We can and should protest racism. We should work to eliminate it. I wrote that weeks ago.
But we should also know about and protest antisemitism and all forms of bigotry, particularly when they are filled with raging rhetoric and advocate violence. We should work to eliminate that, too.
I will not ally with any group that espouses such bigotry and certainly, as a proud Jew, not antisemitism. When Jewish leadership does not at least as strongly defend the Jewish people, as it does other causes, when it is quieter about our disrespect, it does not deserve our respect; such "leadership" has sold us out, abdicated that primary and universal human responsibility.
This week we begin three weeks of mourning, culminating in the mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem, the exile of our people, and the burning of the Beit ha-Mikdash. If we do not speak out, if we let our leaders, Jewish and political, get away with silence, it is a moral catastrophe for which all of us will pay a steep price, and Jews will be among the first and the last.
Yesterday the news media publicized this: A prominent NFL player posted the following: "(white) Jews will blackmail America. (They) will extort America, their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were." He also shared posts on Instagram from controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
He responded to criticism: "Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way," he posted, highlighting part of the false Hitler quote. "I have no hatred in my heart toward no one!! Equality. Equality." He also recorded an apology on Instagram saying his post "was not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community. … I'm very apologetic, and I just want you guys to understand that it was never intended to put any race down or any religion down." "I post a lot of things that are sent to me; I do not have hatred towards anyone. I really didn't realize what this passage was saying. We should be together fighting anti-Semitism and racism. This was a mistake to post this and I truly apologize for posting it and sorry for any hurt I have caused."
We are a people of Teshuvah. Apologies are encouraged and welcome. Teshuvah indicates that a moral standard is right and necessary and the person(s) were wrong. But apologies must make sense; they must sincerely address the issues. (a) Were these words taken the wrong way? That is not responsibility, that is blame. (b) Does he have no hate? Had any White person said the same words about a Black person, would he accept that? (c) Was there no intention? Is he so careless that he posts anything, and again, would he accept the same explanation if it were directed at Blacks? I hope he would not. This is not over.
Moreover, it does reflect many of the attitudes of the BLM leaders and its associations, and when silent, the movement itself. It can embrace anti-Semitism or it can renounce and disassociate itself from it. There is no other option. Again, if Whites spoke this way about Blacks, if they were so associated with such vile statements, what would they say? The same standard must apply to Jews as it does to Blacks or anyone else.
Several Rosh ha-Shanahas ago, I spoke about the anti-Semitism of certain groups and people. Anti-Semitism, I explained in this thinking, is acceptable because Jews appear to have power, and if you have power, you are fair game. This thinking is a disaster and will perpetuate violent revolution, against anyone who appears to "have" -- individuals, and groups -- Whites, Jews, and even Blacks.
The following is a recent summary sent to me by a blogger. (I do not agree with everything he wrote, and some of it, due to moral indignation, is just inflammatory, but the facts themselves must not be suppressed.)
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 by three black women, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. Cullors declared that she and Garza are “trained Marxists“. Linda Sarsour is an outspoken advocate in the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM includes activists from the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, the anti-Semitic Black Panthers and Dream Catchers. Melina Abdullah, “the lead organizer of Black Lives Matter in LA and a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State” is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam. Abdullah calls him “The Honorable Minister Farrakhan.” Black Lives Matter, it appears, “is structurally anti-Semitic.”
Farrakhan says contemporary Jews are responsible for promoting child molestation, misogyny, police brutality and sexual assault, among other social ills. In addition, he asserted that contemporary Judaism is nothing but a “system of tricks and lies” which Jews study in order to learn how to “dominate” non-Jews.
His hate for Jews is all pervasive. “…the false Jew will lead you to filth and indecency. That’s who runs show business. That’s who runs the record industry. That’s who runs television.” Farrakhan alleged that Jews often force aspiring actors to submit to anal sex. “Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kind [sic] of debauchery [before] they give you a little part?” he asked. “It’s called the casting couch. See that’s Jewish power.”
The Black Lives Matter founding manifesto, published in 2016 (then removed from BLM website), describes the United States as a “corrupt democracy originally built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery” that “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color” and that perpetuates “the ugly American traditions of patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism”. 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.”
Yet I haven’t seen these concerned Jews march against Jew hatred ... in May during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot? Congregation Beth Israel — a synagogue in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles was vandalized on May 30 with graffiti stating “free Palestine” and “ f&^% Israel.”
A statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, was smeared with anti-Semitic slogans. The Kosher Mensch Bakery and Kitchen and the Jewish-owned clothing store Go Couture were destroyed. Stores on the fashionable Melrose Avenue, on the district’s northern border, also were damaged, as were multiple Jewish institutions in the area: Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Tivereth Avi/Morasha Educational Centre, Shaarei Tefilah synagogue and the Shalhevet school for girls.
So here we are in the year 2020 and we have Black Lives Matter with BDS, which has once again used age-old trope...
Get the message out. Write it as you like. Tell our local Jewish and political leadership. When your children and grandchildren later ask, "What did you do about?" -- or if your conscious asks -- what will you say? You are defined by your moments and your responses.