Biggest Ever Jewish Action Day in Solidarity with the Uyghurs

10 December 2020


Jewish activists are joining forces in 30 cities around the world to condemn the genocide of Uyghurs by the Chinese state, as they organise the biggest ever global action day on December 10, coordinated by ‘Never Again, Right Now!’ (NARN), the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), and the German Union of Jewish Students (JSUD).

The initiative, taking place on the first night of Chanukah and coinciding with the UN Human Rights Day, is a major move to “shine a light on human rights” and call out China’s genocide of the Uyghur population in the Xinjiang region.

72 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, activists in 30 countries on 3 continents – from Tel Aviv over Vilnius to New York – roll out large-scale copies of the Declaration in front of entrances to Chinese Embassies, consular sections and cultural centres – showcasing how the Chinese state is literally trampling on human rights, putting the Uyghur genocide in the spotlight, and ramping up the pressure on officials.

The action demonstrates the scale of Jewish solidarity with the Uyghur people, as the persecution of the Uyghur population grows ever clearer – with over a million people held in concentration camps, widespread reports of forced birth control, and the use of forced labour practices by businesses such as Nike, Zara, and Adidas.

Bini Guttmann, Mischa Ushakov and Sashi Turkof are among the Jewish co-leaders of ‘Never Again, Right Now!’, coordinating the global effort which calls out that “there is no excuse for silence in light of persecution.”

In Brussels, EUJS (European Union of Jewish Students) President and NARN founding member Bini Guttmann said:

“As Jews, a people who have endured genocide and statelessness in the past, we often ask why the world was silent during our suffering.

As young activists, we are battling the rise of antisemitism in our universities, on our streets, and in our parliaments.

But in this fight, we must also look beyond our horizons and stand up when genocide is happening right now.

There is no excuse for silence in light of persecution. Words, declarations and “thoughts and prayers” are simply not enough.

We, as young Jews, ask the world to follow up on its promise of “Never Again”. We ask the world to act. Right now.”

In Vienna, JöH Co-President and NARN member Sashi Turkof said:

“The words “never again” are commonly uttered when we remember the atrocities of the Shoah. Right now, over a million Uyghurs are held in vast, industrial-scale concentration camps by the Chinese state.
As we mark Human Rights Day, it is our moral duty to step up and act when human rights are under attack from rogue actors who have been allowed to get away with such abuses for too long.

Jewish solidarity with the Uyghur people can be a powerful weapon, but we’re taking it beyond mere words – we’re putting our words into action in 30 cities to turn the world’s eyes towards the Uyghur genocide that’s happening right now. We urge the world to act.

We will never be bystanders when human rights – of anyone, anywhere – are under attack. This goes to the very core of our Jewish values. Together, we can form a wave of resistance that can turn the tide and free the Uyghurs.”

In Berlin, JSUD activist and NARN founding member Mischa Ushakov said:

“China is not only battling its own diversity by suppressing minorities, but is also battling our values – by undermining international agreements bit by bit, and pushing the narrative of a system war – by pinning “their” totalitarian system against our liberal ideals.

We have to understand China’s government as a threat to our idea of freedom, and the world as we know it today.”