Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass: Antisemitism and Islamophobia
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE BLUEGRASS
March 14, 2017
Expresses concern about rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and shootings of Indian immigrants and gratitude toward political leaders, local law enforcement, and Muslim leaders, among others, for their support.
The Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass (JFB) is greatly alarmed by the surge in antisemitic incidents in the United States. These include bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish schools, and other agencies, graffiti displays of swastikas and other hate symbols, the proliferation of antisemitic hate speech on the Internet and in other venues, and, most recently, the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester.
To our great sadness and dismay, this hate has extended to Kentucky, with the bomb threats directed at Temple Shalom, and most recently, at the Louisville JCC.
We are therefore heartened by, and grateful for, the condemnations of antisemitism and the expressions of support for the Jewish community made by countless Americans throughout the United States. The recent arrest of one of the alleged perpetrators of the JCC bomb threats offers us real encouragement, and we praise federal and local law enforcement agencies for their continuing efforts to investigate, prosecute, and prevent these crimes.
We would particularly like to thank the residents and officials of Whitefish, Montana, for opposing and helping to prevent a white supremacist ‘armed march’ through their town. We would like to thank representatives of both political parties and public figures across the political spectrum for condemning antisemitism in all its forms. We especially express our appreciation to the Muslim communities of St. Louis and Philadelphia and to Muslims throughout our country. Their extraordinary generosity and rapid response in helping repair the damage caused by those who desecrated the Jewish cemeteries stand as a powerful inspiration for us all.
We are profoundly moved by this outpouring of support coming as it does when Muslim communities themselves face assaults and attacks from individuals and groups professing and promoting hate. We are extremely distressed by the recent wave of incidents of Islamophobia, the vandalism and burning of mosques, and threats of violence directed at individual Muslims. We are especially disturbed by the horrendous shooting of two Indian immigrants whom the shooter believed had come from the Middle East, resulting in the murder of one of the victims.
And just as Louisville’s Jewish community has been threatened, so too have our Muslim neighbors in Lexington. We are shocked and saddened by the recent bomb threat against the Masjid Bilal mosque.
As we have in the past, the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass condemns these incidents of Islamophobia. Just as we have received support from across the nation, we call on all Americans, regardless of ethnic background, creed, and religion, to come together and oppose this hate directed at our fellow citizens and community members. We urge all citizens, state and local authorities, and the U.S. government to act against this bigotry and to promote love and inclusion for everyone living in our great country.
Dr. Laurence H. Kant
Co-chair, Community Relations Committee (CRC)
Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass (JFB)
859-268-0672 (JFB office)