JCRC position on rallies

The kidnapping of the three Israeli teens in June began a period of crisis that continues into the present. The response of the St. Louis Jewish community to the crises has been extensive and sustained. Rabbis have brought focus to the situations from their pulpits, synagogues have been organizing social action projects and organizations have provided ongoing information. The community responded with great generosity to the Jewish Federation campaign to raise funds to meet emergency needs in Israel.

Additionally, the Jewish Federation convened and the JCRC coordinated a memorial service July 1 for the murdered Israel teens, a community discussion on the situation on July 21 and a community gathering on July 29. On July 30, the JCRC organized advocacy training for teens currently in the Student to Student program as well as for its alumni. 

We have received inquiries regarding events that took place on Sunday, Aug. 3 (see related story on Page One). There was a rally and counter rally held in Clayton. The rally was organized by CAIR (Council on American Islamic  Relations) and the Palestine Solidarity Committee. The counter rally was organized by a Jewish community grassroots group. We appreciate the deep passion for Israel that motivated the organizers of the counter rally.

We wish to clarify that the policy of the JCRC is that it does not organize counter rallies. This has been our practice through the years whether regarding Israel-related demonstrations or other demonstrations on issues of community concern (e.g. 2008 KKK rally in downtown Clayton).

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We believe that:  

• Officially organized counter rallies give validity to the original demonstration.

• Counter rallies of any sort bring undesirable visibility and attention to the original rally.

• Counter rallies can provoke physical violence and often provoke ugly verbal exchanges

The Jewish Light, JCC and JCRC co-sponsored a Can We Talk?  program on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The program, part of the ongoing community response to the situation, put a focus on media coverage of the Gaza crisis. For members of the community who missed the event, view video from the event at stljewishlight.com/multimedia. 

Phyllis Markus, President, JCRC

Batya Abramson-Goldstein, Executive Director, JCRC