We condemn the atrocious attack committed by Hamas against innocent Israelis, Thais, Nepalis, Pilipinos and Cambodians on October 7 that claimed over 1,200 lives and join calls to demand the immediate return of all hostages. We recognize that Hamas’ actions do not represent all Palestinians, just as the Israeli government’s occupation does not represent all Jewish people. We must separate the people from the actions of their governments, and speak out against policies that do not keep us safe.
We also condemn the Israeli military’s indiscriminate bombings in Gaza that have taken the lives of more than 11,000 innocent Palestinians, over 4,000 of whom are children – and the inhumane withholding of food, fuel, water, and electricity in the occupied territory. Vengeance is not self-defense. And we believe that criticizing the Israeli government’s actions is no more antisemitic than calling out the Saudi government is Islamophobic or criticizing the government of India is anti-Hindu.
As an organization dedicated to dismantling systemic racism, we join the chorus of Palestinians, Israelis, Muslims and Jews and others across the globe in demanding an end to Israel’s occupation and the cessation of war.
We also caution politicians and the media from using rhetoric that inflames already high tensions because we see the devastating consequences of callous words. In the United States, Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, and Jewish American communities across the nation are experiencing an overwhelming wave of hate incidents and crimes. In Chicago, 6-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed to death by his family’s landlord because he was Muslim and a 9-year-old in New York City, whose name remains private, was threatened by a man with a knife who yelled, “I will kill you Jew.”
Here in Los Angeles, a political candidate is shamefully capitalizing on the pain and grief of Jewish communities by attacking LA City Councilmember Nithya Raman, who is South Asian American, falsely calling her a supporter of terrorism. AAPI Equity’s own Board Treasurer and South Asian Network’s Executive Director Shakeel Syed was profiled, questioned, and visited by the FBI at his own home in the days after the Hamas attack.
This alarming escalation is not a coincidence. It is eerily similar to the post-9/11 profiling and surveillance against Muslims, Arabs, South Asians, Sikhs and those in the Middle Eastern and North African communities. We fought against that scapegoating then and we will continue to do so now.
Historically and as an AAPI organization, we know that the individual hate against our communities leads to institutional policies of exclusion, imperialism, and profiling. And when it goes unchecked, the consequences can look like the incarceration of Japanese Americans during the second World War, the Chinese Exclusion Act and Asiatic Barred Zone Act that separated generations of families, the colonization and dispossession in the Pacific Islands and the refugee experience of Southeast Asians fleeing war and genocide.
Now is the time to come together and rise above the cycle of violence and vengeance by putting our shared humanity first. As Angelenos, we urge you to join us in using our collective power to demand humanitarian relief for Gaza and an immediate ceasefire and to call out hate wherever and whenever it happens in our community.