We Still Don't Know What's Good for Us?
According to Bankole Thompson in the Detroit News, Jewish leaders need to start speaking up about more than just Israel. From the article:
In his attack, Trump said Jews who support Democrats show disloyalty to Israel. While the criticism against majority Jews for supporting Democrats shows a clear lack of understanding of the issues central to the Jewish pilgrimage in America, it underscores the need for Jewish leaders to speak out more on the issues shaping this era, and not merely react to Trump.
When Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting the Jewish state because of their views, there should have been a groundswell of condemnation from all quarters of the American Jewish community for that kind of dictatorial behavior.
Bankole seems to be upset that Jews are deciding for ourselves what we consider important and that we aren't jumping through his hoops. And I suppose he expects us to accept his inaccuracies regarding Tlaib's and Omar's proposed visit to "Palestine" too. He neglected to mention their refusal to join the other 72 representatives who did visit Israel. And he forgot about Tlaib's use of her grandmother as a political pawn.
I have to admit, we Jews do have a long history of not doing what people want us to do. For that bad habit, we've been hated, condemned, lied about, beaten, and murdered. So far, Bankole is only scolding us and rewriting history.
In fact, at a recent forum I moderated at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield about white supremacy based on the film SKIN, which was hosted by the ADL, I recalled the Rev. Kenneth Flowers, an African American minister from Detroit, who was on the panel challenging the mostly Jewish audience to speak out more on racist attacks on blacks. Flowers bemoaned to the audience that Jews should be doing more and standing in solidarity with their counterparts in the black community.
Jews should be doing more? Bankole has nothing to say about Tlaib's, Omar's, Farrakhan's, Ellison's, Sharpton's, Marc Lamont Hill's, or Alice Walker's Jew-hatred and incitement, but "Jews should be doing more and standing in solidarity?" It's always the Jews who should be doing more and different. Nobody else seems to have any responsibilities.
Jews were instrumental in the founding of the NAACP and Jewish lawyers also worked tirelessly alongside black civil rights leaders in helping break down the walls of Jim Crow. But the relationship between the two communities over the years has often soured.
Hmmm, Omar, Farrakhan, Ellison, Sharpton, Marc Lamont Hill, Alice Walker, Jews being attacked in Crown Heights couldn't have anything to do with that breakdown, could it?
No, of course not.
Jews being too concerned about Israel is the only possible explanation.
I expressed then my candid views at the Max Fisher Federation building that JCRC needs to decide whether it wants to be seen as a public affairs group that speaks only on the Middle East question, or an entity interested in championing local issues like addressing poverty and educational inequality.
I told the panel that if JCRC must be viewed as a relevant organization in Detroit, it should include in its platform issues that are facing Detroiters, not just Israel and Palestinians.
We at MJAC hope that our JCRC/AJC has the intestinal fortitude to ignore Bankole's condescending column and let Bankole know that we Jews have a pretty good understanding of our needs.
At least, we at MJAC do.