Coinciding with the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, over 600 Jewish organizations published a full page advertisement in Friday's New York Times with a joint letter "affirming unequivocally that Black Lives Matter."
The letter, whose signatories include three Jewish denominations which collectively represent more than half of all Jewish people in the U.S., can be read in full here.
According to Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, the joint letter, originally released in June, was "coordinated by a diverse group of Jewish activists from across a range of religious, political, gender, and racial identities who saw emerging attempts among some politicians and media outlets to drive a wedge between Jews and Black-led movements, and efforts to delegitimize those Black-led movements by using anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and dogwhistles."
The letter has now been signed by 624 Jewish organizations, denominations, and synagogues, ranging from small congregations to major groups, whose millions of members constitute the majority of all Jewish people in the U.S.
600+ Jewish groups just signed this full-page @nytimes ad: “We say unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.”
The signers represent over half of Jewish people in the U.S., proudly supporting #BlackLivesMatter and the fight for Black liberation. #Jews4BlackLiveshttps://t.co/atS3i1O0jb pic.twitter.com/AqUiqB08IY
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) August 28, 2020
The letter begins:
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We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.
We support the Black-led movement in this country that is calling for accountability and transparency from the government and law enforcement. We know that freedom and safety for any of us depends on the freedom and safety of all of us.
It goes on to say:
Anti-Semitism is part of the same machinery those politicians use to blame Black and brown people, people who are immigrants, people who are Muslim, and more. But whether they generate division and fear based on our religion, our skin color, or how long we've been here, their goal is to keep us from working together to win the things we all need to survive and thrive.
When Jewish people join together with our neighbors across racial and religious differences, as we have in the past, we can protect each other and build the future of freedom and safety we all deserve.
Jewish tradition teaches us that justice is not something that will be bestowed upon us, it is something that we need to pursue, and that the pursuit is itself sacred work. We'll show up for each other every time one of us is targeted because of our differences, and reject any effort to use fear to divide us against each other.
Jared Jackson, founder and executive director of Jews in ALL Hues, said that "there have always been Black Jews in movements for Black liberation and in Jewish communities; we know that racism and anti-Semitism are connected and we are targeted and harmed by both."
"This is an important moment in our struggle for collective liberation, and our support for Black lives is unquestionable," said Audrey Sasson, executive director of New York-based Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. "I'm proud to represent one of so many organizations joining together to send a clear message that we stand with Black-led movements for liberation."
Rachèl LaForest, chief program officer at Bend the Arc, said that "when we join together across racial and religious differences, when we rise as one, we can build a new America where it is safe to sleep, walk, drive, shop, jog, live, and love while Black."