Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

If It’s Not Genocide, What Word Should We Use? By Dorothy Zellner on Jewish Currents

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

Some of your readers may know that the Black community has had a long and tormented relationship with this word, “genocide.” In 1946, a year after the end of World War II, the National Negro Congress petitioned the United Nations for help in dealing with systemic racial discrimination in the U.S.  The NAACP followed suit in 1947, with its “Appeal to the World,” similarly urging redress, written by Dr. W. E. B. DuBois and two other Black scholars and lawyers. The UN did not respond.

… In 1951, Paul Robeson and William L. Patterson, head of the Civil Rights Congress, presented the 100-page, flawlessly documented petition, “We Charge Genocide,” to the UN, seeking justice for African Americans using the convention it had so recently approved (as pictured at the top of this article)…

… It should come as no surprise that the Movement for Black Lives would choose to apply this particular word, since it has lived in the DNA of the Black community for nearly sixty-six years… Now to the merits of the case. Can the word be used by Black people to describe themselves?  Can the word be used by Black people to describe others? Is the word accurate?

… To sum up: Echoing Dr. James, if the situation of the Palestinians under Israeli control is not genocide, what is it? We have to begin having some serious conversations, everybody.

 

Continue reading at http://jewishcurrents.org/if-its-not-genocide-what-word-should-we-use/

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Black-Jewish Relations Intensified And Tested By Current Political Climate by Akinyi Ochieng on NPR

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Today, Israel continues to be a flashpoint of conflict between blacks and Jews. In August 2016, the Movement for Black Lives, a national umbrella organization encompassing over 50 organizations, released a policy platform titled “A Vision for Black Lives.” The document, which touches on issues including criminal justice and education reform, also includes a statement on Israel and Palestine:

“The US 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… Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

Although this position occupies only a bullet point in a brief section of the document, its inclusion has been the source of significant backlash from conservative and progressive Jewish groups alike.

Continue reading at http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/04/23/494790016/black-jewish-relations-intensified-and-tested-by-current-political-climate

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Letter: Counter argument by Peter Shanley on Jamaica Plain Gazette

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

In the Oct. 28 Jamaica Plain Gazette, Allen Spivack attacks the movement for Black Lives Matter statement for containing “virulently anti-Semitic language.” Apparently, he is referring to the terms “apartheid” and “genocide” used to describe Israeli policy and practice toward Palestinians. These terms have been used by many, including Palestinians, Israelis, and Jews to indict Israeli actions towards Palestinians… Spivack has decided that because he disagrees with the use of certain words, he is now liberated from supporting the basic anti-racist statement, “Black Lives Matter.” He will not enter a religious institution that displays this sentiment. He is essentially placing himself in the company of those who refuse to recognize the unique and horrendous experience that people of color have had and continue to have in this country. If he can call those who object to Israeli policy towards Palestinians “virulently anti-Semitic,” then I call him and his supporters “virulently racist.”

Continue reading at http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/2016/11/11/counter-argument/

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#BlackLivesMatter and the Question of Genocide in Palestine by Katherine Franke

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Zionist critics of the Platform portrayed the use of the term “genocide” as somehow out of bounds, leaving the impression that M4BL had crossed a line in raising concerns about the human rights record of the state of Israel in such harsh terms. They labeled the Platform and its supporters anti-Semitic on account of the supposedly jaw-dropping audacity of the Platform’s authors to use the “g” word with respect to Israel. The intensity of the outrage directed at the M4BL Platform’s assertion that the treatment of Palestinians by Israel could be described as “a genocide” leaves the impression that this kind of charge had never been leveled before, or that no reasonable person (and thus only an anti-Semite) could frame Israel’s policies this way.

Continue reading at http://nakbafiles.org/2016/11/01/blacklivesmatter-and-the-question-of-genocide-in-palestine/

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White Jews Left the Movement for Racial Justice. But It’s Not Too Late to Return by Leo Ferguson

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As a black Jew, I will never stop fighting for my place within the black community — I will show up proudly black, and proudly Jewish and demand to be loved and respected for both of these identities. And when the next platform is drafted, I want to see black Jews at the table, shaping the vision and language.

… We are entering the season of teshuva, tefilah, tzedakah. The moment in our calendar when we look long and hard at who we are so that we can create a foundation of truth for who we want to become. We can reflect on where, collectively, we went astray. On why the pain of past traumas allowed us to so cavalierly dismiss the pain right in front of us. On what would cause a people to suffer so much that they would describe their experience as genocide, and why that would resonate so much with another community, an ocean away, that they would take up their cause.

