Is ‘Palestine’ on agenda at Black Lives Matter policy event?

Movement for Black Lives will hold a virtual national meeting to formulate policy, but it is uncertain if ‘Palestine’ will be on the agenda again after being included in the original platform.

By World Israel News Staff

Thousands of activists are expected to connect by computer to the Black Lives Matter movement virtual convention in August to produce a new political agenda, AP reported Thursday.

Going online due to the coronavirus pandemic and hoping to build on the success of the protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, the 2020 Black National Convention will develop a set of demands ahead of the November presidential election.

The convention is being organized by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organizations. In 2016, the coalition released its “Vision for Black Lives” platform, which called for the end of racial exploitation by public divestment from mass incarceration and for adoption of policies that can improve conditions in Black America.

However, that platform was rejected by many mainstream Jewish groups because of its anti-Israel content that included statements that “the U.S. justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people” and “Israel is an apartheid state.”

“If there is any “racial exploitation,” it is hitching a false cause of “Palestine” against Israel while riding on a BLM protest and ignoring Arab involvement in slavery,” said Israeli columnist Yisrael Medad.

One of the main authors of the 2016 platform was activist Rachel Gilmer, whose organization Dream Defenders pushes many anti-Israel propaganda lines, including the allegation of Israel’s “continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” despite the Palestinians’ own official census data showing the population has risen to record-high levels.

“At our very first march from Daytona to the Sanford Police Department, our co-founders waved a Palestinian flag,” Dream Defenders says on its website. “This is because we know that although our oppression might not look the same, we are being exploited by the same systems and that in order to tear them down, we must come together.”

An analyst with one major Jewish organization says that so far, most leaders of Black Lives Matter have shown little concern about who their allies are.

“Provided they support the platform and show up at protests or flood social media with content … BLM has been troublingly silent about anti-Semitic posts in social media by their supporters or anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place during recent protests organized in their name,” said Ahron Shapiro, Senior Policy Analyst at the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

“Black Lives Matter has also kept mum over outrageous, fabricated and factually unsubstantiated allegations circulating under its hashtag, claiming police brutality in the U.S. was somehow a product of military-style training U.S. police officers had received in Israel as part of international exchange programs,” Shapiro said. “There were even allegations that Israeli forces taught Minneapolis police the knee-to-neck choking technique that killed George Floyd.”

Stephen Pomerantz of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, which organized many of the police trips to Israel, refuted the allegation.

“There is no field training involved in either the conferences or trips, and no training on holds or arrest mechanics. The exchanges, which are hosted by the Israel National Police, focus on effective counter-terrorism techniques,” Pomerantz wrote.

In the UK, The Telegraph columnist Zoe Strimpel noted last week that the Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s murder in May have prompted outbreaks of clear-cut, nasty anti-Semitism, most notably in the U.S. and France.

“Anti-racism movements often foster anti-Semitism. This is because the most committed anti-racists see Jews as part of an imperialist racist Zionist conspiracy, represented by Israel,” Strimpel said.

“While extremely disturbing, this effect was unsurprising,” Strimpel said. “After all, since the ’70s, anti-Semitism has often co-existed with the agitations of the anti-racist hard-Left, under cover of the pretense that Israel is the source of all the world’s evil; a racist, imperialist boast in its very existence.”

Somewhat similarly, the Vision for Black Lives platform and its characterization of Israel as an “apartheid state” committing mass murder against Palestinian people drew allegations of anti-Semitism from a handful of Jewish groups, which had otherwise been supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.

AP contributed to this report