Growing up as a Jew in France in the 60s and 70s wasn’t without its challenges. My own mother who had lost her dad in the Holocaust at age 15, had developed a fear about telling people that we were Jewish. So much so that she even forced me to learn German in school as a second foreign language, just in case the Germans would invade France again, so that I could get by. It was not until she was in her early forties before she was comfortable telling others that we were Jewish.
But all this never stopped me from making friends of different backgrounds at school. Two of my earliest buddies were Vietnamese and African. Every time I told my mother about a new friend, this fearful question always arose, “Do they know we are Jewish?” to which I always answered that they didn’t care and neither did I. Racism never had a foothold in my life. It never made sense to me to hate somebody based on color, race or creed. It didn’t when I was a teenager and it doesn’t today as a middle age adult.
When I moved to the United States in 1985, it quickly became evident that there were racial tensions between blacks and whites on many levels. Economically, culturally, politically to name just a few. Blacks and whites were clashing. Interracial relations have not improved, they have actually gotten worse, to the point of injustice and wrongful deaths that we have witnessed in 2020. There is a serious problem affecting America today that cannot be ignored, and that is a reason why the movement known as Black Lives Matter–founded in 2013– has gathered so much momentum and picked the interest of so many.
Such a movement appears to be giving the African American community the voice and momentum that they need to push reform forward. Philosophically, this is a good thing, but practically, the BLM ideology sends a very different message–if you know where to look. To be sure, I am not saying that black lives do not matter. Of course, they do, as all lives matter. I am simply saying that before we blindly join and support the BLM movement based on somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction, from a mix of compassion, rightful indignation and misplaced guilt, we should investigate who the BLM supports and promotes. It is not always the easiest thing to do as a lot of the connections are no longer evident from their website. But let’s consider the following:
To put it simply; Black Lives Matter supports BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). I have tried my best to expose the false narrative used by BDS proponents for several years. The BDS movement (officially co-founded in 2005 by Mahmoud Abbas and Omar Barghouti), has been pushing for a total boycott (academic, cultural and economic) of Israel and those who support Israel and Israeli products and companies. It has made great strides towards convincing people across the globe that Israel was the perpetrator of crimes against humanity, oppression, invasion and persecution.
The BDS movement
The BDS movement is not interested in social justice in general or they would also call for the boycott of many other countries that truly commit crimes against humanity such as Venezuela, China, Iran, Sudan and many others, but they don’t. Their only agenda is Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. They are not even hiding it as California University Professor Asad Abu Khalil said, “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
Likewise, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti stated, “A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population…definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian – rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian—will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
While it is challenging to find the connection between BLM and BDS, it is not impossible. BLM is part of a larger network known as M4BL (The Movement for Black Lives). Dots become a lot easier to connect once we realize that M4BL is an umbrella organization under which you can find other groups such as Black Lives Matter. Once this is established, it takes no time to find out that M4BL supports BDS.
They claim that “3 billion dollars in US aid is allocated to Israel, a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades.” or “The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.” They even propose some actions to be taken against Israel as they encourage people to “Fight the expanding number of Anti- BDS bills being passed in states around the country. This type of legislation not only harms the movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine but is a threat to the constitutional right to free speech and protest.”
The Movement for Black Lives cites the following:
Both these websites are clear supporters of the BDS ideology and the flawed Palestinian narrative. So, the connection between BLM and M4BL is undeniably clear, and their antisemitic slant is also very obvious. I do not want you to miss the irony here: A movement that claims to fight racism of all sorts and promotes social justice, is also promoting the destruction of Israel and the hatred of Jewish people. So, before we support BLM and donate to the cause, we must examine our hearts.
Is it OK to fight for justice and equality for African Americans while supporting the oppression and destruction of Israel? Whichever way you look at it, it is hypocrisy. Not to mention the global support for BLM including anti-racism gatherings in Paris where some people were shouting dirty Jews to the crowd. Again, where is the connection? So, where do we go from here?
Inequality can only be remedied by true reconciliation and true reconciliation only comes from God. The problem that seems to arise out of the BLM movement is that reconciliation is spoken of, but submission is what is meant. There are some strong similarities between the “reconciliation” promoted by BLM and the one promoted by groups like “Christ at the Checkpoint (CaTC.) claiming to seek reconciliation between Israel and Palestinians in the name of Christ. When reconciliation is simply a word spoken to force the other side to submit unilaterally, then we have a problem. Reconciliation is a two-way street that includes compromise and humility. I have seen very little of that coming from BDS promoters as well as those who defend the BLM movement.
What I am even starting to see, is more and more parallels drawn between the tragic murder of George Floyd and the deaths of Palestinians. Some people are even borrowing visual elements such as the Middle East head scarf worn by Arafat and the Palestinian flag, to incorporate them into images of George Floyd. There is absolutely no foundation for this connection, but that doesn’t stop people from drawing it.
As a French/Jewish immigrant to America, I have come to realize that injustice and inequality is very real all around us, and that is a tragedy. I have been speaking and writing against antisemitism for over twenty years, and I know that it is very real, as Satan infuses that hatred daily in the heart of men. Racism will continue to exist everywhere, but it doesn’t mean that we have to adhere to it. As God’s word tells us that through the blood of Messiah, Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled into one new man, without any separation between them. Racial reconciliation is not something we have to work on, but something we need to grab hold of and believe in, in complete faith, because of what Yeshua did on our behalf; Jews and Gentiles, blacks and whites.
Ephesians 2:11-16 drives the point home better than I ever could,” 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
So, I support black lives today as much as I have supported them my whole life, but not through a manmade movement that has a shaky foundation at best.
I support black lives because of my Messiah who supported all lives, enough to die for them. We all should support black lives and it definitely matters how we do it!
Olivier J. Melnick is the National Director of Training, Chosen People Ministries (US) and Vice-President, Berger D’Israël (France).