Jewish Community Letter of Support for AROC & VYDC
As Jews of conscience in the Bay Area and other parts of the country, we decry the Jewish Community Relations Council’s (JCRC) shameless targeting of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). The JCRC does not speak for, serve, or represent the views of all or likely most Jewish individuals and communities in the Bay Area, and certainly not those of us who believe in principles of equality, justice, and diversity. Jewish communities, like all communities, are diverse in our opinions and perspectives – to reduce the Jewish community to a single perspective, as the JCRC has done, is tokenizing and inaccurate. In fact, AROC works closely with Jewish organizations and activists who are very concerned and upset by the JCRC’s claims to speak on their behalf and particularly to attack AROC and VYDC in the name of all Jews.
AROC has a long history not only of working for the empowerment and dignity of marginalized Arab and Muslim communities, but also of building deep and meaningful relationships with individuals and organizations from a wide range of communities impacted by racism and injustice, from Filipino to African-American to Chicano. AROC’s work with the Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC) towards creating greater language access – a fundamental necessity for ensuring the right of community members to services and basic necessities regardless of immigration status and language – is just one illustration of AROC’s longstanding principle of cross-community collaboration in service of racial justice.
To depict AROC as a “hate group,” as the JCRC has done, is to erase AROC’s unswerving commitment to racial justice and the empowerment of marginalized communities, as well as its consistent efforts to build relationships and collaboration across racial and ethnic communities. It is a cover up for JCRC’s history of attacking Arab, Palestinian and Muslim organizations, faculty, students and community members and the many community-based organizations serving people of color who support Palestinian human rights.
Furthermore, as Jews who seek to uphold principles of equality, justice, and diversity, we abhor the JCRC’s cynical abuse and exploitation of actual histories of Jewish suffering in order to advance their own bigoted agenda. Jews of conscience around the world have come to understand that one of the greatest lessons from our historical experience of antisemitism and genocide is that we must stand for the rights and self-determination of all peoples. The JCRC’s attack on AROC disgraces Jewish traditions of justice and our forebears that fought to uphold them.
We implore you not to let this narrow-minded, special interest group sabotage this unprecedented opportunity to create greater language access within the San Francisco Unified School District and to empower Arab and Vietnamese communities more broadly. At this moment when Arab and Muslim families, students and communities are targeted and under intense pressure and heightened scrutiny, the San Francisco Unified School District has spoken to its commitment to equity and advancement for all its students; this is a moment to live out that commitment.
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