NAACP backtracks on call to end all weapons shipments to Israel after facing scrutiny from the Jewish community

NAACP President Derrick Johnson addresses the Newsmaker Luncheon at the National Press Club on Aug. 29, 2017, in Washington. Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

The NAACP, the oldest Black civil rights organization in the United States, revised its statement on the Gaza conflict after calling for a “permanent ceasefire” and the suspension of American weapon shipments to Israel, to specify that they only want to halt the shipment of weapons “targeting civilians.”

  • “We didn’t want folks to be confused as to exactly what we were calling for because we do respect the right for Israel to defend itself,” said Alicia Mercedes, NAACP spokesperson. “But we don’t think American tax dollars should be going to bomb civilians.”
  • “The Middle East conflict will only be resolved when the U.S. government and international community take action, including limiting access to weapons used against civilians,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP chief executive.

Jewish Backlash: The revision follows scrutiny from the American Jewish community, with whom the NAACP has shared close ties to since its inception in 1909.

  • Rabbi Jonah Pesner, head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and NAACP board member, expressed his disappointment with the statement, stating “many of us in the Jewish community are deeply disappointed in the statement, on both process and substance, in calling for an embargo for multi-use weapons at a moment when Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran remain committed to Israel’s destruction.”
  • “What would MLK do? asked former ADL head Abe Foxman on X/Twitter. “Not this! Sad betrayal of your Jewish allies.”

In the headlines: The revision coincides with Israel’s controversial hostage extraction operation which massacred over 200 Palestinian civilians.

  • Israeli soldiers infiltrated the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza by hiding inside a truck used for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
  • According to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, a special US military unit specialized in rescuing captives “supported the effort.”
  • The four hostages were subsequently airlifted out of Gaza through the reconstructed US-built pier, which had undergone extensive repairs totaling tens of millions of dollars.

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