Taking to Twitter, BLMUK said this morning: “As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades. FREE PALESTINE.” However, the move sparked a debate from people on social media.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to extend Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the territory, which has drawn condemnation from the Palestinians, U.S. Arab allies and other foreign governments.
But on Thursday, the United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov reiterated the United Nation’s position that annexing parts of the West Bank would be “against international law” – which Israel disputes.
But he urged Palestinian leaders not to “stray away from the path of peace” and highlighted the dangers if Palestinians were left feeling there was no prospect of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
He continued: “That only creates opportunities for radicals or people with more destructive agendas to come in and fill that vacuum.”
Responding to the tweet, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism told The Times of Israel that BLM “should embrace solidarity from Jews”.
It added that it “should aspire to be a movement against racism that unifies people and achieves lasting change, not a movement that spreads hatred and achieves lasting division.
“You cannot fight prejudice with prejudice.”
One angry Twitter user said: “They are criticizing Israel for wiping Palestine off the map.
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“But if anyone tries to critique the BLM organisation, that’s where people are gagged.
“Your tweet is hypocritical, antisemitic and racist. Withdraw it.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, tweeted: “I can’t stop thinking about this. It’s irresponsible, disappointing and dangerous to post something like this to thousands of followers who sincerely want to fight racism.
“Gagged”? Gagged by whom? The insinuation is depressingly clear. You can’t fight racism with racism.”
President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, told the Jewish News: “It is beyond disappointing that a supposedly anti-racist organisation has leaned into the antisemitic trope that British politics is “gagged” in terms of debating Israel, a claim particularly preposterous because Israel is one of the most-discussed foreign policy issues in this country.”
It comes as more than 1,000 European politicians signed a letter against Israel annexing the West Bank which was started by senior Israeli figures.
UK politicians signed the letter and these included Lord Carlile, Dame Margaret Hodge, former Tory leader, Lord Howard and Baroness Neville-Jones.
Following the backlash, Black Lives Matter, added on Twitter: “We said it: The UK is not innocent. We MUST be able to hold states accountable for their actions. Whether that’s Britain, the US, China or Israel. No state is above critique. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal under international law.
“For Israel to move annex it on 1st of July is an affront, and it is heartbreaking that Britain is shielding such horrific actions.”