WASHINGTON, D.C.—Approximately 5,000 Palestinians—the majority women, children, and older adults—and 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, and thousands more injured, in a rapidly escalating war. Since Hamas’s October 7 attack on the Israeli people, the Israeli government has dropped at least 6,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip and blocked critical access to food, water, medicines, and fuel, resulting in a rapidly rising death toll, the displacement of at least one million Gazans, and a growing humanitarian crisis.
As the world has watched this escalating violence unfold, some lawmakers and media outlets have responded using dehumanizing and dangerous rhetoric, which all too often has dire consequences. Some of the most extreme policymakers have encouraged anti-immigrant, anti-Arab, Islamophobic proposals, while Jewish communities have experienced an uptick in antisemitism and harassment. Among the consequences of this rise of hate rhetoric and politics, a Palestinian Muslim family in the Chicago area was attacked because of their Muslim faith, and their 6-year-old son, Wadea Al Fayoume, was killed. We grieve alongside Wadea’s family, including his mother Hanaan Shahin, who was brutally injured in the attack. This tragic event is a call to action for us to remain vigilant to protect our communities from hate, disinformation, profiling, and violence.
As a coalition concerned with immigrant and refugee inclusion, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) condemns the Israeli government’s ongoing violence towards Palestinian people in Gaza, aware of the humanitarian impacts of war which displace and harm entire families, communities, and nations. NPNA also recognizes that words and narrative have far reaching effects, and condemns any and all racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, xenophobic, hate-driven rhetoric that attacks, vilifies, or otherwise disparages certain people groups. In light of this rapidly escalating war, its surrounding narrative, and resulting humanitarian crisis, NPNA grieves alongside the families of those killed, injured, captured, or subjected to violence, and urgently calls for a ceasefire and open pathways for humanitarian aid to reach the people in Gaza.
Said Nicole Melaku, NPNA executive director, “We are horrified by the Israeli government’s ongoing violence towards Palestinian civilians and Hamas’s violence towards Israeli civilians. We are also devastated by the ways that this conflict has fueled hateful sentiments across the globe that have led to heightened conflict between groups, cruel attacks, and harmful policy proposals. In NPNA’s work to help communities come together to welcome refugees, we’ve heard countless stories of the deadly consequences of hate, oppression, and forced displacement. We know that targeting innocent people, scapegoating, and ‘othering’ is never a solution, and never makes for humanizing policymaking. The violence and punishment of innocent civilians must stop. Our leaders have a responsibility to speak and legislate in ways that dignify and honor the sanctity of human life. We call for an immediate ceasefire and the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to those directly impacted by the violence—and for the moral courage from our governmental leaders to do their part to ensure this first step towards peace.”
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of 66 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at partnershipfornewamericans.org