Movement for Black Lives releases anti-zionist platform

Outrage misplaced towards Black Lives Matter


Ruby Stillman

When I reached out my hand to introduce myself to a friend at a jewish youth group convention, I didn’t think twice about proudly displaying my Black Lives Matter (BLM) bracelet. My friend claimed that BLM was anti-zionist and anti-semitic.

Both racial equity and supporting my jewish community are of utmost importance to me. I never thought that supporting both would pose a challenge.

After the encounter, I felt uninformed and ignorant. I started researching as much as I could. I wanted to wholeheartedly support the movement I otherwise so strongly agreed with.

I found out that an organization called the Movement for Black Lives released a  platform consisting of their opinion on numerous topics in August of 2017. Among the topics covered in the platform, was the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The platform states that Israel is committing a “genocide” against the Palestinian people and is an “apartheid” state whose laws “sanction discrimination against the Palestinians.”

Although there have been many wrongs committed on both sides of the Israel Palestine issue, I believe it is inaccurate and malicious to accuse Israel of genocide, abuse, and discrimination. Using these terms creates a bias narrative that does not take into account the complexity and history of the middle eastern issue.

Jonathan Palmer, the executive director of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, a center that serves the black community of St. Paul, explained to me that there is a difference between the Movement for Black Lives, the organization that released the platform, and Black Lives Matter, the organization displayed on my bracelet.

Both racial equity and supporting my jewish community are of utmost importance to me. I never thought that supporting both would pose a challenge.

— Ruby Stillman


The schools race equity coach Matthew Horrel helped me realize that it is not a matter of overlooking something that you do not agree with and continuing to support it, rather a matter of accepting that it is okay to agree with some things and not others. 

On the Movement for Black Lives’ website, BLM is labeled as a “Members of the united front.”

The question then becomes, to what extent does BLM align with the platforms released by the Movement for Black Lives? Was my new acquaintance justified in what he said to me?

According to Palmer, it’s impossible to tell. Because BLM is a decentralized organization, filled with many different opinions and agendas, and the platform was not an official statement of theirs, there is no way to know for certain the extent of their affiliation with the Movement for Black Lives.

Although I do not support The Movement for Black Lives because of their blatant opposition to Israel, in no way does that stop me from continuing to support the fight for racial justice. I wish the person who declared that BLM was anti-zionist and anti-semitic had done his own research and drawn his own conclusion before perpetuating inaccurate information.

I still proudly sport my BLM bracelet and encourage others to continue to support what they are passionate about, even if it isn’t easy.