“There is a difference between Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives,” is the argument that is often made. However, it seems that the only people making that argument are non-BLM members. Personally, I have never heard that argument coming from anyone from BLM or M4BL, and that’s probably because it isn’t true. Not only is the argument not true, the organizers of both entities make it clear that they are connected to every ‘liberation’ group that is aligned with their values. The very concept of intersectionality is that our struggles for justice connect us to a larger, interdependent struggle against issues like white supremacy. There is no evidence to suggest that BLM chapters do not share M4BL’s goals, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest they are one and the same.
In December 2019, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors stated in an Al Jazeera interview that:
We realized we need to take our (Palestinian) solidarity a step further. We need to be more public. And so one of the first delegations that went to Palestine was led by the Dream Defenders. It was folks from Ferguson, folks from Black Lives Matter, folks from Dream Defenders, and we went on a solidarity trip… And [we] took several delegations to Palestine after that, and I think in some ways have been laying the foundation for the more public face in solidarity. And I think it’s been incredibly powerful for our movement.
Eight months ago, Cullors said BLM was, “laying the foundation for the more public face in solidarity.” Using her words, and the words of numerous BLM leaders and affiliate organizations, this article will show exactly what Cullors means.
A friend of mine from the Atlanta Israel Coalition invited me to tune in with her to a Zoom event that was hosted by an organization called Demilatirize! From Atlanta to Palestine. The event’s sole purpose was to vilify Israel by seeking to link police brutality in Atlanta (and the greater US) to the Jewish state. Demilitarize! From Atlanta to Palestine opposed the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) by using baseless accusations and empty platitudes to make the conclusion that Israeli police forces teach the US police department to oppress minorities. Detractors of GILEE claim that Israel taught Derek Chauvin to kneel on George Floyd’s neck, when that is not even a tactic Israeli Police have ever used, let alone teach. The other missing element in these efforts is that the US police departments works with many other countries, so to attribute police brutality in the US to Israel and only Israel is not only wrong, it is antisemitic. Not to mention the fact that US police brutality predates modern day Israel. Nevertheless, groups like the Demilitarize! From Atlanta to Palestine focus solely on Israel, creating problems where there are none.
Another event that happened in June was Linda Sarsour’s Muslims for Abolition event in New York City that stated on the poster, “open to all, minus cops and zionists.” The event’s purpose was to advocate for the defunding of the NYPD. Black Lives Matter shares that sentiment, as it has been working to ban police departments who train in Israel. Durham, NC and Minneapolis, MN are two big examples of these successful efforts led by BLM just this past June. In the same month, in Washington DC, Black Lives Matter, along with other groups came together to protest Israel, chanting “Israel, we know you, you murder children, too.” The article notes:
The march, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol building, was led by a Harvard student, Christian Tabash, who read a poem about Israel’s crimes against Palestinian Muslims, according to the Examiner. The poem referred to Israel as “puppet master of continents,” an age-old conspiracy theory that Jews run the world.