How could you not? It has been one of the most influential and persuasive movements in contemporary America.
What was the impetus behind the movement?
Very simple, and very sobering. There is the perception that police have targeted blacks for violence.
Then, the push back came. For whatever reason, conservative Americans were uncomfortable singling out blacks for special recognition. They simply did not want to affirm the unique status of anti-black violence in this country. They were skittish about realizing that you could draw a straight line from Ferguson, Missouri to lynchings in the deep South.
And so, what did they do? They deflected the conversation. They shifted it away from #blacklivesmatter to #alllivesmatter.
President Trump, in particular, stated that “Black Lives Matter” is divisive and inherently racist.
Blacks, and others, were rightly furious when conservatives hijacked the conversation and took the focus off the unique suffering of American blacks.
It is not only about race. Almost thirty years ago, I gave a sermon about the AIDS epidemic. A congregant angrily accosted me. “Why are we only talking about AIDS? What about all those people who have cancer, heart disease, etc?”
A little bit of probing revealed the reason for the encounter.
My congregant was simply not comfortable discussing a disease that seemed to have uniquely targeted gays.
So, let’s just talk about all diseases.
When the particulars of a situation trouble you, and you would rather ignore them — just shift the conversation to the universal.
You see where this is going.
Let’s review. Rep. Ilhan Omar makes reprehensible statements — about what? And, about whom?
- She started with her accusation that Israel has hypnotized the world into ignoring its evil.
- She then went into a riff about how congressional support for Israel was about the “Benjamins.”
- She apologized for that remark, and then essentially accused American Jews of dual loyalty.
So, to all of those who support her right to speak out against Israel, and/or against Israeli policies, please understand this.
- This is not about the occupation.
- This is not about the settlements.
- This is not about checkpoints.
- This is not even about religious pluralism in Israel.
- This is not about Israel.
This. Is. About. The. Jews.
If the only Dreyfus you’ve ever heard about is Julia-Louis Dreyfus, stop what you are doing, and read about her distant relative.
Does the name Alfred Dreyfus mean anything to you?
End of history lesson.
No, actually, sorry: one more history lesson.
You might want to read up about how elite German-speaking central European Jews reacted to the early manifestations of antisemitism. “This can’t be about us! They must mean ‘those Jews’ — the eastern European Jews, the funny-looked Jews…”
OK, so — confronting the possibility of a resolution condemning antisemitism, what does Congress do?
As the New York Times put it:
It started as a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. Then, anti-Muslim bias was added in. After that came white supremacy. And by the end, it cited “African-Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants and others” victimized by bigotry.
Please understand me. I, and most Jews, and certainly American Jewish leaders, have been univocal in condemning all of those manifestations of bigotry.
Here is my complaint.
First, the statement is intellectually dishonest. Even my tenth grade students at synagogue know that there is a difference between antisemitism and all of those other hatreds, egregious as they might be.
Second, the statement is the functional equivalent of the #alllivesmatter people trying to drown out #blacklivesmatter.
It basically says this: Jews don’t even deserve their own particular narrative.
Someone help me understand this.
How is it that such oh-so-sensitive people; the people who invented trigger warnings; the people who invented the term “micro-aggressions” — are blind, insensitive, callous, and intellectually duplicitous in Omar’s series of triggers and micro-aggressions?
Oh, wait. I get it.
When it comes to the Jews, you don’t have to be sensitive.
Because, Israel. Because, Netanyahu.
Mark my words. Yesterday will have proven to be a very dark day in American Jewish history. It will come to remind us that we have no friends on the Left, and we have no friends on the Right.
The Left does not like our parochial concerns (and we are the only group in America forbidden to have such concerns).
The Right uses and weaponizes our parochial concerns. They don’t care all that much about antisemitism, either — but they are ready and willing to use that feigned concern as a blunt weapon to get more votes.
Like I said, yesterday was a very bad day.
Time for all of us to get woke.