Black Lives Matter leader decries activists’ anti-Israel stand


To the Editor:

A recent Daily News editorial criticized the movement for black lives for their anti-Israel position. As the leader of Black Lives Matter New York, I agree with Campaign Zero, another organization in the Black Lives Matter Movement, which rejects the anti-Israel stand. 

I disavow the position of movement for black lives on this issue.

As the Civil Rights Movement grew, multiple leaders and organizations emerged with differing ideals from the original language upon which the movement was founded. 

We are seeing this now with the Black Lives Matter movement. Recently, movement for black lives, an organization within the movement has been criticized for using anti-Semitic language as part of its platform. 

It is unfortunate that one organization is causing the entire movement to be labeled as being racist against the Jews. To say that Black Lives Matter as a whole is anti-Semetic is simply not true.

It is no secret that international debate over the conflict between Israel and Palestine is deeply rooted in the foreign-affairs history of the United States. Yet, I do not consider myself to be the most qualified person to give an opinion on the conflict. 

I am, however, fully aware of the significant role American Jews have played in helping lay the foundation of some of the most important civil rights organizations that rose as a result of racial injustices against blacks in America. 

NAACP, Urban League, Congress of Racial Equality, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference all had backing by American Jews.

 Now, I know times have greatly changed since the Civil Rights movement. But, as a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, I have learned how to focus on the enemy. 

The true enemy is institutionalized racism and an oppressive criminal justice system. My aggression is toward a system that was purposely designed to oppress the lives of all people of color. 

My passion is in helping my community succeed in the face of the enemy. We must continue to strategically apply pressure to the system, particularly the elected public officials. So that justice can be achieved on behalf of blacks who presently are being treated unfairly at a highly disproportionate rate in this country.

 I want to invite my Jewish brothers and sisters to join us and stand with us in the fight against the injustices Black Americans perpetually face. 

In fact, I challenge any member of any race and any ethnic group to stand with us in closing the racial inequality gap. 

The responsibility of creating a fair and equal society does not fall on just one group. This is one fight in which all Americans must contribute. 

In Community,

Hawk Newsome

Activist, Black Lives Matter, Greater NY


Hawk Newsome