The organizations also called on elected officials to meet with human rights advocates to gain a deeper and more balanced perspective.
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) and Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles (JVP-LA) today strongly condemned recent biased political statements on the violence in the Middle East made by two school districts in Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) emailed students, families, and community members in their districts to address the recent violence between Israel and Gaza. The statement contained one-sided language and voiced the school districts’ support for Israel. The schools’ statements did not acknowledge the dispossession of the Palestinian people under the illegal Israeli occupation and apartheid system or their humanity as they are bombarded and killed by Israeli forces.
In the last 24 hours, Israeli forces launched bombing attacks that have killed at least 680 Palestinians and wounded 1,600 others in the Gaza Strip in the wake of Hamas’ weekend attack in southern Israel, which killed at least 900 Israelis and injured 2,600 others, which occurred in the wake of attacks on al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers backed by Israeli soldiers.
Gaza, which human rights organizations have described as “the largest open-air prison” due to an ongoing 15-year-long inhumane siege and blockade, is home to two million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees from villages and towns occupied by Israel.
The United Nations has called Israel’s aggressions in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank “illegal under international law” and a “substantial obstacle to peace.”
In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:
“Schools need to remain safe and welcoming environments for students of all backgrounds, and statements such as those recently released by LAUSD and GUSD put Muslim and Palestinian students at risk of backlash. We are extremely disappointed to learn that the school districts are not working to ensure the safety of all their students, but rather irresponsibly subjecting many of them to bullying.
“It is vital to remember that Palestinians have endured decades of dehumanization and annexation and continue to be persecuted under the governance of the Israeli occupation. The immediate uproar when Israel faces an attack is in stark contrast to the shameful silence over the daily brutality Israel has brought to the Palestinian people for over 75 years. Palestinians are no different than any other people—They want to live free and with dignity on their own land.
“We must stand to remind elected officials that every innocent life is sacred, valuable, and should be protected; every life, not just Israeli ones.”
In a statement, JVP-LA Founder Estee Chandler said:
“The war on Palestine is not something new—it started over 75 years ago when the Israeli government began the occupation of Palestinian land that has led to decades of suffering and oppression. We must uproot the sources of violence, starting with our own government’s complicity.
“The United States’ financial support and sanctions for the Israeli military only pave a pathway to more violence. As a Jewish American, I call on our elected officials to take this opportunity to uphold principles of liberation, safety, and equality for the Palestinian people.
“Equating the condemnation of the Israeli government with antisemitism is false and a distraction from the issue at large. Both Palestinians and Israelis are mourning the loss of loved ones—we all must remain committed to a future where all people live in freedom and safety.”
The UN Security Council has repeatedly expressed concerns over expanding Israeli settlements. Billions in military aid directly fund the current aggressions, and the United States is responsible for half the funding.
CAIR-LA and JVP-LA also condemned the blatant disregard from elected officials regarding the Palestinian people’s suffering in Gaza at the hands of Israel and call on them to meet with Palestinian human rights advocates to gain a deeper and more balanced perspective on the decades-long struggle the Palestinian people have endured.
Our elected officials should help advance human rights and justice rather than dump fuel on a volatile and violent conflict. To urge your members of Congress to take action and address the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine, click here.