Continue reading at http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.746193

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Annie Baker, Kathleen Chalfant, Tonya Pinkins Sign Black Lives Matter Protest Letter by Playbill

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“Opposition to Israeli government policies is not anti-semitism, and the conflation of those two things has terrible consequences,” Tony nominee Kathleen Chalfant said in a statement. “It impedes, perhaps fatally, the search for just and humane solutions in Israel/Palestine and is now interfering in the search for social justice here in America. We have a moral obligation to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian rights movement in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

In addition to Chalfant and Pinkins, signees include Justin Vivian Bond, Wallace Shawn, Alice Walker, Naomi Wallace, Annie Baker and Sarah Ruhl.

The letter reads:

We, the undersigned, are deeply disturbed and disappointed by Feinstein’s/54 Below’s decision to cancel a scheduled benefit concert for Black Lives Matter. This decision, ostensibly due to “a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions,” both undermines the visionary leadership of the Movement for Black Lives and contributes to the institutionalized silencing of advocates for Palestinian human rights.

Continue reading at http://www.playbill.com/article/annie-baker-kathleen-chalfant-tonya-pinkins-sign-black-lives-matter-protest-letter

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Attorneys Level Charges Of Genocide As Israel’s Impunity Continues by Joe Catron

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Katherine Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, faculty director of its Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, and chair of CCR’s board of directors, was the primary author of the legal analysis.

The document applies the convention to not only Israel’s repeated military operations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, but also Israel’s protracted occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (the effects of which it calls “incremental genocide”), Israel’s expulsion and killing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during its founding in 1948, and racist incitement against Palestinians by Israeli government officials.

“Persons that can be prosecuted for genocide include ‘constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials and private individuals,’ and according to the terms of the Genocide Convention they can be tried by the International Criminal Court, other international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for Yugoslavia), [or] any court in the country or territory of which the act was committed,” Franke said.

“The crime of genocide is also understood according to customary international law to create universal jurisdiction, meaning that cases can be filed anywhere in the world, and are not limited to the territory where the conduct took place.”

While avoiding direct accusations, the briefing concludes that charges of genocide against Israel are hardly new in international legal circles:

“Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights law, genocide being among them.”

Continue reading at https://www.mintpressnews.com/attorneys-level-charges-genocide-israels-impunity-continues/220299/

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We’re Jewish Student Activists and We Don’t Need To Be Protected From BDS by Julia Berkman-Hill and Joshua Leifer

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

Kogen also makes the argument that Jews should put support for Israel before support for groups that are critical of Israel, most notably Black Lives Matter. But we cannot shirk our obligation to fight for racial justice because of objections to the words “genocide” and “apartheid.” Though we should have a conversation about those words, we must demonstrate our commitment to black and brown lives, Jewish or not. Arguing that Jews should inherently choose Israel over other issues, such as racial justice, erases the lived experience of black Jews for whom supporting and participating in Black Lives Matter is a matter of survival.

What’s more, we will not be able to participate in social justice work with our full selves until we address the injustice that our own community perpetuates. If we are silent, or perceived as silent, about the time and money our community spends justifying the destruction of Palestinian lives, why should anyone take us seriously when we say black lives matter?

Continue reading at http://forward.com/opinion/349628/were-jewish-student-activists-and-we-dont-need-to-be-protected-from-bds/

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Why Israel’s actions can be called genocide by Nora Barrows-Friedman

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

Israel lobby groups recently reacted with outrage against the Movement for Black Lives policy platform which refers to US complicity in Israel’s “genocide” and “apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

Despite the outrage of many pro-Israel groups, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion Israel is committing genocide, according to a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights“As human rights lawyers, [we felt] it might be appropriate to just clarify the record that this was nothing new – that the term genocide had been applied by human rights activists, lawyers, scholars both inside law and inside other disciplines for many, many years.”

Listen to the full interview at https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/why-israels-actions-can-be-called-genocide

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Beyond Apartheid and Genocide—Justice for BLM and Palestine by Noura Khouri

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

The irony should not be lost on us that the same people opposed to the use of “genocide” and “apartheid” are the same people justifying, therefore perpetuating and complicit in, the crimes in Palestine.

Similarly in the U.S., police are not held accountable and their supporters are in deep denial of the state violence and countless crimes against Black people taking place in their name. All those making justifications and denunciations, who are outraged—not at the violence itself—but at those like Colin Kaepernick and others that choose to no longer stand for symbols of this centuries-old and ongoing oppression, are too directly complicit.

When generalities are made, distinctions are muddled, and even those with the best intentions are left to interpret meanings or are completely confused by the insidious details of the system at work.

Continue reading at http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Beyond-Apartheid-and-GenocideJustice-for-BLM-and-Palestine-20160904-0015.html

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