JVP-Bay Area Press Statement on Islamophobia and efforts to block Syrian refugees

For Immediate Release                                        
Contact:  Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, 805-259-5030, rabbilynn@earthlink.net

Jewish Voice for Peace-Bay Area mourns loss of lives, opposes Islamophobia, and welcomes Syrian refugees.

The horrific slaughter of innocent lives in Paris and Beirut breaks our hearts. Our hearts also break for lives cut short in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Israel, the United States, and in every country where innocent people are murdered.

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Backlash from the Paris killings has begun in earnest, including vandalism to mosques and Islamic centers, hate-filled phone and online messages and threats of violence. Congress has voted to add enormous roadblocks to the admission of Syrian refugees. Local Muslims are afraid of what will come next.

Jewish Voice for Peace - Bay Area is deeply saddened by the loss of life and our prayers and thoughts go out to the families whose loved ones have been senselessly ripped away from them. We are equally appalled when Islamophobia rears its vicious head. We stand proudly together with our Muslim sisters and brothers to declare that Islamophobia has absolutely no place in our community. Every life is precious and every member of our community is an important part of who we are. We really are one, and what happens to one of us, happens to all of us.

As Jews, we remember well that a few generations ago our relatives were refugees fleeing from the Nazi holocaust, and virtually every country, including this one, refused them entry. In the Syrian refugees, we see our desperate grandparents. They are who we were. We must learn from the past, from our experience. We cannot, must not, turn our backs on them.

We at Jewish Voice for Peace are grateful to call our Muslim friends family. From Paris, Beirut, Palestine and Israel to San Francisco, we seek not fear and division, but love, friendship and compassion. We are reminded of the words of Rabbi Hillel, "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary."

Jewish Voice for Peace (jvp.org) is inspired by Jewish tradition to work for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.