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Posted under: Race & Identity Opinion

Jews of Color Caucus releases statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

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As the Black Lives Matter Movement has gained recognition, we have seen numerous individuals, organizations, non-profits, etc. stand up and speak out against (domestic) state sanctioned violence, institutional racism and the lack of police accountability. Personally, I have deeply appreciated this acknowledgment of the pervasiveness of racism in America. It makes me realize that our voices are being heard, and that it doesn't and shouldn't have to take us shouting for people to recognize that our lives matter. However, as someone with an intersectional identity, I can't help but question: How authentic is a critique of American racism if it leaves out racism globally? Are the efforts of organizations and individuals who turn a blind eye to global black suffering doing an injustice to domestic black suffering? Is an organization "radical" only if it acknowledges the transnational nature of oppression? Furthermore, if the Black Lives Matter movement is a movement fighting for freedom, shouldn't these same organizations and individuals stand up, or at least speak out against, domestic and global movements for freedom? I'm not sure if I have the answers to these questions. But what I do know is that black suffering is global, and the Black Lives Matter Movement is global.

This is why I deeply appreciated the statement released by the Jews of Color Caucus in collaboration with Jewish Voice for Peace. To me, this is what solidarity looks like.

Their statement was comprehensive and poignant, outlining the ways in which they stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, both here in America and abroad. The statement should be read in its entirety here, but below are a few noteworthy sections:

On ensuring police accountability:

"Together, we mourn the televised police murders of Alton Sterling,  Philando Castile and Korryn Gaines, along with the 573 others slain by police this year. We also mourn those killed in police custody, such as Sandra Bland, Elliot Williams, Natasha Mckenna and Freddie Gray. We call for those responsible for these killings to be held accountable."

On global state-sanctioned anti-black racism: 

"We are also in solidarity with Ethiopian Jews protesting police violence and racial profiling in Israel, following the death of Joseph Salamsa and many others. We mourn them with you. Our hearts go out to the often forgotten victims of Israeli anti-Black violence: Sudanese and Eritrean refugees, Afro-Palestinians, and Black Hebrews. Your struggle must not be erased because your identities don’t grant you citizenship or fit into the common logics of Israeli nationalism. We extend this solidarity without placing conditions on personal beliefs or state affiliation, because racist state-violence is never justified."

On the solidarity between Black Lives Matter and Palestinian Liberation:

"We recognize that the backlash experienced by BLM activists is part of a white supremacist power structure that is trying to maintain the status quo. We call upon the Jewish community to defend BLM activists from this backlash, especially since many Jewish institutions themselves have contributed to it by making the sweeping claim that solidarity between Black struggle in the U.S. and Palestine is antisemitic." "Similarly, Jewish organizations fail Black people when they intentionally avoid critique of Israel in their solidarity with BLM. Israeli state violence has long targeted Black lives alongside Palestinians, and hiding under the pretense of focusing solely on “domestic issues” does not absolve US Jewish groups of complicity with and perpetuation of Israeli anti-Black racism and settler colonialism. We reject attacks on Palestinian organizers, who are condemned as anti-semitic for simply talking about their own dispossession and struggle. Such condemnation is inaccurate, racist, and amounts to a violent form of silencing. We reject similar attacks targeted at Jews of Color and other Jews organizing in solidarity with Palestinians."

On the erasure of Jews of Color 

"Recent statements by the Boston JCRC, Truah: the Rabbinic Council for Human Rights, and The Union for Reform Judaism condemning the BLM Platform also send the message that the lives of Black Jews (along with Black gentiles) directly affected by US police brutality are less important than protecting Israel from scrutiny. We reject this message and call on these groups to commit themselves to honor the leadership of Jews of Color, including those critical of Israel."

What are your thoughts on the growing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement? Share in the comments below.


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Blavity Staff Writer