The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council condemns the vile hatred, bigotry and antisemitism displayed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA, and the despicable acts of violence and terrorism that claimed one life, led to the death of two police officers, and injured twenty others. We extend our condolences to the families of Heather Heyer, Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, and pray for the recovery of all those wounded.
We are grateful to our local, state and congressional office-holders, law enforcement professionals, civic leaders, and interfaith partners, who have universally and forcefully denounced this extremism through their words and actions, making a clarion call for unity in the face of hate. There can be no equivocation when it comes to rejecting Nazism, white supremacy, and antisemitism. Such bigotry in all its forms is antithetical to the principles of freedom and equality that form the cornerstone of American democracy and our pluralistic society.
Safeguarding the rights of Jews in the United States and abroad has been one of JCRC’s primary missions since we were founded 75 years ago as a direct response to the horrific atrocities committed by Nazis in Europe, and to persistent antisemitism here at home. The JCRC has been a leader in confronting hate in Indiana by marshalling resources and support when communities or individuals are the victims of crimes motivated by antisemitism or bigotry; by working with schools and teachers to educate them about the Holocaust and the need to stand up and speak out in the face of racism and discrimination; and most recently, by leading statewide efforts to pass a hate crimes statute to add Indiana to the list of 45 states that already have such laws.
The Jewish community will continue to build bridges of understanding by fostering respect, civility and collaboration among Hoosiers of all faiths, races, ethnicities, and genders. Only by standing together, and declaring categorically that Nazism, white supremacy, antisemitism and racism have no place in our communities, can we successfully combat the spreading of this pernicious extremism. We therefore call on friends and neighbors to speak out directly in the face of hate, to ensure that extremists remain at the fringes of our society, and that bigotry is never allowed to take hold here in Indiana, or anywhere in our country.
As we look back to Charlottesville, and look forward to the weeks ahead, the Indianapolis Jewish community will pray for peace and build unity in the face of violence and division, and we will never stop pursuing a just American society that honors our country’s treasured diversity.