August 17, 2005
New York, NY — Today, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) joined the Workmen’s Circle, Arab American Anti-Defamation Committee and other groups in criticizing New York State Assembly Member Dov Hikind’s call for racial profiling of Middle Eastern people in subway searches.
“Under the guise of security concerns, Assembly Member Hikind is encouraging the NYPD to violate the constitutional rights of Arab and Muslim New Yorkers,” explained Dara Silverman, Director of JFREJ.
“Mr. Hikind’s comment that those ‘who fit the terrorist profile all look a certain way’ is false. Dividing New Yorkers and denigrating the diversity and vibrancy of our city will not make New York safer.” Silverman said. “Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber are but two reminders that there is no single ‘terrorist profile.’ That is why good police practice focuses on behavior, not appearance. Assembly Member Hikind’s call to use racial profiling is insulting, hateful and a bad security policy.”
“As Jews we are doubly outraged by Assembly Member Hikinds’ comments,” Silverman added. “Our tradition teaches us that all people are created in a divine
image and that respect for the stranger is paramount. Declaring a whole community of our neighbors as suspect and suggesting their rights should be violated is antithetical to Jewish values, not to mention American civil rights.”
Assembly Member Hikind should retract and apologize to the Arab and Muslim communities of New York City for his statement,” added JFREJ Board Co-Chair Lee Schere. “We are glad Mayor Bloomberg has denounced this proposal and we call on City Council to defeat any proposed racial profiling legislation. It is precisely at times of crisis that it is most essential to ensure that the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers are guaranteed under the law.”