Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC Gun Violence Prevention Policy Statement
Passed: March 21, 2018
Approximately 38,000 people are killed by firearms in the United States each year. These deaths are caused by suicide and homicide, as well as by accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, the firearm death rate was approximately 12 deaths per 100,000. That statistic exceeds many other nations and represents a national tragedy and serious public health issue. The Jewish value of pikuach nefesh teaches Jews that the preservation of human life is of supreme importance and overrides almost every other commandment in the Torah. Because of this, JCRC/AJC feels compelled to call on our leaders to take the necessary steps to reduce gun violence in the United States.
Specifically, JCRC/AJC calls on our legislative leaders to:
- Support universal background checks for all gun transactions, including person-to-person
- Oppose concealed carry reciprocity
- Support extreme risk protection orders
- End the prohibition of government funding of gun violence research because gun violence is a grave public health epidemic
- Oppose permitless carry
- Support the abolition of open carry
- Oppose the sale of semi-automatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use
Moreover, JCRC/AJC calls on our legislative and community leaders to engage in open and productive dialogue on this issue in order to craft a multi-faceted approach to eliminate gun violence in our nation.
JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL/AJC RESPONDS TO PRESIDENT TRUMP’S STATEMENT ON JERUSALEM__(December 2017)
The following statement was issued by David Kurzmann, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC.
“We support President Trump’s reaffirmation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Consistent with the bipartisan Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, his statement advances Israel’s sovereign right to choose its capital. Jerusalem is home to the Knesset, the Supreme Court, as well as most Israeli government agencies. Today’s announcement is recognition of the simple truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is inexplicable that countries throughout the world have failed to acknowledge this reality.
We endorse direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians towards a two-state solution, which is consistent with the United States policy. Bilateral negotiations remain the best route to resolving all final status issues, and we are hopeful that the peace process will be renewed to this end. We are sensitive to the ramifications of this announcement and we hope and pray for peace in Jerusalem.”
Metro Detroit Jewish Organizations Denounce Passage of Divestment Resolution at University of Michigan__(November 2017)
In the wake of the divestment vote by the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government (CSG), the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, and ADL Michigan released the following statement:
We condemn the outcome of the CSG vote last night in which the student governing body approved a resolution calling on the University of Michigan to divest from several companies that operate in Israel. The vote, which was conducted by secret ballot, had 23 in favor, 17 against, and 5 abstentions.
We commend the students who worked tirelessly to defeat the resolution despite challenging circumstances. With the support of Hillel at the University of Michigan and its committed staff, along with numerous campus partners, the students were well-prepared and argued against divestment with utmost conviction and dignity. We applaud the students for their hard work and dedication.
At this moment, it is important to clarify the implications of such a resolution. This action by CSG is largely symbolic as it has no bearing on the University and its investment strategy. Since 2002, pro-divestment activists at the University of Michigan have failed 10 times to pass similar resolutions. The passage of the resolution reflects the advocacy of a small and vocal group of students who made this their priority issue. These activists took advantage of conditions on campus favorable to their cause as they conflated divestment with other popular social justice causes. The current CSG is made up of representatives who are more sympathetic to the pro-divestment position than in the past. Additionally, CSG actions during the course of the debate last night impacted the outcome of the debate, including denying U of M History professor Victor Lieberman the opportunity to speak and conducting the vote by secret ballot.
We denounce this resolution as counterproductive to advancing thoughtful and informed dialogue on campus. Furthermore, while we appreciate the statement this morning from the University clarifying its investment strategy, we call upon the University administration to unequivocally repudiate what is a deeply divisive and biased response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The resolution will only sow deeper division between students and it does nothing to advance the peaceful resolution of a conflict thousands of miles away from campus. We are concerned about the impact that it could have on Jewish students on campus who have deep ties to Israel.
The Metro Detroit Jewish community will continue to stand with pro-Israel students as they work to advance productive dialogue at the University of Michigan.
JCRC/AJC CONDEMNS WHITE SUPREMACIST VIOLENCE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE (August 14, 2017)
The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC condemns the hatred and violence espoused by white supremacists this past weekend in Charlottesville. These tragic events remind all Americans that we must stand together in support of a pluralistic and inclusive country in which our differences are embraced and celebrated. We applaud the many leaders of both political parties - including Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden - who have correctly labelled this incident as terrorism. We call on President Trump to join these leaders, and many others, in unequivocally and directly denouncing the perpetrators.
JCRC/AJC will continue to represent the Detroit Jewish community in pushing back against intolerance in all forms. We will work with our community partners against this rising onslaught of hatred.
May the memories of the victims of this weekend’s violence always be a blessing and serve as a reminder of where unchecked hatred can lead.
