Palestinians welcome Movement for Black Lives platform

Israel advocates are alarmed by growth in Black-Palestinian solidarity. (Sarah-Ji/Flickr)

Pledging to “firmly and consistently stand in solidarity with our Black sisters and brothers in the United States and around the world,” Palestinians welcomed the policy platform recently released by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 Black-led organizations.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) reiterated its support for the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

The BNC thanked the Movement for Black Lives “for the powerful words of solidarity in the Invest-Divest section of the platform specifically endorsing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) measures against Israel’s occupation and apartheid in line with the 2005 Palestinian civil society call until all Palestinian human rights are respected.”

The platform has been enthusiastically endorsed by Jewish Voice for Peace in partnership with the Jews of Color Caucus; by IfNotNow, a protest group formed by young Jews angered by the hawkish support for Israel from mainstream communal institutions as well as by Jews for Palestinian Right of Return.

Israel lobby chorus

Israel lobby groups, meanwhile, have been releasing scathing statements castigating the Movement for Black Lives for its support of the Palestinian-led BDS movement and its reference to US complicity in Israeli “genocide” and “apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

The liberal Zionist lobby group J Street joined the chorus condemning the platform on Monday.

Writing in The Jewish Daily Forward, J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said that although his group does not engage in “advocacy or work related to issues of domestic policy,” it condemned the Movement for Black Lives platform for the “truly unfortunate and highly counterproductive” uses of “extreme and hyperbolic language” in relation to Israel.

The platform’s use of the word “genocide,” Ben-Ami asserted, “is outrageously incorrect, and deeply offensive.”

In addition, the American Jewish Committee, a right-wing Israel lobby group, condemned the Movement for Black Lives statement as “anti-Semitic” and claimed that it “libels Israel.”

“Goodbye, we do not need nor want you”

However, activists are making it clear that such condescending statements – by organizations which have been silent on issues related to Black Lives Matter – are not having an effect.

“It’s just made it clear that they weren’t real allies,” Rachel Gilmer said in an interview with the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz.

Gilmer, chief of strategy for Dream Defenders, a member group of the Movement for Black Lives coalition, wrote the Palestine section of the platform.

In the article, Black Jewish activist Yavilah McCoy also dismissed the condemnation by Zionist groups, pointing to an “absence of deep relationship” and an “avoidance of contact” between mainstream Jewish communal organizations and Black Lives Matter activists.

In the same vein, Dream Defenders this week denounced the “quid pro quo form of politics” Israel lobby groups seem to expect from Black activist organizations.

“Their response has made it all the more clear why we stand in solidarity with Palestine and with Black and Brown people around the world fighting for justice,” Dream Defenders said.

“Those who have previously claimed to be allies of the Black Lives Matter movement have shown us that they are comfortable with our resistance so long as it fits within particular confines and restrictions,” the group added.

Dream Defenders concluded: “For the children who are met with tear gas and rubber bullets as they walk home from school, for the families of those we have lost to police violence, for the communities devastated by economic violence and apartheid walls, we fight. To all those who believe in a world in which all people are free, join us. For those who no longer stand with Black people because of this belief, goodbye. We do not need nor want you in our movement.”

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Comments

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No other Nation has violated the numerous UNres like Israel has. Without US support and without US taxpayers contribution coupled with US investment into Israel illegal settlements the illegal entity would have disappeared from the pages of history a long time ago.

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"the illegal entity would have disappeared from the pages of history a long time ago."
Apparently EI supports that? Are you crazy? You know with crap like this, maybe you should distance yourself from BDS, so you don't drag it with you to the margins.

Ali Abunimah's picture

The publication of comments, as long as they conform with our moderation policy, does not necessarily indicate that EI agrees or disagrees with them.

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Nothing alarming about disappearing from the pages of history, John Costello. The Roman Empire disappeared from the pages of history without any ill-effect on the world. The Ottoman Empire disappeared too. So did the British Empire. Do you miss them? And that behemoth, the Soviet Union. Where did it go?

An entity on a tiny sliver of land correcting its orientation, its politics and its ownership--no big deal. The world will in fact welcome the end of strife.

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Of course and I’m glad to have given you an opportunity to air your disclaimer. However I would point out that my post, which elicited that disclaimer, came almost two days after another less exercised and more contexted one that I submitted not long after Lydia’s very provocative and arguably anti-Semitic one.
That’s time for that post to go unchallenged the whole time it’s front and center and another day after it’s dropped down to the bottom of the page. From my perspective, that leave EI’s credibility open to question, given that it had ample opportunity to print the opposing view while it would be far more likely to be heard.
Of course you can deny there was that previous post and/or not print this one and no one will be the wiser. And that is exactly the point I would like to make to every journalist activist.
That is; that the truth that will - as advertised - set us free is out there. It just hasn’t been adequately revealed. Activism in journalism is a sticky wicket, too sticky to my mind. There’s nothing wrong with having a perspective, in fact it’s inescapable but it should interfere with professional integrity as little as possible.
An example; where would the Palestinians be right now if the US media covered them instead of covering their asses?
Now I would suggest leaving this as it lies and leaving this correspondence out but I hope I’ve made my point. But if others wish to pile on with you, by all means bring it on. I can take it, if there’s even a chance they say something important.

Ali Abunimah's picture

John, It’s absurd to read so much into comments moderation or where comments appear, which we don’t control. We hope everyone will post thoughtful, well reasoned comments. We don’t spend a lot of time reviewing them because we really have a lot of other things to do, so the onus is on commenters to make sure their comments are worth the bother for them and for us. Our policy is there and it’s what we hope everyone will adhere to.

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It is true that comments frequently take EI a long time to post and perhaps I misunderstand your moderation policy and have been locked out because I've transgressed. And so I hereby extend my apologies for words that unfortunately and inadvertently do imply censorship.
What I was really trying convey was that if statements like Lydia's do go unchallenged and if they are then interpreted as reflecting views commonly held by EI and/or it's subscribers, the consequence may be that potential subscribers, who would otherwise be edified by this fine website, might be turned off and tune out. Then they would miss KLM's historical, long view perspective and continue to worry about the future.
Again, I'm truly sorry for the undeserved implication that EI lacks good journalistic ethics. And I hope that your staffers will find a little more time to facilitate a more rewarding dialogue.

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Actually Ali, I don't think my gripe was absurd. Lydia's post is exactly the kind the enemies of BDS specifically and Palestine generally, can use to demonstrate the anti-Semitic views of, well ... us. I'm not sure why my first comment wasn't posted but it should have been in the interest of what we all are fighting for. I respect and appreciate your work very, very much but I reserve to right to point out what I view as shortcomings in your execution of the difficult and critical task you've taken on.
Best regards...

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).