For the last month, the Black Lives Matter movement has been protesting following the untimely death of unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police, bringing American race relations to the fore of Western news.
It is certainly not the first time the movement has protested. Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013, and their objective is to cause non-violent civil disobedience against police brutality against African-American citizens.
This time, however, the protests have new energy and momentum that has forced the world to take notice.
Protests have occurred in all 50 states of the USA, as well as across the UK, as activists fight to hold the police accountable for acts of violence and brutality and call to defund the forces. But is everyone aware of the demands of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement?
At face value, it is a just cause they are fighting for, however, BLM may have an anti-Semitic blind spot that is only now coming to light in their recent demands.
The Left’s identification as anti-racist lacks credibility when they are glaringly silent and neglectful in addressing the anti-Semitic sentiment that informs their demands.
For example, BLM UK endorsed BDS, a Palestinian-led campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel, in their call for ‘targeted sanctions in line with international law against Israel’s colonial, apartheid regime.”
There have also been claims made by activists that the Israeli secret service trained US cops in deadly methods of restraint, claims that have received enormous backlash, but have seen the BLM movement remain silent.
It is therefore understandable why Jewish organizations are wary of the movement and have decided to withhold support for the group; but not at the expense of the black community in general, which these organizations still pledge to support.
It is no secret that Jewish people owned slaves. They participated in the medieval slave trade in Europe until roughly the 12th Century, but their involvement in the enslavement of African-Americans has arguably been exacerbated, and is something that many scholars have refuted, referring to these claims as anti-Semitic canards.
In recent history, particularly in the era of the civil rights movement, many Jewish immigrants in America, who had faced persecution in Europe, related to the plight of African-Americans who were treated unjustly.
As a result, Jews reached out and offered support to American blacks, with Jewish newspapers denouncing racial discrimination, and speaking out against lynching.
So what has happened to this alliance in the 21st Century? Particularly regarding the BLM movement? There are alternative groups in the American black community that are intolerant of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, even the NAACP refuses to pander to political pressure to make the Jewish State a wedge issue.
The anti-Semitic narratives that have been perpetrated by the BLM movement, at a time where they are fighting against injustice and inequality, is in poor taste and cements a needless dichotomy between the plight of BLM and support for Israel.
Jews should continue to speak up, and give their voices to the conversations happening in American. But if we are educating ourselves about racism, we should be educating ourselves about all racism, becoming unified and not divided.