The Jews of Color Caucus (JOCC) was founded in August 2016 as a partner organization of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Organizing in solidarity with the movement for Palestinian liberation,” JOCC focuses on “fighting state-sponsored racism in both the U.S. and Israel,” with “the understanding that the liberation of Palestine, the liberation of JOC, and the liberation of all People of Color (POC) communities are interconnected and dependent on one another.” Condemning all “U.S., Israeli, and otherwise transnational racial hierarchies,” JOCC laments that people of various backgrounds “hold different degrees of privilege given colorism, racialization, and continued legacies of orientalism and colonialism” in the United States and Israel alike.
JOCC identifies its main constituency as Jews “at the intersections of transnational white supremacy, zionism, and antisemitism,” who have been “marginalized, exploited, sexualized, erased, tokenized, silenced, othered, oppressed, patronized, and infantilized.” Having “witnessed our cultures destroyed and appropriated in service to the white supremacism and settler militarism that are at the basis of zionism,” JOCC has no tolerance for “centris[t]” Jews who fail to embrace the organization’s uncompromising anti-American, anti-Israel message.
JOCC proudly professes to be “in solidarity and co-resistance with the Movement for Black Lives,” the Marxist, racialist agenda that was spelled out in early August 2016 by Black Lives Matter (BLM). “As a caucus we fully endorse the Movement for Black Lives Platform in its entirety without reservation,” says JOCC, calling upon the American Jewish community “to defend BLM activists” from the “backlash” of “a white supremacist power structure that is trying to maintain the status quo.” In its effort to “push for change across the country and around the world,” JOCC “honor[s] and celebrate[s]” BLM and “the many modes of resistance [it] has taken” to protest incidents where African Americans have been “slain by police” or “killed in police custody.” Demanding that “those responsible for these killings … be held accountable,” JOCC argues that all black people “have reasonable fear of police in this country [the United States], and we reject attempts to trivialize this justified fear.”
In its effort to promote the “dismantling” of “state-sanctioned anti-Black racism across the globe,” JOCC similarly impugns “police violence against Black people” in France and the United Kingdom; calls for “solidarity with Ethiopian Jews protesting police violence and racial profiling in Israel”; and voices concern for “the often forgotten victims of Israeli anti-Black violence,” namely, “Sudanese and Eritrean refugees, Afro-Palestinians, and Black Hebrews.”
On the premise that “Israeli state violence has long targeted Black lives alongside Palestinians,” JOCC contends that “Jewish organizations fail Black people when they intentionally avoid critique of Israel in their solidarity with BLM”; that “hiding under the pretense of focusing solely on ‘domestic issues’ does not absolve U.S. Jewish groups of complicity with and perpetuation of Israeli anti-Black racism and settler colonialism”; that “the violence experienced by Palestinians and by Black people at the hands of the state is well-documented and is arguably genocidal”; and that Israel’s “culture of extrajudicial killings” is “often accompanied by mob brutality.”
JOCC is a staunch supporter of the U.S. Prison Divestment movement and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.
At its inception, JOCC explicitly issued a series of demands calling for the American Jewish community to: “end its legitimization of anti-Black racism through its combined attacks on the Black Lives Matter Platform and U.S. Palestine solidarity”; “end its legitimization of U.S. and Israeli state-violence, police militarization, and violence through its role in promoting and organizing police exchange programs that directly contribute to violence against Black and Brown people in the U.S., Palestinians, and Jews of Color”; and “examine the ways it promotes an image of Jews as necessarily ‘white allies’ to Black struggle, thereby erasing the strong presence and leadership of Black Jews.” JOCC also exhorted “the mainstream U.S.-based Zionist movement” to “cease the use of our [nonwhite] bodies as a moral shield for Israeli occupation” – i.e., to stop deflecting attention away from the plight of the Palestinian people, for which JOCC blames Israel entirely.