A Topic Group on the Black Lives Matter Platform and Israel

At a Jewish liberation workshop in my Region, beautifully led by Dan Alter, I led a topic group on the Black Lives Matter platform’s language on Israel and Palestine.

There were six of us in the group, all white Ashkenazi Jews. I started by giving some information about the Black Lives Matter policy platform and its language on Israel. I decided to focus on the accusation that the Palestinians are being targeted with genocide. I had people do a mini-session on the word “genocide” and everything it brings up.

Next I said that this section of the platform, and our reactions to it, involve the hooking of anti-Jewish oppression and racism. It’s confusing to look at these two oppressions together, so I said we would look at each one separately.

First I talked about anti-Jewish oppression. I said that when an almost entirely Gentile organization condemns Jews for acting as oppressors but does not acknowledge the existence of anti-Jewish oppression, that is anti-Jewish oppression. Then everyone had a mini-session. I asked them to discharge from the perspective that this part of the statement is anti-Semitic.

Next I said that our reactions to the statement are no doubt affected by our racism. The feeling that “we know better” or “they are wrong” is racism. We need to discharge on feeling like lecturing the Black Lives Matter movement or telling them what they should do or say. We also need to discharge on the viciousness of the oppression directed at Palestinians. I briefly talked about the legal definition of genocide, which is more complicated than most of us realize. Then I asked people to spend their next mini-session focusing on racism.

Lastly, I said that this is an important time for us as RCers to share our thinking and attention widely. I asked the question, “If you were going to share your perspective on this statement with those around you, what would you say?” W e did a short go-around in which we shared our thoughts.

I was happy with what I was able to accomplish in a short time, with little time to prepare.

Terry Fletcher

Berkeley, California, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

(Present Time 185, October 2016)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00