Over 600 Jewish groups sign ad saying ‘Black Lives Matter’

“We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter,” the letter stated.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

More than 600 Jewish groups and individuals signed a letter published on a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday saying “Black Lives Matter.”

“We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter,” the letter stated.

The groups and personalities who signed the letter said they represent “Jewish organizations and synagogues from across the racial and political spectrum; from different streams of Judaism; whose members trace their lineage from countries around the world.”

The letter specifically talked about the issue of hatred against Jews, stating that “all too often, anti-Semitism is at the center of these manufactured divisions.”

The letter noted that the BLM movement was black-inspired and run, and rejected allegations claiming Jews were behind the movement.

“We see through any attempt to suggest otherwise by pointing fingers, scapegoating, or using anti-Semitic dogwhistles,” the letter stated.

“As Jews, we know how dangerous this is: when politicians target Jewish people and blame us for problems, it leads directly to violence against us. When Black movements are undermined, it leads to more violence against Black people, including Black Jews.”

Two of the key signatories were the Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the  top reform and conservative bodies that represent the majority of American Jewry.

However, while the list also includes several small Orthodox groups, the mainstream Orthodox organizations – the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union – were noticeably absent.

That may stem from the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist roots of the BLM movement.

The first Black Lives Matter platform was rejected by many mainstream Jewish groups when it was published in 2016 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.”

That language appears to have been dropped following the conclusion of the Black National Convention that was held online last week. Although the new policy platform does not appear yet on the BLM website, a summary of the platform obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency contained no mention of Israel, Zionism, Palestinian rights or the movement to boycott Israel.

The ad was published in the New York Times on Friday, corresponding to the last day of the BLM convention. The absence of the full policy platform may explain the reluctance of some Jewish organizations to attach their names to the letter.

In June following the death of George Floyd, the Orthodox Union issued a statement saying it was “outraged to have seen another broadcast video of an African-American man dying at the hands of police officers.”

The OU letter said racism is a “real and present danger that must be met head on… we also join in the demand for a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and actual justice.”