Statement Denouncing Antisemitism

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Statement Denouncing Antisemitism
June 2021

In the wake of the May 2021 state violence in Palestine/Israel, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance (PICR) was one among many justice groups asserting that Palestinian rights are human rights and that state repression is unjust no matter where it occurs. Representing a wide array of faith communities but comprised largely of faith leaders in Jewish and Christian traditions, we asserted:

Together across our faith traditions we are saying, “Never again:” never again will we stand by when our neighbors are being oppressed, never again will we allow our religions to be used to support hate, bigotry, and violence.

We made this claim in solidarity with Palestinians and movements for the rights for all people to be free of state repression. We reject the idea that the need for Jews to live free from fear of antisemitism must come at the expense of Palestinian lives and freedom. We also reject the false binary that solidarity with Palestinian lives and freedom should lead to or engender antisemitism in any form or expression.

The racist and colonialist structures and systems that we decry and challenge as we proclaim that Black Lives Matter, that Palestinian lives matter, that Indigenous lives matter, are the same racist and colonialist systems that fuel antisemitism. The fallacy of antisemitism that casts Jews as racial others and as an existential threat to white Christian nationalism is itself at the core of and fuels white supremacy ideology. Since the May eruption of violence in Palestine and Israel, the incidents of antisemitic attacks has spiked in the United States. These attacks mirror the openly antisemitic slogans and chants of the “Unite the Right” alt-right demonstrators in Charlottesville in August of 2017.

As an interfaith collective of faith leaders, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance witnesses, supports and participates in movement work for Black and Indigenous Lives. The group was convened by a Portland rabbi after they witnessed the continuing and increasing use of force by the Portland police department at protests for Black Lives, particularly the level of violence and intimidation inflicted upon Black, Indigenous and People of Color. It was the rabbi’s deep commitment to justice as commanded in scripture, that compelled them to organize Portland faith leaders to be a visible presence in the pursuit of justice, to show up and embody the commitments of our faiths towards equity and liberation in solidarity with those who have been oppressed and marginalized, and to decry and work to dismantle the systems and structures that support and fuel that marginalization and oppression.

As a body of faith leaders committed to justice and liberation, we proclaim our solidarity with our Jewish siblings and decry antisemitism. We will not allow attacks on any group of people to divide us or distract us from our witness for racial justice. And we will continue to show up to denounce and resist state and vigilante violence aimed atour Black, Brown, Indigenous siblings and all those targetted by white supremacist violence. We commit to combatting and challenging antisemitism in our world–in our own contexts, our own hearts and minds, and in our movement work.

In our statement in solidarity with Palestinian people, we proclaimed, “Never again,” a slogan used in the aftermath of the Holocaust by liberated prisoners at Buchenwald. In our commitment to solidarity with all who are being oppressed, we do not and will not forget this history. We commit to this memory and to this work: to being in solidarity with all who are oppressed, and to doing the work to combat oppression, to remain vigilant to the ways it manifests in our society, our communities, and in our own hearts and minds, and to join together to imagine and enact a more just world.

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