Having coalesced in 2014 to protest shootings of unarmed black men by police officers, the Black Lives Matter movement now has a formal platform that includes opinions on a variety of political issues, including the Jewish state. This week, one of the movement’s leaders made clear on social media that he is unwilling to read, let alone engage, any criticism of his stance on Israel. Jason D. Hill writes that the Black Lives Matters’ attitude toward Israel is one of its “unpardonable sins.”
The leaders of Black Lives Matter have written a profoundly anti-Israel (and anti-American) manifesto in which they accuse Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.” The manifesto endorses the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement and takes the view that the United States justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliances with Israel. This, according to Black Lives Matter, makes the U.S. complicit in a supposed genocidal massacre of the Palestinian people. . . .
With its accusations against Israeli Jews, Black Lives Matter suggests that in their support of Israel, such Jews are complicit in the unproven [Israeli] crimes of genocide and apartheid. We must remember that even amid the daily onslaughts of war and terror that Palestinians inflict on Jews, the Israelis, in a spirit of almost irrational altruism, take great pains to limit civilian casualties and to ensure that those caught in a war they did not personally initiate are spared as much harm as possible.
Black Lives Matter is not only being unjust toward Israel; its anti-Israel stance betrays Jews in America, to whom blacks in this country are enormously indebted. If there are any unsung heroes of the civil-rights movement, it is those Jews who played an enormous but largely unacknowledged role in the liberation of blacks from racial oppression. American Jews undertook monumental efforts to found and fund some of the most important civil-rights organizations in the U.S. . . .
The anti-Israeli platform of Black Lives Matters has understandably alienated some progressive Jews in America who had initially aligned themselves with the movement. And it has alienated this black American as well. . . . Israel is good. So, too, is America. And the achievements of both countries demonstrate, above all, the virtues of self-realization and persistence.