Pro-BDS Jewish group voices support for Black Lives Matter platform

Jewish Voice for Peace formally endorses the Movement for Black Lives platform, which accuses Israel of practicing apartheid and committing genocide against the Palestinians.

By JTA | Aug. 6, 2016

Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel, gave on Friday unconditional support to Black Lives Matter’s newly released platform, which in part accuses Israel of committing genocide.

The platform, published on Monday by a coalition of more than 50 groups, is called the Movement for Black Lives and encompasses a broad set of economic and social policy goals aimed at eliminating racism, mass incarceration and police violence. It includes a section criticizing United States aid to Israel, accusing Israel of practicing apartheid and committing “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Several Jewish organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement, have criticized the platform’s statements on Israel. But JVP’s statement, published Friday, “endorses the Movement for Black Lives platform in its entirety, without reservation.” Regarding the genocide accusation, JVP wrote in a statement sent to JTA that “it is not our role to police the language of the vision for Black lives.”

JVP said it was “deeply disappointed” in other Jewish organizations for condemning the platform, calling on them instead to support the Movement for Black Lives.

“These Jewish organizations are rejecting a thorough and inspiring transformational set of policy ideas developed by a broad coalition of Black leaders simply because these Black leaders have explicitly linked the experiences and struggles of Palestinians with their own,” the JVP statement said.

“We should all take this opportunity to reflect on the impact of Israeli policy, and the interconnected nature of violence around the world,” the organization told JTA.

Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish group focused on domestic policy, also released a statement praising the platform Friday. The statement acknowledged the “deep pain and outrage” felt in the Jewish community due to the language on Israel, but said that “these differences should not distract from the broad agreement that exists within the progressive and Jewish community on the need for a bold racial justice agenda.”

“The Movement for Black Lives has done extraordinary and powerful work raising consciousness about the harms inflicted on Black communities in the United States, and our collective need to transform the systems that perpetuate this violence,” Bend the Arc’s statement read. “It is our belief that our country will be made more whole, more inclusive, and more just because of this courageous racial justice movement.”