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Society for Humanistic Judaism
Speaks Out Against Politically-Motivated Violence and Hate Speech

As Humanistic Jews,

– we believe that the peaceful exchange of ideas through non-violence is instrumental to the dignity of every human being.

– we believe that differences of opinion on fundamental issues, whether political, religious, social, or ethical, are essential to a well-functioning democracy.

– we believe that we have the civic responsibility to exchange ideas that are well thought out and evidence-based, not merely emotive and incendiary. While we acknowledge that speech that denigrates other groups of people is protected activity under the First Amendment and under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada and therefore should not be legally banned, we nonetheless feel that such “hate” speech undermines a much-needed democratic dialogue and violates ethical principles regarding how we should characterize others with whom we disagree.

Accordingly, we, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, believe that no group or individual should be subjected to any form of harassment, racism, or violence based on their belief system.

We implore groups and individuals to strive to have a civil and respectful dialogue, even with people with whom they disagree, as that is most beneficial to a peaceful and productive society.

Specifically, as Humanistic Jews,

– we deplore the senseless violence at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin that was perpetrated by an individual associated with various white supremacist hate groups.

– we condemn the shooting of a guard at the Family Research Council based on the perpetrator’s disagreement with the political views of the organization.

– we denounce racist ads that promote hate and anti-Muslim bigotry because such ads undermine the ability to have a fruitful dialogue that is essential to resolving disputes in a constructive way.

– we condemn the shooting of a 14 year old schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, for defending the right to education for girls in Pakistan.

– October 2012

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