Over the last month, we have watched the escalating violence in the Middle East with horror, grief, and anger.
The massacre of more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and the taking of over 200 hostages by Hamas on Oct. 7 is unjustifiable. So, too, is the continuing siege, bombardment, occupation, and invasion of Gaza, which has killed over 10,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children in the last month.
Backed by the United States, Israel’s actions are creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, the majority of whom are children and refugees. We join people of faith and conscience around the world in calling for an immediate ceasefire, the safe return of all prisoners, an end to the siege of Gaza and the occupation, and a resolution that brings freedom, liberation, and safety for all in the region. We urge all New Yorkers to call on their Congressional representatives to publicly support these demands.
We also are troubled by the rise of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Arab sentiments, each of which are utterly incompatible with the kind of international solidarity and people-centered human rights that the best of the labor movement and our faith traditions call us to uphold. We reject the conflation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and condemn attempts to silence critiques of Israel. However, false accusations must not distract us from the real and growing threat of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Arab sentiment. We call on all New Yorkers to be vigilant in countering these divisive ideologies and to take action against hatred and violence wherever it may appear in the world.