Jewish pro-BDS group unconditionally endorses Black Lives Matter platform


NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, released a statement unconditionally supporting the newly released platform of the Black Lives Matter movement, which in part accuses Israel of committing genocide.

The platform, published Monday by a coalition of more than 50 groups called the Movement for Black Lives, 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, accuses Israel of practicing apartheid and says Israel is 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 social policy, also released a statement Friday, acknowledging the “deep pain and outrage” felt in the Jewish community due to the language on Israel, but supporting the movement’s racial justice agenda.

“We recognize that, at times, advocates may disagree on specific policy issues,”the statement read. “While profoundly challenging, 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.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that Bend the Arc “praised” the Movement for Black Lives platform. However, according to Bend the Arc, the organization neither praised nor endorsed the platform. Rather, the statement expressed support for the Movement for Black Lives generally. The article has been changed to reflect this.

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