Six Black Churches Torched: Where is the Outrage?

church-burning[1]— by Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

The rash of church burnings over the past week and a half are an outrage that harkens back to some of the darkest chapters in American history. These arsons are a painful reminder that the tragedy in Charleston was bigger than any one city or house of worship. As Americans, we must remember that Black churches have been targeted for violence throughout our history and these recent burnings are a continuation of that despicable tradition. These attacks are not isolated incidents. They are an expression of violent racism that remains all too real in twenty-first century America.

It’s deeply concerning that so little attention has been paid to these arsons, especially after how closely they followed the tragedy in Charleston. It will take all Americans declaring in one voice that ‘enough is enough’ for this hate to stop. The Jewish community, along with all those working to build a more just society, will not be silent in the face of these criminal attacks.

Dispelling Rumors in Tunisia

Bonnie Squires

Today the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, Roger Bismuth, informed AFP (Agence France Press) that no anti-Semitic act has been signaled in Tunisia since the start of the popular revolution.

Cautioning against a rumor that surfaced on Tuesday regarding a fire in a synagogue, Mr. Bismuth declared “at no time were the Tunisian Jews either a target of attacks or targets of foul comments during this revolution.”

The chief of the Tunisian Jewish community, which numbers 1600 persons, stated a “formal denial” of “a rumor describing a fire in a synagogue” on Monday evening in El Hamma, near the coastal town of Gabes (south east). He added that “There is no synagogue in El Hamma. There is a mausoleum for a great Rabbi, which is a site of pilgrimage. Monday night several buildings in the region were the target of vandalism and the guard house of the mausoleum was vandalized and a few chairs stolen.”

The Jewish community in itself was not a target. He explained that “A building of the UGTT (the main Tunisian labor union) was vandalized, and so were other buildings.”

More after the jump.
“We need to be very careful with rumors. Some are trying to make us believe that there is an intention to attack synagogues. That is not true.” He insisted, “We are neither worried, nor did we request special security protection from the government because we are convinced that there is no reason to do so.”

Tuesday, several leaders in the local Jewish community mistakenly confirmed to AFP and AP (Africa Press) a fire in the synagogue at El Hamma, after allegations were made by an Anti-Semitism watch-dog group in Paris.

Several officers in the Tunisian league for human rights denied these allegations and warned against the multitudes of rumors of different kind circulating in the country while security was not totally re-established.