Jewish organizations are up in arms after the official platform of the Black Lives Matter movement visited the occupied West Bank and called Israel “an apartheid state” responsible for genocide against Palestinians.
T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization, has slammed the platform, published earlier this week, expressing dismay at the use of the term ‘genocide.’
“We are extremely dismayed at the decision to refer to the Israeli occupation as genocide,” it said in a statement published Wednesday.
“While we agree that the occupation violates the human rights of Palestinians, and has caused too many deaths, the Israeli government is not carrying out a plan intended to wipe out the Palestinians. There is no basis for comparing this situation to the [other] genocides of the 20th century.”
The platform that drew this criticism was published on Monday by a US-based coalition of more than 60 organizations called ‘The Movement for Black Lives’, formed to represent the growing public ire over the poor treatment of African Americans by the US criminal justice system.
Among other things, the group criticizes the US government for providing military and financial aid to Israel, “a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades.” The movement urged the US government to stop its support to Israel, and accused the latter of practicing apartheid.
“The US […] is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people,” the platform reads. “Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people […] Everyday, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall,” the platform states further.
In response, T’ruah pointed out that the violence between Israel and the Palestinian Administration has not been one-sided and that human rights violations on both sides brought about deaths and suffering. The rabbinic group also rejected Black Lives Matter’s endorsement of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a global campaign attempting to increase pressure on Israel to end its “occupation and colonization” of Palestinian land.
The US-based Jewish Community Relations Council, now a former ally of the BLM movement, also expressed its discontent with the platform’s statements, stressing it would be disassociating itself from any group connected with Black Lives Matter from now on.
JCRC slammed the movement for participating in “economic and cultural warfare against Israelis” and attempts to “demonize Israel.”
The wide-ranging ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians began in the mid-20th century and has seen mutual violence intensifying and deescalating over the years. Since last October at least 215 Palestinians and 34 Israelis have lost their lives in enduring violence both in Israeli and the Palestinian territories, AFP reports. Many of them were killed in clashes and protests.
The stumbling block is the land which is currently shared by both nations. Most recently, Israel has been widely criticized for its expansion campaign on the occupied territories, which involves mass demolition of Palestinian homes.
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