September 12, 2001

New York City - As communities engaged in the struggle for justice, we are shocked and distressed at yesterday's horrific attack on workers and visitors at the World Trade Center, and at the multiple violent hijackings which preceded it. We condemn this violence against random individuals and the obvious intention to kill and destroy lives.

Many of us have lost or nearly lost people we love, and without exception we are horrified at the pain, fear and death inflicted on millions of people, in New York and elsewhere, by these acts. Along with the rest of the city, we will long be grappling with and recovering from this event. We are concerned for everyone who has lost a friend or family member, for the missing, for the emergency workers and volunteers participating in rescue efforts, and also for the thousands of people whose mode of employment was destroyed in the wreckage. We will be seeking meaningful ways to assist in the aftermath.

Regardless of who orchestrated this violence, we are deeply concerned about the social and political aftermath of this event.

We call on the people and the government of the United States to resist the temptation now to label as "terrorists" all Arab groups who object to American policy. American oil and geopolitical interests have visited war on the Middle East region, and American support for Israeli presence in the Occupied Territories has visited over 50 years of violence and repression specifically on the Palestinian people. We must reconsider these policies - not because we fear extremist violence, but because these policies are antidemocratic and unjust.

We are concerned that the many governments worldwide will seize on this opportunity to heighten violence and repression against Arabs and Muslims. We call on the international community to object to any such form of collective punishment.

As in the turmoil of the Gulf War, we fear an upsurge of anti-Arab racism, and we have already seen the signs in the media and in conversations on the street. But a crisis calls for strict adherence to the principles of democracy, and we condemn the "guilt by racial association" imposed on Arabs in the Middle East and around the world. Let each individual be judged on the basis of their actions and words - we reject harassment, looting of businesses or other forms of witch-hunting against Arabs in our communities.

We reject any attempts now to curtail freedom of movement, access to resources, the right to organize or other civil liberties.

Similarly, we reject any attempts to silence community activists who challenge anti-Arab racism or other injustices. Instead, we call urgently on the U.S. government to increase the level of open dialogue about American involvement and policy in the Middle East. Most importantly, we call on individual human beings worldwide to act thoughtfully in these coming days; to carefully evaluate their sources of information for bias, and to behave and speak in a way that creates a world in which we would want to live.

At this moment of crisis, we stand together with our sisters and brothers of all races, cultures, religions and nationalities to call not for war, but for justice.


Endorsed by: Days of Awe Action Group, Jews Against the Occupation, Jews for Peace Through Justice. (list in formation)

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