Non-American Black Lives Matter Too

Illustration: Black Lives Matter NYC Demonstration [Image credit: by The All-Nite Images, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia]

Many radical leftist groups appear fixated on demonizing the state of Israel, even as they systematically ignore major human rights abuses occurring across the globe.

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is no exception to this. They condemn Israel for allegedly committing a “genocide” against the Palestinian people and being an “apartheid state,” while stressing the importance of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, fighting against anti-BDS laws in the U.S., and ending U.S. military support for Israel.

According to the Black Lives Matter website, the movement sees itself as “part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.” But while the M4BL platform is also vividly anti-Israel and lauds cooperation with the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, Adalah, and other anti-Israel groups, they are very much silent on the oppression faced by the Kurds, the persecution of the Druze in Syria, human rights violations that the Iranian regime commits against the Jewish community, and the oppression of Hindus by the Bangladeshi and Pakistani governments respectively.

While proponents of M4BL could potentially argue that their focus is on racial injustice while these other incidents are examples of ethnic and religious persecution, such arguments ring hollow because individuals who support oppressing peoples because of their race often also support the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. Therefore, there is a pivotal link between racism and the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities.

The fact that M4BL has weighed in on a religious and ethnic conflict by falsely presenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a racial conflict — a dark-skinned Palestinian David fighting a privileged white Israeli Goliath as it were — highlights how much they are divorced from the reality on the ground, and thus undermines any pretense of them having a legitimate excuse for ignoring horrible instances of ethnic and religious persecution across the globe.

In late July, three gunmen attacked the office of the Erbil governor in Kurdistan, taking hostages and killing one civilian. Rudaw Media Network reported that ISIS is believed to have been behind the terror attack, although no one has of yet taken responsibility. Iraqi Kurdistan is considered by many in the West to be the most stable area of Iraq, an island of tranquility surrounded by a sea of tyrannical regimes. For many Kurds, an attack upon them is considered to be an attack upon the autonomous democracy that they have worked hard to create under difficult conditions. Yet, when ISIS attacked a democratic institution in ethnic Kurdistan, M4BL had nothing to say about it.

Also in late July, senior level Syrian and Russian officials met with the Druze leadership in Swaida, demanding that tens of thousands of young people who deserted the Syrian army go back or be declared as terrorists, according to former Israeli government adviser Mendi Safadi. He claimed that after the Druze leadership refused, they were threatened: “You will bear the consequences and be responsible for what happens to you.”

Safadi reported that shortly afterward, the Syrian regime attacked the Druze in Swaida, killing over 200 people. Following this report, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara declared, “I strongly condemn the suicide bombings, massacre, and murder of the Druze in Syria. The news items about the great number who were killed are outrageous, worrisome, and saddening. Just as the State of Israel takes care of refugees and those escaping - and it is good that this is so - it must also provide protection to the Druze in Syria and make sure that nothing bad will happen to them.”

Ever since the Syrian Civil War broke out, the followers of the Druze religion have faced intense persecution. When Jabhat Al-Nusra entered Idlib, they massacred Druze and forcefully converted hundreds more to Islam. Once again, M4BL had nothing to say about the religious brutalities like this, which are committed on a daily basis in Syria.

Iranian research journalist Neda Amin, of the Center for Near East Policy Research and Israel Resource News Agency, reported in a personal communication that she has recently uncovered a plot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to arrange adoptions for children in Iranian orphanages, compelling the Iranian Jewish community to give them fake Jewish ID cards; the adoptees are to be sent to wage terror attacks within Israel upon their 18th birthday.

This report indicates double persecution for the Jewish community. The Jewish people in Israel, who have the only democracy in the Middle East, would be murdered in Iranian-sponsored terror attacks just because they are Jews. At the same time, once the Israeli government learns of the Iranian regime’s plan it would likely exercise greater caution and make it harder for Iranian Jews to prove that they are in fact Jewish, resulting in Iranian Jews facing greater difficulties in successfully escaping Iran and making Aliyah to Israel. Thus, many Iranian Jews who do not have solid proof of their Judaism could be forced to linger under the oppressive regime in Iran. Par for the course, M4BL has absolutely nothing to say about how the Iranian regime is oppressing the Jewish community.

And as if all of this were not bad enough, Shipan Kumer Basu, the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, stated in an exclusive interview with this author that the Rath Yatra Hindu Festival in mid-July fell victim to bigoted vandalism. He added that a Hindu funeral was obstructed by the local authorities, that one Hindu man disappeared, and that a 7-year-old Hindu girl was raped within his native Bangladesh. In addition, he noted that Samir Chowdhury was assaulted by the local police to the point that he bled, saying: “The minorities of Bangladesh and Pakistan experience incidents like this on a daily basis. However, even though we also have brown skin, the Movement for Black Lives and many other leftist groups in the West does not care about our fate, for they have a selective conscious.”

M4BL has shown hypocrisy and double standards in ignoring the very real persecution of people of color around the world, which occurs due to their race, ethnicity, and religion. So why the preoccupation with hating Israel while not showing any sort of solidarity with other oppressed people of color, who are persecuted merely because they are part of the wrong religious or ethnic group? It appears that the entire M4BL platform lacks rational logic, which is a great tragedy for every African-American in the U.S. who is yearning for racial equality at home, while at the same time seeking to create solidarity with other oppressed and persecuted peoples across the globe.

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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© 2017 by The Jerusalem Herald, a division of Yashar Communications