US Jewish policy umbrella decries China’s ‘genocide’ of Muslim Uighur minority

Jewish Council for Public Affairs calls for ‘grassroots atrocity prevention movement’; also embraces Israel’s normalization with Arab states, commits to fight climate change

A protester from the Uighur community living in Turkey holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul, October 1, 2020. (Emrah Gurel/AP)
A protester from the Uighur community living in Turkey holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul, October 1, 2020. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

JTA — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the main policy umbrella for US Jewish groups, has resolved to protest what it calls China’s “genocide” of its Muslim Uighur minority.

“The Jewish community should call upon the [Chinese Communist Party] to end the genocide and exploitation of the Uighurs, as well as halt the oppression of other ethnic and religious minorities living within its borders,” the JCPA, which brings together most national groups and virtually every local Jewish community relations council, said in a resolution at its two-day annual conference held virtually this week.

Other resolutions also urged expanded voter access, embraced last year’s normalization agreements between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, and renewed its commitment to combat climate change.

The resolutions are significant because they undergo a slow deliberative process bringing in all of the JCPA constituents and are the closest the national US Jewish community has to consensus opinions. Its resolutions frequently anticipate the direction of American Jewish activism.

FILE: A guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

The one on the Uighurs represents a recent surge in Jewish community activity on behalf of the Muslim minority in China. The JCPA resolution calls on constituent groups to speak out against the genocide and work with other communities “to create a grassroots atrocity prevention movement.”

The JCPA, representing a community that is largely liberal, nonetheless is also conscious in its resolutions process of being nonpartisan.

That has become increasingly difficult in a polarized environment, evident in the group’s resolutions to renew its commitment to combating climate change, a phenomenon that many Republicans deny, and expand voter access.

The voter access measure decried “the discredited narrative of widespread voter fraud pushed by some leaders at the state and national level.” Unmentioned was that all those leaders are Republican.

The resolution embracing the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements brokered by the Trump administration, emphatically promoted bipartisanship.

“The Biden Administration should seize upon the progress made in the Middle East, as evidenced by the Abraham Accords which the Trump Administration helped to bring about,” it said.

L-R: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, on the Blue Room Balcony during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, September 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A substantial portion of the conference was dedicated to criminal justice reform and advancing the Black-Jewish alliance. Taking the spotlight were Jewish activists in Atlanta who have worked closely with Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who until his election in January helmed Ebenezer Baptist Church.

A session titled “Athletes Against Antisemitism” featured Zach Banner of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, Alysha Clark of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Yael Averbuch, a former top-ranked pro in women’s soccer.

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