The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American Orthodox rabbis – calls on the Black Lives Movement to purge anti-Semitism from its platform.

The Rabbinical Alliance of America recognizes that the tragic events that led to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have spurred a much-needed conversation on racism. As a nation, we have an obligation to engage in this important discussion that hopefully will lead to concrete policy proposals and constructive solutions to eradicate racism from our nation once and for all.

The Rabbinical Alliance of America has concerns with anti-Semitism within the ranks of the Black Lives Matter movement. Recently, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slogans were expressed during a July 1 march held in Washington, DC. The marchers carried Black Lives Matter and pro-Palestinian signs. Protestors at the demonstration chanted, “Israel, we know you, you murder children, too.” The demonstration was billed as an event in support of the Days of Rage called by the Palestinian Authority and other groups to protest Israel’s consideration of proclaiming sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.

The march, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol building, referred to Israel as a “puppet-master of continents,” an old conspiracy theory alleging that Jews rule the world. The marchers equated the Israeli occupation of the West Bank with genocide. Nothing can be further from the truth. Israel does not engage in genocide and has no intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. There is no sound logical nor legal basis to compare Israeli occupation of the West Bank to genocides of the 20th century, such as those in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, or Armenia, or the Nazi Holocaust in Europe. Each of these travesties constituted a devious, calculated, and evil plan to destroy specific ethnic groups; and each of these crimes against humanity killed hundreds of thousands to millions of innocent people who were murdered solely for who they were. Israel does not systematically kill anyone, and any claims to that effect are merely nefarious lies used to stir hatred. Further, the Black Lives Matter platform fails to address the use of violence by Hamas, including the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians that Human Rights Watch has classified as a war crime.

A review of the platform of the Black Lives Matter reveals that the movement labels Israel an “apartheid state.” Black Lives Matter has joined with the BDS movement in calling for the total academic, cultural, and economic boycott of Israel, a demand made for no other country.

Israel is not an Apartheid State. Apartheid was the official South African policy that sought to maintain a complete political and social separation between the white and black population of South Africa. Under South African Apartheid, blacks were not permitted to eat in white restaurants or cafes, to attend white schools or universities, to be treated in white hospitals, to live in white neighborhoods, or to serve in the white government or judiciary.

Anyone familiar with Israel knows that there is no such apartheid segregation in Israel. Israeli Arab citizens are full citizens. They attend all of Israel’s universities. They can seek medical treatment in all of Israel’s hospitals. They are employed by the Israeli government and by its judiciary and are welcomed at all of Israel’s restaurants and cafes. Furthermore, Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank live under the political control of the Palestinian Authority and enjoy the full range of rights guaranteed by the Palestinian Authority. Clearly, it is an erroneous conclusion to compare Israel to an Apartheid state.

Therefore, the Rabbinical Alliance of America calls on the Black Lives Matter movement to purge itself of inaccurate and anti-Semitic policies and platforms. By doing so, the Black Lives Matter movement will be taking the righteous step in advancing and advocating the elimination of racism and bigotry as we sadly know it, a change that the Rabbinical Alliance of America supports wholeheartedly.