My Two Cents about the Black Lives Matter Platform

So I (finally) took a look at the Black Lives Matter platform that they recently released and shared with the world.  My first reaction is that it is an impressive document of incredible length, depth and detail, full of thoughtfulness and vision with a deep desire to see real and positive change in our world.

Of all thousands of lines of text that appear in this platform, only a few lines are dedicated to their less-than-positive feelings about Israel.  Maybe they should be considered “batul b’shishim” (a Torah phrase for a minute amount being nullified by a much larger presence of the greater whole) and we should get on with our Jewish lives and support everything else that they are saying.

But there is another Torah concept that says that something of importance is never nullified, no matter what the disproportionate proportions.

And Israel is important.  Very important.  To me.  And to millions of Jews living on this planet.  So therefore these relatively few lines are not and will never be “batul b’shishim”.

In the section about cutting U.S. military expenditures is where Black Lives Matter speaks out against Israel.  It is there that they accuse of Israel of genocide, call for an end of U.S.  military aid to Israel and brand Israel as an apartheid state, specifically stating, “Everyday, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall.”

Maybe they don’t know the history or maybe they want to pick and choose which historical facts to present, but it is important to note and to remember that this “apartheid wall” did not exist before the 2nd Intifada (2000-2004) and was only built to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering into Israel and killing Israeli soldiers and civilians (over 1000 Israelis were killed during these years).  But maybe Israeli/Jewish lives don’t matter so much, so it’s okay to leave out that historical fact.

At the end of this section (as in all sections throughout the platform) there is a list of resources for further reading and understanding.  In this section three websites are listed to help people learn more about lowering U.S. military expenditures.  Two of the three links directly attack Israel and one of them is a link to a BDS site.  By know, it should be clear to anyone and everyone that BDS is not just about fighting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but is in fact about delegitimizing and working in around-the-back ways to bring an end to the very existence of the one Jewish state in this world.  As in the popular chant at anti-Israel rallies, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  Meaning no more Israel.  As in:

No. More. Israel.

So, to people who say, “It’s just a few lines.” or “We have to see and support their bigger message and not let those lines get in the way.”  To them I say:

No way.

No way.

Black Lives Matter.  Yes they do.

But so do Jewish lives.  And so does Israel.  And if open-minded, visionary liberal organizations of our world and our generation cannot understand that, then they don’t deserve my support .

And they don’t deserve your support.

And this they need to hear and to understand.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh is the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (, a compilation of blogs and essays that speak of the inspiring and the sometimes wacky and crazy experience of making aliyah. Akiva himself made aliyah in 2004 with his wife Tamar and they live in Pardes Hanna with their four kids. He teaches Jewish history at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel in Hod HaSharon. He is also a musician and in 2010 formed Holy Land Spirit, an uplifting and spiritual musical experience for Christian groups visiting Israel.