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February 25, 2020 4:54 pm

Dozens of US Jewish Groups Issue Open Letter of Support for Chinese Communities Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

People wearing face masks walk inside a subway station in Shanghai, China, Feb. 17, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Aly Song.

Over 70 US Jewish groups issued an open letter of support on Monday for Chinese people around the world as they faced the threat from the coronavirus and resulting prejudice and xenophobia.

The letter — spearheaded by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), stated, “We are writing to express our heartfelt solidarity with you during these tense and troubling times.”

It expressed concern at “rising xenophobia” targeting Chinese people due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying, “We know from history, ours and yours, that such fearmongering can be devastating.”

It also urged Jews to not avoid Chinese-owned businesses due to fear of infection.

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“The Chinese and Jewish communities share much in common,” the letter added. “We in the Jewish community are more committed than ever to upholding these ideals and ensuring they are extended to you, our friends and neighbors.”

The letter was also issued in the Chinese language.

It was signed by Michael Fromm, chair of the JCPA, and its president and CEO, David Bernstein. Among the groups endorsing it were the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and B’nai B’rith International, as well as numerous local federations and councils.

“The Jewish community has strong and abiding ties to the Chinese community in the US and abroad,” said Fromm in a press release. “When our friends are targeted, we act and let them know they can count on us.”

Bernstein stated, “We were so proud of the broad and diverse response from national organizations and local Jewish community relations councils, many of which are in active contact with their local Chinese counterparts.”

Fred Teng, president of the America China Public Affairs Institute (ACPAI), responded, “We want to thank our partners in the Jewish community for their solidarity and friendship. We stand together for truth and fairness, and against the spread of false and damaging information.”

Sharon Wong, president of the OCA — Asian Pacific American Advocates, said, “It is truly appreciated when other groups stand with you especially when we face challenging times.”

“Many in the community have been devastated, not just by the virus itself but the xenophobia, harassment, bullying, and fear that has been directed to our community,” she pointed out.

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