NAACP Endangers Jews by Demanding Anti-Israel Arms Ban – ZOA’s Mort Klein’s JNS Op-Ed
News Op-Ed Press Release
June 17, 2024

By Morton A. Klein

(June 14, 2024 / JNS) Do black Jewish lives matter? How about the lives of non-Jewish black African students and black Jewish Ethiopian-Israelis brutally murdered by Hamas and by Gazan civilians? Or the lives of a black Jew and Bedouin Muslim who Hamas has held in captivity for a decade? Or the lives of any of the dark-skinned Jews that make up about half of Israel’s population? Or any Jewish lives? Apparently, Derrick Johnson, president of the pro-black civil-rights group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), doesn’t think so. When did the NAACP start making foreign policy decisions? Did it ever scream about the hundreds of thousands of truly innocent civilians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and elsewhere being massacred?

The Zionist Organization of America is appalled that on June 6, Johnson issued a press statement demanding that U.S. President Joe Biden indefinitely halt all weapons and ammunition deliveries to Israel, and pressure Israel to stop Israel’s Gaza operations aiming to recover the hostages and prevent Hamas from attacking Israel again. The Gaza-based terror organization has vowed to repeat its Oct. 7 atrocities again and again until Israel is annihilated. The NAACP president’s statement is an anti-civil rights abandonment and betrayal of black Jews, other Jews of color and the entire Jewish people who continue to be victimized, tortured and attacked by the U.S.-designated foreign terrorist group.

Adding insults to injury, the NAACP president parroted Hamas’ false, grossly overstated casualty figures (whitewashed as “UN figures”) and misleadingly blamed an Israeli airstrike in which Israel used the smallest possible ordnance to kill two senior Hamas terrorists in Rafah for Gazan casualties caused by a Hamas weapons stockpile catching fire more than one mile away. In addition, Johnson merely called Oct. 7 a “tragedy” while calling the war in Gaza “unspeakable violence affecting innocent civilians, which is unacceptable.”

Johnson has it backwards. He failed to mention that Oct. 7 was the “unacceptable, unspeakable violence against innocent civilians” in which Hamas and Gazan civilians massacred and tortured innocent Jewish babies, children and civilians from several dozen countries in the most horrific manners imaginable. He didn’t even mention the victims or the perpetrators.

On Oct. 7, Ethiopian-Israeli Samuel Golima, a soldier, and police officer Orel Abraham, both Jewish, were killed while fighting Hamas terrorists that invaded Israel. Yet NAACP’s president wants to disarm brave black Israeli soldiers like them—the defenders of innocent people against Hamas. Moreover, Hamas murdered at least 10 Ethiopian Jews on that horrific day. What about them?

Israeli towns where large numbers of Ethiopian Jews reside, such as Sderot and Ashkelon, have been longstanding, prime targets of Hamas’s tens of thousands of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in the past 20 years. Yet the NAACP president wants to end Israel’s ability to eliminate the Hamas perpetrators of these terrible attacks.

On Oct. 7, Hamas also took two black Tanzanian agricultural students (Joshua Mollel and Clemence Felix Mtenga) who were on an exchange program in Israel and brutally murdered them. Why doesn’t the NAACP president scream about this? And why does he demand that Biden should disarm Israel so that Hamas can do this again?

Hamas also captured Ethiopian-Israeli Jewish hostage Avera Mengitsu a decade ago. Mengitsu is believed to still be in Gaza. Why hasn’t the NAACP president been calling this unspeakable and demanding that Biden reinstate maximum sanctions on the terror group’s funder: Iran?

Hamas also captured Israeli-Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed a decade ago and is believed to be still holding him captive. Again, why the deafening silence from the NAACP when it comes to demands on Biden for action against Iran that could enable his freedom?

On Oct. 7, Hamas also took six Bedouin Arab-Israelis hostage (later releasing two in the innocent-hostages-for-Arab-terrorists exchange) and murdered 21 Bedouin Arab-Israelis. What about them?

And what about the three dozen Americans murdered by Hamas operatives on Oct. 7, and the approximately dozen Americans Hamas abducted? Where are the NAACP president’s demands for action against Iran that would help them? How about the half of Israel’s population who are darker-skinned “persons of color?” How about all of Israel’s Jews, the victims of decades of Arab Hamas terror?

It is deplorable that Jewish lives—whether black, brown or white—don’t matter to the current NAACP president, given the long history of Jewish support for the NAACP and black civil rights. Past ZOA national president Rabbi Stephen Wise helped found the NAACP. I myself fought for civil rights and was arrested in Mississippi for helping black Americans register to vote.

Israel is the only nation in the world that brought black Africans in to save them from annihilation and bring them to freedom. As Kalkidan Tegin said on Tiktok: “When my grandparents lived … in Ethiopia, they were literally hunted and chased and hated just because they were Jews, just because of their religion. I lived here in Israel my whole life and I never felt hated. I never felt hunted just because I’m black.”

More than 170,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, including “Miss Israel” 2013, Yityish (“Titi”) Aynaw. They are deeply distressed that certain American black groups, now including the NAACP, are supporting the Hamas terrorists over Israel. Aynaw stated, referring to Black Lives Matter: “I can’t breathe … I remember you screaming in the streets, ‘I can’t breathe.’ I want to inform you right now … [it’s Israelis] who cannot breathe. [The Israeli hostages held in Gaza, including babies, children, women, entire families and the elderly] were kidnapped, raped by the terror organization Hamas … slaughtering their souls. Hamas is ISIS. Pray for us. Pray for Israel because we can’t breathe. … People need to learn who they’re really supporting, what they [Hamas] do to their own people, let alone Jews. They don’t care about saving lives. There are no human rights [with Hamas]. They kill their own—they also kill Muslims, Bedouins who serve in the army.”

Derrick Johnson needs to take heed of his words and stop promoting the Hamas agenda of disarming Israel’s beautiful multi-colored people whom Hamas seeks to eradicate. Black Jewish lives matter. Jewish lives matter. And all the lives that Hamas tries to destroy matter.

Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.
This op-ed was originally published in JNS and can be viewed here.

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