American Jewish leaders grapple with anti-Israel Black Lives Matter

Leaders stated that their organizations would continue to engage black communities despite the BLM platform, and expressed confidence that Jewish-black relations would weather the current storm.

By
August 11, 2016 07:17
3 minute read.
Black Lives Matter protest

Black Lives Matter protest. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

BOSTON – Admitting they were taken by surprise by the Black Lives Matter platform – which called Israel an “apartheid state” and accused the United States of complicity in Israel’s “genocide” against the Palestinians – American Jewish leaders expressed optimism this week in the resiliency of Jewish-black relations in the US.

“We won’t allow a singular organizational statement to deter us from engaging in this important social justice issue: the relationship between young African American males and police safety and security,” Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“We understand that black lives matter – not the organization, but the principle – is an important conversation that has to be pushed forward, and nothing will change that,” he said. “However, we cannot and will not allow anyone – using other issues as a cover – to introduce or reintroduce false and misleading information on our campuses or mobilize efforts to delegitimize Israel.”

Fingerhut made his statements before addressing a group of some 30 young professional campus activists working for IACT (Inspired, Active, Committed, Transformed), a joint initiative of Hillel and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston that engages Jewish students on more than 30 campuses nationwide to go on Birthright programs and become more involved in Jewish and Israel-related issues.

Some of the activists, who will be manning Birthright recruitment booths on campuses in September, expressed concerned about how to respond to potential criticism by students raised by the platform.

“Obviously, we will have to monitor what particular organizational leaders are saying, and what the impact is on the conversation about Israel on campus,” said Fingerhut.

CJP President Barry Shrage, who spoke to the IACT staff a day earlier, criticized a group of Jewish activists from an organization called IfNotNow, who picketed the Boston offices of the Jewish Community Relations Council demanding that it retract its recent statement criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement’s platform.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“Those people did not read the entire verse from Pirkei Avot – ‘If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?’ It’s a Jewish instinct to create a balance, because you need that balance.

It’s not only African-American children that you have to worry about, it’s our children too,” he said.

Shrage defended a CJP statement released last week, similar to JCRC’s, which stated that the Black Lives Matters platform “goes far beyond BDS in its biased, false and dangerous narrative regarding the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict... we cannot march side by side with organizations that oppose the very existence of the Jewish state, who blame Israel – and only Israel – for 70 years of conflict, who distort the truth and who deny the Jewish people’s past, thereby endangering our children’s lives and our children’s future.”

According to Shrage, “you have to speak strongly against the lies and distortions. We have a primary responsibility – if I am not for myself, who will be for me? “At the same time, we have to continue to find a way to show we are invested in the world. The American Jewish community is deeply committed – it votes 70 percent Democratic because it cares about the world, and it will probably vote 90 percent Democratic in November because we care about the world.”

Both Shrage and Fingerhut adamantly stated that their organizations would continue to engage black communities despite the Black Lives Matters platform, and expressed confidence that Jewish-black relations would weather the current storm.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Rabbi Slomó Köves, Mária Schmidt, and Gergely Gulyás at press conference by House of Fates
September 21, 2018
Yad Vashem publicly criticizes controversial Hungarian Holocaust Museum

By JEREMY SHARON