MICHIGAN GOVERNOR RICK SNYDER JOINS AJC INITIATIVE AGAINST ANTI-ISRAEL BDS (May 2017)
The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC praised Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for signing the Governors United Against BDS statement, an AJC initiative that governors across the U.S. are joining to affirm their rejection of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel.
“Governor Snyder has once again asserted his unequivocal support for Israel and opposition to those who seek to stigmatize and delegitimize a valued partner of Michigan and the only democracy in the Middle East," said Alicia B. Chandler, President of JCRC/AJC.
"The Michigan-Israel relationship has flourished under Governor Snyder's leadership in automotive innovation, technology, security and many other fields, as evidenced by his several trips to Israel and his initiation of Michigan-Israel economic agreements,” said Chandler. “His efforts to confront BDS will help ensure that critical partnerships between Michigan and Israel, -- continue to expand."
Governor Snyder joins with 49 governors throughout the United States who have signed the statement. “We are grateful to Governor Snyder for his leadership in further strengthening Michigan-Israel ties,” said David Kurzmann, Executive Director of JCRC/AJC. “Our state recognizes clearly that the BDS movement is malicious, targets Israel alone for punishment and does not advocate for peace.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D), are co-chairs of the national, bipartisan Governors United Against BDS initiative.
The Detroit Jewish Community Praises Law Enforcement Officials for Arrest (March 2017)
The Detroit Jewish community is relieved and grateful that the F.B.I., working with Israeli law enforcement, has secured the arrest of an individual who is allegedly linked to the majority of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers in recent months. The apprehension of the American Israeli suspect, if he is proven to be involved, will go a long way toward calming the nerves of the Jewish community. Still, many of the large number of recent threats, cemetery desecrations, and other anti-Semitic incidents - which constitute a significant uptick in anti-Semitism in contrast to past years - are unsolved crimes and need the determined work of our police agencies to catch the perpetrators. Dr. Richard Krugel, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, said “We thank law enforcement, government leaders, our interfaith partners and the media for their support during these tense weeks and months. We will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to secure our community institutions and to counter anti-Semitism and other hate crimes against the Jewish community.”
Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC Responds to Rise of Anti-Semitic Incidents (March 2, 2017)
Dr. Richard Krugel, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, issued the following statement in response to the rise of anti-Semitic incidents.
“The American Jewish community is deeply disturbed by the sharp uptick in anti-Semitic incidents, particularly the bomb threats to over 100 Jewish communities and institutions across the country and reprehensible desecration of two Jewish cemeteries. The Detroit Jewish community has not been immune, with bomb threats targeting two institutions and additional reports of bias incidents aimed at individuals in the Jewish community.
Our response is one of concern, but not fear. We will not cower in the face of these threats and will continue to dedicate our energies to preserving the vitality of our Jewish community.
We thank Michigan’s political leadership, the interfaith community and other friends for standing with us, and also the local, state and national law enforcement agencies for working diligently to protect the Jewish community and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
We cherish American freedoms and opportunity, and we will continue to strengthen our own community and stand up for those threatened by the rise of intolerance in this country.
DETROIT JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE EXECUTIVE ORDERS ON IMMIGRATION
THE FOLLOWING WAS ISSUED BY DR. RICHARD KRUGEL AFTER THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION__(November 2016)
“The presidential election has highlighted the deep divisions that exist in our nation. This climate has given rise to hate speech, bias incidents and intolerance. Local incidents of racism, anti-immigrant activity and anti-Semitism have engendered great fear, uncertainty and vulnerability and must not be tolerated. No matter how one voted, now is the time to build ties with other ethnic and religious communities and advocate for civility and an inclusive society.
“As a nation of diverse faiths, ethnicities and identities, we must protect our freedoms and maintain the struggle for equality and fairness in our society. The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC will continue to fulfill our mission of working together with all communities as we pursue social justice, stand up for Israel and fight against bigotry. We are committed to protecting democratic freedoms, developing peaceful relationships among Americans, promoting mutual respect, fostering understanding and celebrating diversity.
“President Obama, President-elect Trump and Secretary Clinton last week all called for unity. We must now heed that message. Unity doesn't mean that we always agree on everything, but we should never lose sight of our shared goals and values as we seek to make a brighter future for us, our children and our grandchildren. “
For more than half a century, JCRC has played an important role by bringing public policy issues to the government’s attention and taking action on behalf of the metro Detroit Jewish community.
JCRC’s board of directors and its committees develop and officially adopt policy statements relevant to our mission and goals. The board uses a rigorous, inclusive process that allows for all voices to be heard and does not guarantee that any particular viewpoint will prevail.
JCRC's staff works to advance the issues outlined by these policies – reaching out and motivating Jews and non-Jews alike to action, convening delegations of community leaders to meet with federal, state and local government officials, and offering ourselves as a resource and sounding board to all government officials.