Movement For Black Lives Joins Jewish Groups In New Statement Against Anti-Semitism

Back in 2016 already, some anti-occupation activists were standing with Black Lives Matter. Image: Caricom Reparations Commission

JVL Introduction

As this article from Huffington Post reports, eight prominent American racial justice organizations have formed a new coalition with progressive Jewish groups called “United Against Hate” to fight antisemitism as the presidential election nears.

The Jewish groups involved are IfNotNow Movement, The Jewish Vote, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Never Again Action, and JVP Action

This article was originally published by Huffpost US on Fri 21 Aug 2020. Read the original here.

Movement For Black Lives Joins Jewish Groups In New Statement Against Anti-Semitism

As the election nears, a new coalition wants to form a “united front” against hate, and against right-wing attempts to co-opt discussions around anti-Semitism.

Eight prominent American racial justice organizations have formed a new coalition with progressive Jewish groups called “United Against Hate” to fight anti-Semitism as the presidential election nears, according to a statement published Friday.

“Far-right extremists in government, media, law enforcement, business, and militia groups have spent the past four years escalating the violence and harm they enact on our communities,” the statement says. “They have murdered Jews, Muslims, Black folks, Latinx people.”

“We will continue to fight back, side-by-side, to reject the antisemitism Trump and his allies foment,” the statement continues, “just as we reject the Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, anti-Arab and anti-Asian hate they promote, and the racist and anti-immigrant ideologies their policies are built to advance.”

The statement was written and signed by the national umbrella organization Movement for Black Lives, the Florida-based Dream Defenders, the Latinx group Mijente, the immigrant rights group United We Dream, the Arab American Institute, Muslim-led groups MPower Change and Emgage, and the People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation, a group that works to counter anti-Asian racism.

It was published in partnership with five progressive Jewish groups: IfNotNow Movement, The Jewish Vote, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Never Again Action, and JVP Action.

The United Against Hate coalition has formed during an alarming rise in anti-Semitism. Just this week, President Donald Trump tacitly endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is rife with anti-Jewish sentiment, and earlier this month, he pushed the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Black Lives Matter uprisings were being funded by Jewish billionaire George Soros.

Yet media attention during the Trump administration has often focused on right-wing allegations of anti-Semitism against the left. A study from Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog group, found that news coverage in 2018 and 2019 referenced alleged anti-Semitic rhetoric on the left almost twice as much as anti-Semitic rhetoric on the right.

“The fight against anti-Semitism has been kind of claimed and owned by the right for a while and by mainstream Jewish organizations, and major Jewish establishments, and they have failed to meet the moment,” Morriah Kaplan, director of political education at IfNotNow, told HuffPost. “So this initiative is in response to that and really a recognition of the need for this fight against anti-Semitism to live within the progressive movement.”

Kaplan added that the American right “has been so effective at kind of co-opting and marshaling or exploiting anti-Semitism and fears of anti-Semitism and using it to target progressives, mostly women of color.”

She pointed to right-wing “smears” in 2017 claiming that Women’s March leaders were anti-Semitic, as well as allegations in 2016 that the stated values of the Movement 4 Black Lives — which included language criticizing Israel — were anti-Semitic.

The “United Against Hate” coalition, Kaplan said, will make sure the right “won’t succeed in sowing mistrust among our movements and among our communities in an effort to divide us.”

An example of this kind of division was on display this week at the Democratic National Convention. After Republicans spoke out against Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour appearing at one of the convention’s forums, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign disavowed her.

“Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, told CNN, referring to Sarsour’s support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at Israel. “She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”

Sarsour, who was a surrogate for the Jewish candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic presidential primaries, is executive director at MPower Change, one of the groups in the “Unite Against Hate” coalition against anti-Semitism.

Rachel Gilmer, a co-director at Dream Defenders, said conservatives are “trying to get us to see each other as the enemy, as opposed to pointing the finger at the people in power who are trying to maintain and monopolize power against working people, against poor people, against everyday people in this country.”

“It’s a classic divide and conquer tactic,” she said, and one she believes will be deployed frequently in the run-up to the presidential election this November.

What’s important now, Gilmer argued, is for the left to form a “strong united front against white supremacist, far-right violence.”

The Unite Against Hate coalition will hold a virtual panel discussion on anti-Semitism and racism this Tuesday.

Comments (4)

  • Dee Howard says:

    Great. The people united will never be defeated.

  • Sarah T says:

    Glad to see this response; it is one cause and the rallying around Ms Sasour has been good to see as well. The outrage created by Biden’s team’s censorial comments elicited this:
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/linda-sarsour-joe-biden-apology-muslim-vote
    Sanaa Saeed Twitter: Nothing repairs relationships and bridges divides like smearing a public Muslim Palestinian woman as anti-Semitic and then privately giving an “apology”. Word to the wise: a private apology for a public wrong isn’t an apology.

  • Mr Starmer has no concern for black lives nor for any other lives! I sometimes wonder what are Mr Starmer`s concerns.
    British Labour Parties concerns are not Mr Starmers. Why is he Labour leader? How many voted for Mr Starmer without having any idea of what his policies were? I am so glad that I did not vote for him. But to continue to support him is an insult to democracy.

  • Jaye says:

    If Biden wants to win and see off Trump, and all of us want that to happen, then he must distance himself from the Far Left which is poison in any US election campaign. Bernie would have needed to do the same and at some point disavow Sarsour and overall he would have been a better candidate than Biden. Take your pick: Trump or centre-left Biden-Dems. Dems will ruin their chances if they embrace the Far Left.

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