The Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine stands shoulder to shoulder with Maine’s Jewish community in denouncing the recent wave of hate speech, hate-based violence and antisemitism that has broken out in Maine, the United States and the world.

Recently, antisemitic flyers have been widely distributed in Maine, some of which falsely claimed that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were part of a Jewish conspiracy. Maine Public posted an article last February that one in six Jews in the Northeast said that they were targets of antisemitism from 2021 and 2022. Antisemitic graffiti has been painted on a wall near the Portland Water District’s Portland sewage treatment plant. Kate Shalvoy, executive director at Temple Beth El in Portland, said that when the temple held a prayer vigil for Israel on Oct. 11, it required participants to preregister. One person registered 20 times under the name George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. Portland’s Etz Chaim Synagogue has always encouraged people to come through its open doors for Saturday services. But recently, for the first time in its 102-year history, a staff member was stationed in front letting people in.

Chinese Americans have experienced discrimination right from the moment they began arriving in America during the 1849 gold rush. The Chinese were the first ethnic group to be legally barred from coming to America by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. We, too, have recently experienced hate speech and anti-Asian violence. We understand hate and discrimination and we choose to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish neighbors and friends. CAFAM also decries all Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate speech and violence.

Gary Libby

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