We are Jews in White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL) whose parents and grandparents were immigrants, whose family members were both survivors and victims of the Holocaust, and who are immigrants ourselves. We, and the WP4BL collective, are in solidarity and mourning with the Tree of Life community in Pittsburgh and with Jews across the world. We share our deepest condolences, care and support.
We see the murder of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue as rooted in anti-semitism as well as in white supremacy, both of which are sanctioned and inflamed by the current administration’s fascist policies and rhetoric. It’s no accident that earlier in the week a white supremacist killed two Black people in another hate crime in Kentucky. As members of a white anti-racist collective, we recognize the connection between the anti-semitic attack in Pittsburgh, white supremacy, U.S. imperialism/capitalism and the systemic violence and oppression that Black, Brown, Muslim, Indigenous, LGBTQ, poor and other marginalized communities experience daily. Although we center anti-Black racism in our work, we do not and cannot separate the fear/hatred/oppression of one group from the fear/hatred/oppression of any other, as we work in solidarity to make this world a better place.
In the face of our horror, trauma, and outrage over this hate crime, will need to continue seeking safety and healing. We hope and urge that Jewish communities around the country will seek safety and healing not only with other Jews and friends, but also in coalition and solidarity with other oppressed and traumatized groups and communities. Our resistance together against institutions that perpetuate and inflame anti-semitism, white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, etc. is stronger and more powerful collectively. Moreover, safety must be based in collaboration and community building, rather than in armed security or police which further criminalizes and harms Black people, people of color (including Black Jews and other Jews of color), people with disabilities, Muslims, immigrants, and trans folks.
Every Wednesday in Los Angeles, for an example, WP4BL joins with a Black Lives Matter–led coalition of community groups, and family members of victims of police violence, to protest the disproportionate death by cop of Black and brown youth, women and men; bringing pressure to bear on the County DA, Jackie Lacey, to do her job and prosecute killer cops, or resign. So far on her watch over 400 people have been killed by “law enforcement,” yet not one police officer has been charged with a crime. We say racialized murders by cop are hate crimes too, and that Jackie Lacey should be prosecuted for colluding in covering them up.
We bring this up here not to diminish or distract from the terror and trauma of last week’s attack in Pittsburgh, but as a cry for solidarity and co-liberatory efforts between communities. Anti-semitic and anti-Black violence and trauma are supported by systems that maintain white supremacy. We can start to heal by working collaboratively to dismantle these oppressive systems and the conditions that perpetuate them. As white people, both Jews and non-Jews, we are impacted negatively by white supremacy. We have a duty, and it’s in our interest too, to dismantle the systems that harm us all. Our organizing work is a place for people to work on healing the world and ourselves. We will continue to challenge anti-semitism, as well as anti-Blackness, xenophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, class oppression and the oppression of other marginalized groups, understanding that these struggles are deeply connected. Those of us who are Ashkenazi Jews will also continue to seek out opportunities to collaborate with and support Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews and Jews of color.
In addition to our statement of solidarity, we are amplifying this post from the Catalyst Project’s Facebook page with which we are significantly aligned.