Group representing hundreds of churches pushes back against BDS colonization of African-American civil rights movement.
We have thoroughly documented how anti-Israel activists have been falsely blaming Israel for U.S. police shootings of blacks in order to stoke and exploit racial tensions, Exposed: Years-long effort to blame Israel for U.S. police shootings of blacks.
That effort went into overdrive during the Ferguson riots over the shooting death of Michael Brown, Intifada Missouri – Anti-Israel activists may push Ferguson over the edge:
As much tension as there is, an underreported story is the active role of “pro-Palestinian” activists who have exploited the Ferguson riots and tension this summer and fall to push their anti-Israel agenda. That anti-Israeli agenda, which involves encouraging confrontation with police in solidarity with Palestinians, is helping provide the accelerant to an already volatile situation.
We were among the first to call attention to this development, which was largely ignored by the the Jewish and pro-Israel communities which support many of the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ferguson was a turning point, as leading anti-Israel U.S. professor Robin Kelley recently acknowledged:
The current state of relations between black political organizers and the Jewish establishment was shaped during the 2014 Gaza war and the protests that rolled through Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2015, said Robin D. G. Kelley, a professor of history and black studies at UCLA — and can explain how the words “apartheid,” and particularly “genocide,” became part of the activist vocabulary.
“You can’t separate this document from the events in Ferguson,” he said. “It is in Ferguson that you have a number of Palestinian and pro-Palestinians on the front lines, participating in the demonstrations, making comparisons with the war in Gaza.”
Kelley explained: “The convergence of these events created a new set of possibilities for solidarity. There was a sense of war, a sense that war is taking place. So the language of genocide comes out of the context of Ferguson, and the shadow of the war on Gaza.”
Those events informed the hundreds of activists who convened to discuss the issues that would become the new policy platform, Kelley said.
“Ferguson to Gaza” and “Ferguson to Palestine” have been the rallying cries and hashtags. While it hasn’t quite gone viral yet, there are some attempts on social media to hijack the Milwaukee riots:
— twiztd (@AlienStarDog) August 15, 2016
At one level, the hijacking of the Ferguson riots by anti-Israel activists was a huge success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The end result was that the coalition of Black Lives Matters groups under the umbrella of Movement for Black Lives included in its platform anti-Israel rhetoric, including accusations of genocide and apartheid, If you are surprised #BlackLivesMatter joined war on Israel, you haven’t been paying attention. In order to achieve that result, particularly as to the accusation of Genocide, BDS had to invent a new definition of Genocide (just as it invented a new definition of Apartheid that only applies to Israel).
BDS, however, also is destroying black community unity when addressing civil rights issues. It was only a matter of time before there was a reaction from within the black community to the hijacking and colonization of African-American civil rights issues.
An association of hundreds of predominantly African-American churches in Missouri condemned the recent platform of the Black Lives Matter movement labeling Israel an “apartheid state” and accusing it of genocide.
In a statement published Sunday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bishop Lawrence Wooten, president of the St. Louis chapter of the Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri, said that while Black Lives Matter plays a “vital role” in addressing racial violence by police, its language on Israel was misplaced.
“The Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri, representing hundreds of predominantly African-American churches throughout the state, rejects without hesitation any notion or assertion that Israel operates as an apartheid country,” Wooten wrote. “We embrace our Jewish brethren in America and respect Israel as a Jewish state. Jewish-Americans have worked with African-Americans during the civil rights era when others refused us service at the counter — and worse.”
Wooten also referred to two American Jews — Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — who along with James Chaney, a young black man, were murdered in 1964 while doing civil rights work in Mississippi.
“We cannot forget their noble sacrifices,” Wooten wrote. “Neither should Black Lives Matter.”
Clarence Jackson, the council’s executive director, told JTA the statement emerged from a meeting held Aug. 5 between the council leadership and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. The JCRC, Jackson said, drew the black leaders’ attention to the controversy generated in the Jewish community by the Black Lives Matter platform.
“They brought it to our attention,” Jackson told JTA. “We were quite shocked. We didn’t know about this.”
The Letter to the Editor of the St. Louis Dispatch reads:
Black Lives Matter as an organization arose to confront the abuse of predominantly, although not exclusively, African-American males by white police officers. The Michael Brown shooting seemed to shock the nation. However, the sad fact is that America has a long history, which some would call a tradition, of white officers shooting unarmed black men.
According to the Washington Post, Philando Castile, who was fatally shot in Minnesota, was the 123rd unarmed black male fatally shot this year by white police officers. And that’s only through July.
We sincerely recognize the value of law enforcement officers and realize that the majority are devoted public servants. However, we also believe that Black Lives Matter plays a vital role in addressing racially driven police abuse in America.
Recently, Black Lives Matter issued a platform of demands. One of the demands called for the elimination of U.S. aid to Israel. Their argument is that Israel is an apartheid state perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians. Most of the platform’s readers are likely unaware that its Israel/Palestine section was written by an activist who was born and raised as a Jew, although Rachel Gilmer says she no longer identifies as Jewish.
The Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri, representing hundreds of predominantly African-American churches throughout the state, rejects without hesitation any notion or assertion that Israel operates as an apartheid country. We embrace our Jewish brethren in America and respect Israel as a Jewish state. Jewish-Americans have worked with African-Americans during the civil rights era when others refused us service at the counter — and worse.
Anyone who studies American history will no doubt find the names Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, two Jews and an African-American, who lost their lives trying to provide civil rights for blacks in the south. We cannot forget their noble sacrifices. Neither should Black Lives Matter.
Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten • Clayton
President, Ecumenical Leadership Council-St. Louis
The media pays heavy attention only to the most left-wing Marxist activists who lead the national Black Lives Matter movement and are part of the hijacking. The statement by the Ecumenical Leadership Council hopefully is a sign that the wider black community will not accept what amounts to the colonization of the American Civil Rights movement.DONATE
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