Skip to main content
ColumnistsLetters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

By April 26, 2024June 24th, 2024No Comments

Dear Editor,

Nikkei4Palestine objects to JACL President Larry Oda’s mischaracterization of our collective demands in the Vol. 178, No. 3, issue of the Pacific Citizen article “Challenges Ahead” (Feb. 23-March 7, 2024, issue).

N4P is committed to Palestinian liberation and immediately ending Israel’s genocide of Palestinian people. Many members of N4P are active JACL members and leaders.

In December 2023, N4P sent a letter to the JACL National Board, requesting the JACL call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, denounce the U.S.’s funding of Israel’s genocide, end partnerships with Zionist organizations, refuse to attend AJC-funded trips to Israel and repudiate the idea that supporting Palestinian human rights or rejecting Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic.

N4P urged the JACL to build relationships with Palestinian, Muslim, Arab and anti-Zionist Jewish organizations. The letter has received over 380 signatures from past and current JACL members, youth and Kakehashi alums and Nikkei community members and organizations.

N4P is not demanding that the JACL divest from partnerships with organizations because they are Jewish. This mischaracterization plays into dangerous Zionist propaganda that seeks to equate Zionism with Judaism and label any critique of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic. N4P supports partnerships with Jewish organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace that implore U.S. divestment from institutions that support the Israeli state and its genocide against Palestinians.

N4P urges the JACL to divest from its partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL supports the “Countering Violent Extremism” approach to counterterrorism, which enables increased law enforcement surveillance and criminalization of Arab, Muslim and Black communities in the United States — policies that the JACL has historically cautioned against, including in the wake of 9/11.

Other organizations that JACL partners with on civil rights work, programs and national policy coalitions have similarly joined the call to drop the ADL as a partner in social justice work, including the American Friends Service Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, among others.

Although, as President Oda mentions, the JACL adopted a policy of noninvolvement in international affairs in 1954, there have been examples since of commenting on global affairs. In 1970, the JACL resolved to include comment on international relations when it took a position against U.S. intervention in the war on Vietnam. Since then, the JACL has weighed in on multiple global issues, notably including apartheid in South Africa in 1986. It is true that in 1988 JACL resolved not to comment on the bilateral U.S.-Japan relationship; however, the 1988 resolution seems limited to U.S.-Japan relations.

N4P calls on the JACL to stand in solidarity with Palestine. We know that the JACL has the power and influence to contribute to the growing efforts across the country in calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to all U.S. aid to Israel.

Nikkei4Palestine urges all JACL members to join us by directly emailing the JACL National Board and your local chapter leadership to take immediate action and say, “Never Again for Anyone.”



Sakae Kikuchi, JACL member, on behalf of Nikkei4Palestine