Black Lives Matter is accused of anti-Semitism after posting photo of controversial mural


Black Lives Matter is accused of anti-Semitism after posting photo of controversial mural on Facebook advertising protest march in Oxford

  • The mural called ‘Freedom of Humanity’ was removed from East London in 2012
  • It was after concerns from Jewish groups that it contained ‘anti-Semitic tropes’
  • It was posted by BLM Oxford on Facebook as a cover photo for an event

A Black Lives Matter group has been accused of anti-Semitism after posting a controversial mural as a cover photo for a Facebook event.

The mural called ‘Freedom of Humanity’ was removed from East London in 2012 after concerns from Jewish groups that it contained ‘vile anti-Semitic tropes’ such as the idea that Jewish people controlled the world.

The artist, Mear One, has previously denied being anti-Semitic, and said the mural is instead about ”class’ and ‘privilege.’

It was posted online by Black Lives Matter Oxford, who are independent of but support Black Lives Matter, as a cover photo on Facebook for an event called ‘Freedom Summer BLM’, as reported by Cherwell. 

The picture was attached as a cover photo for the event and was spotted by Liberal Democrat councillor Alexadrine Kantor who responded on Twitter

What is the ‘Freedom of Humanity’ mural?

The mural, entitled Freedom For Humanity, was painted in the East End by graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One, in 2012.

It showed six businessmen and bankers sitting around a Monopoly board counting money. The board was placed upon crouched human figures representing the oppressed masses. Mr Ockerman denies being anti-Semitic, saying it is about ‘class and privilege’ and contains bankers ‘made up of Jewish and white Anglos’.

The mural was removed by Tower Hamlets council after residents complained. Lutfur Rahman, who was mayor, said: ‘The images of the bankers perpetuate anti-Semitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions.’

Jewish groups condemned the image, saying it contained ‘vile anti-Semitic tropes’ such as the idea that Jewish people controlled the world. 

It was spotted by Liberal Democrat councillor Alexadrine Kantor who responded on Twitter.

She said: The Oxford #BlackLivesMatter seems to think antisemitism is a [sic] acceptable way to fight racism. How disappointing. You don’t fight racism with racism.’ 

The group has now taken down the picture from the event and tweeted an apology. 

The statement said: ‘We understand that recently an antisemitic image was used on one of our events. This is deeply concerning and the person who used the image is deeply sorry. We absolutely do not condone the image used and have since removed it.’

‘We will use this time to learn from their mistakes and ensure every person who attends our events feels safe. We stand resolutely against antisemitism, and see our struggles for liberation as interconnected.’

Alexander Kantor, who had called for the picture to be taken down said the ‘apologies appreciated and accepted.’ 

She added: ‘I do not think they have an issue with anti-Semitism, it was a case of not being aware and they have learnt from it and took action on their staff members to ensure this does not happen again.’

‘Mistakes can happen and become opportunities to learn and educate ourselves. It is quite rare to receive an honest and meaningful apology, as well as actions to ensure this won’t happen again. 

‘Apologies appreciated and accepted, but this is not about me […]. I am an ally, I am very glad about their public statement. UK BLM should learn from them.’ 

The group took the picture down and apologised for any hurt caused by posting the mural

The group took the picture down and apologised for any hurt caused by posting the mural

The mural, entitled Freedom For Humanity, was painted in the East End by graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One, in 2012. 

It showed six businessmen and bankers sitting around a Monopoly board counting money. 

The board was placed upon crouched human figures representing the oppressed masses. Mr Ockerman denies being anti-Semitic, saying it is about ‘class and privilege’ and contains bankers ‘made up of Jewish and white Anglos’.

The mural was removed by Tower Hamlets council after residents complained. Lutfur Rahman, who was mayor, said: ‘The images of the bankers perpetuate anti-Semitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions.’

When contacted by MailOnline the group said: ‘Unfortunately yes, an event with the antisemitic mural was posted on our official page without the correct authorisation and was solely done by an individual. 

‘Once brought to our attention, we instantly apologised and realised the gravity the mural held and resolutely stand with our Jewish community and the fight against racism in all its forms. 

‘We have pulled together a media team that has complete control of all posts and would like to ensure every person who attends our events and protests feels welcome and safe. In light of this, we will be holding our own internal investigation to find out how this happened in the first place. 

‘Once again, our deepest of apologies, this should never have happened and we absolutely see this as a way for us to grow as a movement and protect al those facing oppression.’

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