Rabbinical Assembly Responds to Movement for Black Lives Platform

The Rabbinical Assembly, representing 1,700 Conservative and Masorti rabbis around the world, along with the Jewish community, stands in support with those who seek dignity, justice, and respect for all people. For us, the Biblical words say it all: “Justice, justice you must pursue!” (Deut. 16.20) These words have called and continue to call us to bring to an end systemic racial injustice against black people and all people of color and to appreciate the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Yet as we read the Platform issued last week by the Movement for Black Lives, we were stunned and outraged by the erroneous and egregious claims of genocide and apartheid that it levels against Israel. We further object strenuously to the references to the divestment movement and to the call for an end to US military aid for Israel. “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, For the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still, Till her righteousness emerge like a shining light.” (Isaiah 62.1) For more than 2,000 years we as a Jewish people have never turned our attention from returning to our sacred homeland where we could live in freedom and safety. As Jews, we both cherish that homeland and yearn for the day when Israel will live side by side with Palestinians in peace and security. We continue to work toward the day when this dream is a reality and the dignity and well-being of all Jews and all Palestinians are safeguarded by peace.

There is no greater measure of our humanity than to know the pain of the other. It is in this spirit that the Rabbinical Assembly has again called on its members to forge new bonds in their communities across religious and racial lines to be in solidarity with movements for racial justice, to continue to include and invest in Jews of color as leaders for better understanding, and to seek out additional training within our institutions in order to have important internal conversations about race, while working together with local leaders and law enforcement to strengthen relationships to limit the use of force and change the approach of law enforcement to protect all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity.

We reaffirm that we will reach out to seek partners in dialogue, so that we may hear each other. Whether as allies or as part of communities of color, each of us looks forward to opening a richer and more nuanced conversation about racial justice in our communities and injustice throughout the world. Each of us renews our commitment to work together to bring justice, the liberation and fulfillment of all people, without prejudice based on race or faith, gender or sexual identity. That justice also demands that we stand firm with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and against false accusations of genocide and apartheid.