Globe Briefs August 11

Globe Briefs August 11

Boston protestors call on community relations group to retract criticism of Black Lives Matter platform

A group of activists demanded the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council retract its recent statement criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement’s platform.

According to a statement from the Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow, some 50 people gathered at the council’s Boston offices on Monday to express their support for Black Lives Matter.

“We refuse to follow leaders that force us to choose between Jewish community and one of the most powerful movements of our time,” said Ally Little, one of the protest organizers, according to the IfNotNow statement. “We recognize the explicit links between Black, Palestinian, and Jewish liberation.”

Last week, the council issued a statement condemning the recently released platform of the Movement for Black Lives coalition, which called Israel an “apartheid state” and accused the United States of complicity in Israel’s “genocide” against the Palestinians.

“JCRC cannot and will not align ourselves with organizations that falsely and maliciously assert that Israel is committing ‘genocide,’” the statement read.

The Anti-Defamation League, the rabbinic human rights group T’ruah and the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center also criticized the platform.

Released on Aug. 1, the document encompasses a broad set of economic and social policy goals aimed at eliminating racism, mass incarceration and police violence. The language on Israel appeared in a section called Invest-Divest and called for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.

Jewish Week Media Group to publish New Jersey Jewish News

The New York-based Jewish Week Media Group will soon begin publishing the New Jersey Jewish News.

The agreement for a subsidiary of The Jewish Week to assume editorial sales and administrative responsibilities for the weekly newspaper was reached between the Jewish Week Media Group and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest in New Jersey last month, according to a joint announcement.

The media group will also publish the bimonthly and monthly editions in some New Jersey counties. The newspapers’ local coverage will be supplemented by reporting from The Jewish Week’s staff in New York and Israel.

Most of the editorial staff of the New Jersey paper will be retained as part of the deal, although some production and business positions were eliminated in the arrangement.

The circulation/distribution of the combined New Jersey Jewish News editions is 21,000, according to the newspaper. The Jewish Week put the figure at 32,000.

“Our mission is journalistic excellence and helping to strengthen the Jewish community,” Stuart Himmelfarb, president of the board of The Jewish Week Media Group, said in a statement. “We hope that by combining our editorial and marketing skills with those of NJJN and its communities, we will accomplish those goals together to the benefit of all.”

Canada’s Green Party votes to support BDS movement

Canada’s Green Party voted to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

At its convention in Ottawa over the weekend, party members endorsed the BDS movement despite the party leader’s opposition to the measure.

The Green Party “supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and we continue to advocate for good-faith negotiations,” party president Ken Melamed said after Sunday’s vote.

“This support is intended to further advocate to that end. Our members, like many Canadians, will continue to search for ways to support both sides while acknowledging the complexity of the various security, economic, and religious concerns,” Melamed added.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May said she was “disappointed that the membership has adopted a policy in favor of a movement that I believe to be polarizing, ineffective and unhelpful in the quest for peace and security for the peoples of the Middle East. As is the right of any member, I will continue to express personal opposition to BDS.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs condemned the party’s decision as “outrageous. … [The] BDS movement, which seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.”

Party members also voted to adopt a resolution that calls on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of any organization that violates Canadian or international human rights law.

As originally worded, the resolution asked the party to pursue the revocation of the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund ostensibly because the JNF discriminates by selling and leasing land in Israel only to Jews.

CIJA said it was “pleased” that May was “instrumental” in amending the resolution to remove specific references to the JNF, and said she was right to oppose the “toxic” BDS vote.