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JACL Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza

Over the past seven months, the ongoing conflict in Gaza between the Israeli government and Hamas has caused untold strife, suffering, and loss of innocent lives. The conflict has had worldwide impact, especially here in the United States as we have seen countless protests, counter-protests, and unrest, as people call for an end to the bloodshed. Islamophobic and antisemitic hate incidents in the United States have continued to rise throughout the conflict, directly affecting Palestinian American and Jewish American communities. The horrors that have occurred cannot be summed up in a single statement. Similarly, the intricate and divisive nature of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is beyond what we as an organization can fully explore in this statement, but these are conversations that are necessary for us not only as a community but as a nation to have. As a part of that conversation, we feel there is no other option but to call for an end to the violence and express our hopes for the Israeli government and Hamas to negotiate a ceasefire.


Amidst the controversies surrounding the ongoing conflict, certain truths must be acknowledged. Since October 2023, the death toll has been staggering: over 34,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have been killed, the majority of whom are civilians and over 13,000 have been children. Currently, over half a million people in Gaza face famine conditions due to the inadequacy of aid, lack of food, and access to safe drinking water. Military operations in Gaza have caused the collapse of the healthcare system, making it nearly impossible for anyone to receive even the most basic medical care. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 1.9 million, have been forced from their homes, adding to the already immense suffering.


As an American civil rights organization with a focus on domestic issues, while also dedicated to safeguarding the civil liberties of not only Japanese Americans but all individuals subjected to injustice and bigotry, we must denounce these egregious human rights violations. This is particularly crucial in light of the violence, bigotry, and assaults on civil liberties we have witnessed in our nation.


The JACL urges the Biden administration to continue to advance negotiations for a ceasefire and to provide and ensure the availability of humanitarian aid for the residents of Gaza. Furthermore, we condemn the nationwide rise in hate crimes and hate speech, including Islamophobia, antisemitism, and xenophobia. We recognize that calling for a ceasefire does not mark the conclusion of discourse on this topic. Even with a lasting end to the violence, there will be a significant need for healing, rebuilding, and addressing the numerous injustices that have occurred. As an organization, within our broader community, and as a nation, we will continue to engage in these difficult conversations, with the aim of becoming better informed and to promote justice and healing here in the United States, and in our nation’s engagements with Israel and Palestine.

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