Updated: Jun 15
The Jewish people have faced some of the world's worst discrimination in history, so it seems natural that we would support Black Lives Matter and the struggle for black rights in the United States. However, the topic hasn't been so cut and dry. You may have heard your Jewish peers saying they don't support Black Lives Matter because the movement is anti-Israel and anti-Semetic.
You will also hear other perspectives on the matter: Jews should most definitely support the struggle for black rights in the United States. Firstly, because Judaism teaches us to love and live lives of justice. Secondly, because one of the biggest targets of White Supremacy is the Jewish people, and standing up against this hate for others is in turn standing up against hate from ourselves.
In my search for answers, I came across a number of perspectives that have helped me understand how I navigate being anti-racist, while also being a Zionist Jew. Here I will share them all with you.
watch: Chaya Lev Asking Jews to Support Black Lives Matter via ILTV
By Hen Mazzig
"Right now, the world is taking stock of who is in and outside the room. Although countless Jews and Zionists support Black Lives Matter — there were even multiple protests in Tel Aviv in solidarity with Black Americans — these voices railing against the movement undo some of that unifying work. Another was Rachel Gilmer of Dream Defenders, a Jewish anti-Zionist.
If you want to change Black Lives Matter Israel agenda, you need to show up for them. Because by showing up for racial justice, we are actually showing up for ourselves."
By David Suissa
"I know that Black Lives Matter officially supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which is a vile and discriminatory movement. But here’s the new reality: In the protests against racism, “black lives matter” is as much a slogan and rallying cry as an organization."
By Erykah Gaston
"Black Lives Matter runs deeper than the organization...This should not only be black people vs. the police, black people vs. the government, or black vs. white. It should be everybody against racists, supremacists, inequality and injustice. When choosing to ignore this cause as a Jew, you are also choosing to deny yourself equality as a minority. You are inadvertently giving way to anti-Semitism."
A guide on understanding and confronting implicit bias and privilege, how to show up as allies and accomplices, and how to address antisemitic tropes in your activism.
In my own personal eyes, it is clear to stand up against hate, racism, and discrimination. While members of various Black Lives Matter chapters have brought things like BDS and other anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric into their activism, I separate the organization with the anti-racist movement that the phrase has come to represent.
Similarly to how the Women's march is overtly anti-Semitic does not stop me from being an active feminist, BLM members holding anti-Israel opinions does not stop me from being actively anti-racist. This means speaking out against racism in all my communities, learning more about the deep history of systemic racism in the United States, and amplifying melanated voices.