Jewish Voices on Behalf of Gaza

The world’s Jewish community contains as many different perspectives on the current war in Gaza as there are Jews. I want to reinforce on my site that there are a number of Jewish groups out there who are condemning Israel’s disproportionate use of force against Hamas in Gaza, and the subsequent deaths of dozens of civilians and incredible loss of infrastructure and property. I have seen plenty of coverage of the current conflict that paints all Palestinians as “guilty” (of terrorism, I guess) simply for being Palestinian and existing in Gaza. Heck, my own government has been saying things like that, and standing back to let Israel wreak havoc and carnage in Gaza to collectively “punish” the Gazan Palestinians… for what? Being (mostly) Muslim, being Arab, resisting occupation, electing Hamas.

If we humiliate Hamas/Gazans/Palestinians thoroughly through extreme destruction and loss of life, will radicals who call for the end of Israel suddenly lose their potency, their appeal to the masses? I say “we” because the US is wrapped up in this conflict through and through, as is mentioned in my previous post, “Disproportionate Use of Force”. Are we not simply on the same course we’ve always been on since the founding of modern Israel?

So, to lift some of the gloom, here is a list of exciting Jewish and Israeli groups who have put out statements or information about the Gaza war that acknowledge Palestinian humanity without caveat. Check out the sites! This list was compiled with a lot of help from Modern Mitzvot, a blog where “progressive Jews discuss antisemitism, feminism, racism, social justice, and Palestinian rights.”


Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

No Time to Celebrate: Jews Remember the Nakba

Jews for Justice for Palestine

Jewish Voice for Peace

J Street

Americans for Peace Now

A very similar post is up at Alas. Please comment! No antisemitism or Islamophobia please.


Is It Illegal to Be Muslim in the USA?

Seems like it. You can get sent to jail for wearing a scarf around your head in a courthouse. And you can be detained by the FBI in an airport for having a beard or wearing a scarf. And looking “Arab,” of course.

Mr. Irfan turned to his wife, Sobia Ijaz, as they boarded AirTran Flight 175 at Reagan National Airport near Washington Thursday afternoon, and wondered aloud where the safest place to sit on the airplane would be — the front? The rear? Over the wing?

But passengers sitting behind them evidently overheard the remark, saw Mr. Irfan’s beard and his wife’s head scarf, and grew concerned. Mr. Irfan and his wife, along with six members of their extended family, are Muslims, and were on their way to a religious conference in Orlando when they boarded the flight.

The worried passengers contacted flight attendants, who contacted Transportation Security Administration officials, and soon, Mr. Irfan and his wife were off the plane and being questioned in the jetway. The six remaining family members in the traveling party were taken off the plane as well, along with a family friend who happened to be on the same flight and who happens to be a lawyer for the Library of Congress.

Next, the nine Muslim passengers — all but one are United States-born American citizens — were taken to a quarantine area in the passenger lounge where they were questioned by F.B.I. agents. Mr. Irfan’s three small nephews were denied access to food in the family’s carry-on luggage.


Alright, that was just rhetorical. But for real, is there any question whether that woman would have gone to jail, whether that family would have been detained, if they hadn’t been visibly Muslim? What else did they “do” to appear suspicious to those around them? If a white, non-Muslim couple had had the same discussion as Ms. Ijaz and her husband while waiting for a flight, can we reasonably expect that they would be prevented from boarding the flight and questioned by the FBI?

Let’s all hope these incidents are isolated, but remain vigilant against all instances of discrimination against the Muslim community.

To learn more about anti-Muslim bias in the US and efforts to counter it, visit the Council on American-Islamic Relations website and the awesome blog Muslimah Media Watch.

12/3/09 Update: AirTran has apologized. Yay AirTran for not remaining intractable.