelibly haunted by them.’”

    • just on May 23, 2019, 10:44 am

      Thanks for posting this, Misterioso. imho, Gravel has held many positive and innovative positions over the years and on many issues. His voice is important~ nobody else is telling the truth regarding Palestine/Israel. Bernie is really the only one and he’s still light years away. “Linguistic genocide” is ever so accurate. I hope his voice will be heard loud and clear as this pre- election season continues.

  4. Misterioso on May 23, 2019, 10:21 am

    “Palestine Campaign to highlight racist Israel narratives” May 20/19, Middle East Monitor

    “EuroPal Forum organised the initiative to visualise and document discriminatory statements made by individuals that hold a prominent position in the contemporary Israeli society.”

    “Palestinian activists have launched an online campaign to highlight the discrimination towards Palestinians in Israeli public life.

    “EuroPal Forum organised the initiative titled ‘Israeli racism in quotes’ to visualise and document discriminatory statements made by individuals that hold a prominent position in the contemporary Israeli society.

    “Since it began the initiative has seen a daily image circulated with quotes from senior members of Israeli society be they political, religious or human rights activists.

    “The idea that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is a ‘misrepresentation,’ EuroPal Forum said in a statement, adding that it’s campaign aims to highlight this by bringing to light Israel’s actions which ‘structurally and constitutionally’ work ‘towards the subordination of Palestinian rights.’

    “This became ever more prevalent last year with the passing of the racist Nation-State Law which, declared Palestinian citizens of Israel second class citizens.

    “Chairman of EuroPal Forum, Zaher Birawi, said: ‘This campaign is part of EuroPal Forum’s efforts to delegitimise the occupation and its illegal and racist practices, and to challenge all parties and countries that condone the racism of the Israeli political and religious establishment towards the Palestinians.’

    “’Silence on these statements is indicative of the acquiescence that many countries and international institutions have shown when it comes to racism towards Palestinians at the hands of the occupation,’ he continued.

    “EuroPal Forum said it is exclusively using trusted Israeli news sites to gather the quotes being circulated as part of the campaign. These are then being distributed on social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

  5. traintosiberia on May 27, 2019, 10:39 am

    “The Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) in New York, one of the participants in today’s gathering, has supported anti-Muslim hate to the tune of over 2 million dollars in recent years. “– Is it having a Damascus moment? Is it a true conversion?

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