Resolution Adopted by the CCAR
CONCERNING THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG
Adopted by the 116th Annual Convention
of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
The Confederate battle flag,‡ though for some a proud emblem of Southern heritage has become for many Americans a reminder of slavery and segregation. The flag.s basic design has been appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan, other racist hate groups and white supremacists. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the battle flag as one of their symbols. Common public perception of the flag today associates it with bigotry, oppression, and our country.s historic trampling of African American rights.
Several Southern states have flown the Confederate battle flag along with the U.S. and state flags over their statehouses. South Carolina still flies the battle flag on a prominent flagpole on the front lawn of the state capitol, a display offensive to many who see the flag.s continued presence as a reminder of the shameful history of slavery and oppression.
Other states incorporated the Southern Cross into the design of their own state flags. In these cases, the Confederate battle flag has represented . at times explicitly . an era of segregation and racism. In Georgia, the design was incorporated into the state flag in 1956, where it remained until recently, as a symbolic protest of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision.
In the twenty-first century, the fact that the flag has caused such controversy is in itself a reason for change . a state flag should be a symbol of unity, not division. The Confederate battle flag belongs in museums and history lessons. However, such a symbol should not be displayed in any way that implies government endorsement of the hateful ideas that the flag has come to represent.
The Jewish people know all too well the sting of bigotry, oppression, and slavery triggered by powerful symbols of hate. We will always feel a spiritual kinship to those who suffer under the yoke of oppression and persecution, and together we will work to see that justice is served for all God.s children.
THEREFORE, THE CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS RESOLVES TO:
‡ A distinct national flag flew over the Confederate States before the adoption of the battle flag incorporating the Southern Cross. However, it is this battle flag, which is now most commonly associated with racism.