Black Lives Matter protest.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - Jewish American groups have expressed dismay last week after the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations, published its platform in which it accuses Israel of genocide against the Palestinians.
Beyond this accusation and the use of the word “apartheid” to describe Israel, the platform includes a section calling on the United States to end military aid to the country.
Although the Movement for Black Lives platform does not explicitly endorse BDS, it does call on activists to “build invest/divestment campaigns that ends [sic] US Aid to Israel’s military industrial complex and any government with human rights violations.”
The platform includes a link to the BDS movement website.
The American Jewish Committee “strongly condemned” the views expressed in the Movement for Black Lives platform and said the movement “draws a false link to addressing racial disparities in the nation’s criminal justice system” and “confuses a civil rights cause with the struggle between two peoples with national aspirations, a conflict that can only be resolved by negotiation and mutual recognition between the parties.”
AJC said in a statement that the civil rights cause that the Movement for Black Lives is standing for is “undermined by those activists seeking to hijack the movement and advocate for a platform that evinces contempt and bigotry toward Jews.”
According to the Jewish group, the platform also describes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms “sharply at odds with reality”, and which “draws totally misleading parallels between that conflict and the situation in the United States.”
AJC added that the MBL libels Israel with this platform while “diluting the moral seriousness” of terms like “genocide” and “apartheid”.
“Further, in linking the platform to the campaign for boycott of and divestment from Israel, MBL identifies itself with a cause that, beyond undermining the effort to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, is fundamentally grounded in denial of the very legitimacy of the Jewish state,” the Committee said.
AJC also pointed out that the American Black and Jewish communities have worked in partnership in the past and therefore the MBL platform is “profoundly at odds with that history of shared purpose and mutually reinforcing solidarity.”
Earlier last week, another Jewish organization, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights endorsed many of the platform’s demands concerning economic justice, mass incarceration and law enforcement, but criticized its section on Israel. T’ruah’s statement condemned Israel’s "occupation" of the West Bank, but said the group was “extremely dismayed at the decision to refer to the Israeli occupation as genocide.”
T’ruah also criticized the platform for not mentioning Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians, including rocket attacks from Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza. The statement added that T’ruah does not support BDS, the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.
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