The Wing Luke Museum in Seattle was slated to host an exhibit called "Confronting Hate Together," which contains material from AJC's archives. However, about half the staff last week walked out in protest over how they claim the exhibit discusses anti-Zionism. The museum has remained closed since. AJC today issued this statement in response. 

The “Confronting Hate Together” exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum offered an important opportunity for a much-needed conversation about discrimination and bigotry. Instead, the staff who have shut down the museum are engaged in the very hate the exhibit is meant to address. They are censoring Jewish voices, offering to promote only a single point of view and demanding that leadership cancel the exhibit altogether. 

The leadership of the Wing Luke Museum must not yield to this group, which has dubiously portrayed its protest as a labor dispute. The censorship that they seek would prevent people from engaging in the constructive dialogue the exhibit is meant to elicit.     

The employees’ grievances  are confined only to the Jewish aspects of the exhibit, much of it drawn from the archives of American Jewish Committee, which has been fighting antisemitism since its founding 118 years ago. The protesters’ statements echo the same anti-Zionist and, in many instances, outright anti-Jewish tropes that have been heard since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7. They claim to know the definition of antisemitism better than the Jewish community, and even go as far as to say “Zionism has no place in our communities,” not taking into account that the overwhelming number of American Jews identify as Zionists.

One can show solidarity with the Palestinian people without demonizing Jews and spreading lies about the only Jewish state and calling for its destruction. There is nothing inherently antisemitic with criticizing Israel, but when that criticism asserts that Jews do not have the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland–the essence of Zionism–the line has been crossed into outright antisemitism.

In this fraught time, we need dialogue, not demagogues. Let this exhibit be a learning experience for all, including for the Wing Luke staff, as it was originally designed to be.



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