Should Jews Endorse Black Lives Matter? By Eileen F. Toplansky
We at MJAC agree that racism is a terrible manifestation of human existence, and we must fight against it.
We have to part ways with the Black Lives Matter organization however. Not that they need us, they've been raking in millions of dollars, but BLM supporters, especially Jewish supporters, should take a closer look at what they're supporting.
But how can Jews support Black Lives Matter when it is an anti-Semitic organization? In fact, "BLM was formed in 2014 as a merger of activists from the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, the anti-Semitic Black Panthers and Dream Catchers. In 2016, BLM published a platform that has since been removed from its website. The platform accused Israel of committing 'genocide' and referred to the Jewish state as an 'apartheid' state."
Furthermore, "[t]he platform also officially joined BLM with the anti-Semitic BDS campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. BDS campaign leader Omar Barghouti acknowledges that the goal of the BDS movement is to destroy Israel." Moreover, "BDS campaigns on US campuses are characterized by bigotry and discrimination directed against Jewish students."
And so, unsuspecting Jews "believe they must fight America's 'structural racism'" even if by doing so they will put their own civil rights at grave risk. This Minneapolis rabbi actually asserts that he will ignore the anti-Semitism of BLM when he states that "[w]e can argue and joust and cry about Israel another day [emphasis mine]. Today, we have a categorical moral imperative to hear the pain of our black brothers and sisters. And I know in my heart of hearts that I have to stand with them. And so now and evermore we must all say Black Lives Matter. And it is high time for the world to wake up to that reality, welcome it and assimilate it."
Add this to the fact that "[b]etween BLM's establishment in 2014 and the publication of its platform in 2016, anti-Israel activists went to great lengths to create an utterly false conceptual linkage between the Palestinians and African Americans. Today, anti-Israel activists in the US have stepped up their efforts to capitalize on the riots. Anti-Israel activists in Bethlehem painted a picture of George Floyd wearing a khaffiyeh and draped in a Palestinian flag on the separation barrier."
Jonathan S. Tobin has also weighed in.
Those who marched in the past for civil rights did so not because they felt that America was an irredeemably racist nation that needed to be completely rethought, but because they thought racism was a betrayal of the nation’s founding principles. To join the assault on American history and to make common cause with radicals who make little effort to conceal their contempt for Jewish interests, as well as calling for the defunding of police, would also be a betrayal of their own community.
Attempts to navigate the narrow space between the unassailable idea that black lives matter, and a movement that sees Jews and Israel as intersectional villains, are likely to lead to disaster. At a time when social-media mobs are bullying dissenters against the BLM mantra, this is not the moment for Jews to fall in line behind a movement whose goals are inconsistent with the need of the Jewish community for security against anti-Semitic attacks and which doesn’t think Jewish lives matter in Israel. To the contrary, Jewish groups have an obligation to stand in defense of the Western liberal values that BLM and its radical allies seem determined to overturn.
There are reasons outside of BLM's demonstrated hatred of Jews for not supporting the organization. According to Philip Carl Salzman:
It could not be clearer that the Black Lives Matter Foundation cares nothing about black lives. We know this because the Foundation never mentions or addresses the overwhelming cause of threat to black lives: black-on-black crime. It never mentions the underlying reasons for black-on-black crime: the absence of fathers for boys and the long term corrupt governance of all major cities by Democrat politicians. And it never advocates a cure for black-on-black crime: more police and more community cooperation with police.
BLM Foundation and its activists and supporters claim that African Americans are constantly under threat from police and white attackers: “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” BLM Foundation claims that blacks are systematically targeted for murder: “We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.”
But if we just want to focus on BLM's anti-Semitism, of which they express more than enough, we should read this entire Twitter thread from #BlackLivesMatterUK. It's sickening, and doubly so from a group that claims to stand for civil rights and anti-racism.
But wait. There's more. From Daniel Greenfield, we read:
There is an unbridgeable moral gap between the Chabad synagogue that opened its doors to the National Guard and the Modern Orthodox synagogues that opened their doors to black nationalists. And that gap in the Orthodox community can be seen in those teens cheering the LAPD in Fairfax and those chalking slogans against it in Beverlywood. That gap will determine which community has a future.
A community that teaches its children that they are privileged racists and that standing up for Israel and for their own homes and synagogues has to take a back seat to black nationalism, has no future.
As Rabbi Pini Dunner, of the Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, wrote, "If supporting BLM means collective suicide, you can count me out."
Those Jews who have had the courage to speak up have been told that now is not a Jewish moment. This is a time for empathizing with criminals, not for standing up for the victims of anti-Semitism.
Jay Sanderson, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, worried that focusing on the attacks on synagogues would detract from the important cause of the protests.
“This is not about us,” Los Angeles Jews have been told.
And yet the vandalism of synagogues and businesses, the cries of, “F___ Jews”, and the “F___ Israel” graffiti on a synagogue eloquently testify to the inescapable truth of anti-Semitism that it is about Jews.
And if Jews don’t stand up when their synagogues and stores are attacked, who will?
Black lives don't matter to BLM. Jewish lives don't matter to BLM. Do any lives, except for their own, matter?