SYDNEY communal organisation Shalom has apologised for saying the number one thing “that needed to happen this Jewish year” was the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
In an email to its newsletter subscribers last week, Shalom listed “5 things that needed to happen” in 5780, including coming together as a community, family time, rain and learning how to use Zoom.
The organisation placed the BLM movement in top spot on the list, before issuing a clarification and an apology the next day.
“We acknowledge that the BLM movement, as an official organisation, has a number of problematic stances – both antisemitic and anti-Israel, and we were not aiming to endorse or support the official organisation, rather the conversation around racial equality,” Shalom’s director of programs Rabbi Alon Meltzer wrote.
“By referring to the Black Lives Matter movement, without differentiating between the idea and the organisation, we obscured the intention of the message we had aimed to point out, which was the need for a deep introspection of racial injustice both here in Australia and abroad.”
Stating that Shalom “is an apolitical organisation that strives to spark challenging conversations in ways that build us up, allows for differing opinions to be heard, and creates an inclusive environment,” he said, “We chose our words poorly, and for that we are sorry.”
Shalom added that the list “was not exhaustive” and “acknowledged some global and local issues that have radically influenced the landscape”.
“In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we hope that you are able to accept our clarification and apology. May 5781 be a year of understanding, compassion and tolerance for all.”