It’s essential that we hear the cry that black lives matter just as much as any others, and respond with solutions that foster equality and justice.
We know that disparities and prejudice are not limited to police shootings, but the young black man followed in a store on the discriminatory assumption that he must be a shoplifter, or the African-American missing child who won’t get the same crucial press coverage as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl.
It’s also critical to ensure that the movement does not get hijacked by interests some claim are “intersectional,” but are unrelated at best and nefarious at worst.
It’s a pattern you see in any grassroots groundswell: various unrelated causes are drawn to the movement as hangers-on. A protest for immigration reform attracts many families simply concerned about deportation, where they will likely be handed a copy of The Socialist Worker by activists eager for recruits. And what we see now are currents of anti-Semitism trying to take the Black Lives Matter movement down a dangerous path.
There are various organizations focused on the core Black Lives Matter concerns of equality in the justice system and incarceration rates along with investments in African-American communities, culminating in multi-faceted platforms expressing solidarity with the marginalized including the LGBT community, the poor and the disabled.
In August, the Movement for Black Lives released a platform with a plank opposing U.S. military aid to Israel and calling the Jewish State “an apartheid state” committing “genocide” against Palestinians.
One of the groups in the movement coalition, Dream Defenders, has sent delegations to the Mideast and advocates support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department. In a curriculum for grades 6 through 11 released by the group, the PFLP is lauded as committed to the “destruction of Zionism” and the “destruction of Israel” through “paramilitary operations,” and “they want equal rights just like the Dream Defenders.”
Declaring solidarity with an intifada puts you on the side of terror, not justice or the rule of law.
The state of Israel did not choke Eric Garner. Benjamin Netanyahu did not pump bullets into Philando Castile. The Knesset did not shoot Akai Gurley and leave him bleeding to death in a stairwell. Blood libel does not make vehicle stops safer for African-American men. Intensifying hate, and drawing parallels where none exist to justify that hate, does not bring the country to a place of reconciliation, change and justice.
The concept of intersectionality used to justify this anti-Semitism, postulating that oppressed people should stick together, conveniently ignores that a quarter of Israel’s population is Arab and Muslims worship freely at Israeli mosques, yet Jews are not welcome in Hamas’ Gaza.
The fatally flawed concept that aims to draw parallels with the slaying of unarmed civilians in the United States ends up justifying a knife-wielding Palestinian breaking into a West Bank home this July and stabbing to death a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl in her bed. It buys hook, line and sinker the Hamas manifesto that claims violent jihad is simply “resistance” while betraying their true motivations through a trove of anti-Semitic canards.
Other terrorist groups also have been trying to exploit the wounds in American society by telling Black Lives Matter activists that their causes, too, are intersectional. Al-Qaeda has repeatedly discussed police-inflicted killings in their English-language recruiting magazine Inspire, arguing that the terror group sympathizes with "the oppression and injustices directed towards you,” as emphasized in a 2015 article, and encouraging BLM activists to feel reciprocal sympathy for jihadist groups.
Al-Qaeda further has encouraged violent revolt in the United States and has offered “military consultation” for this “second approach” to activism.
This in no way implies that African-Americans are going to take al-Qaeda up on their suggestion, but is a stark example of how special interests who traffic in injustice try to exploit people’s sincere quest for justice.
The movement not only loses its way, but loses valuable allies who are committed to fighting racism yet will not compromise these values of equality and nondiscrimination by aligning with anti-Semitic forces coronating terrorists as “resistance” elements while accusing Israel of genocide.
As Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in protest after the release of the Movement for Black Lives platform, “The Jewish community knows too much about genocide.”
Bridget Johnson is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center and D.C. bureau chief for PJ Media.
The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.