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Reconstructing Judaism and the RRA condemn the attack on Palestinians in Vermont

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association unequivocally condemn the shooting of three Palestinian students in an alleged hate crime in Vermont over Thanksgiving weekend. We pray for the full recovery of all three students, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad. 

Together, our organizations work to create a diverse, connected and engaged Judaism that meaningfully contributes to a just and compassionate world.  We understand this to mean that the well-being of Jews is bound up in the well-being of all other peoples. The significant rise in hate crimes directed at Muslims, Arabs, and Jews in the United States in recent months alarms us.

While this trend predates the horrific events of October 7 and the ensuing conflict between Israel and Hamas, we are now seeing an unprecedented rise in hate, disinformation, and violence against our communities.  In the four weeks between October 7 and November 4, the Council on American Islamic Relations received 1,283 reports of bias, hate speech, and violence directed at members of the Muslim or Arab communities, a 216% increase over the previous year.  At the same time, the Anti-Defamation League reports a 388% increase in incidences of antisemitism over the same period.   

All of this has led to devastating effects, including the recent murder of Wadea Al Fayoume, a six-year-old Palestinian child in Illinois, and now this attack on three students. 

As religious leaders who believe in the dignity and sanctity of every human life, we reaffirm our commitment that no individual or group should be targeted or attacked because of their identity. We stand in our conviction, announced in partnership with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and more than 150 other Jewish organizations last month, that “the Jewish community rejects Islamophobia, anti-Arab hate, antisemitism, and all forms of bigotry. Particularly as extremists continue to exploit this moment, we are reminded that all of our communities’ safety and futures are inextricably linked — and recommit ourselves to fighting hate in all its forms.”

We stand in solidarity with all our neighbors under threat and urge our elected and civic leaders, law enforcement, schools and universities, and employers to make clear there will be zero tolerance for any act of Islamophobia, anti-Arab hate, or antisemitism. 

The Reconstructionist Network