Black Lives Matter, which is at once seen as deeply inspirational and necessary but also terribly misguided and threatening during these divisive times, isn’t just an extension of the Civil Rights movement. It fuels a larger goal, which is to help elevate humanity and reach higher moral ground. But sometimes noble messages are lost in the heat of battle.
Clearly, the only constructive way to racial equality is through peaceful means, which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently advocated more than half a century ago – not any means necessary, which Malcolm X infamously said before renouncing that approach.
To arrive at a point where everyone is truly judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin or other external factors, the path must be harmonious. There’s no room in this burgeoning movement for thugs who’d rather incite riots, loot and burn their own communities. They’re trampling on a just cause and widening the racial divide. In short, they’re part of the problem, not the solution.
What I’d also like to see from BLM is commitment to broadening the scope of its mission to be inclusive and tolerant of others whose plight may be similar. That means acknowledging everyone who has long suffered because of their race, skin color, religious faith, gender, age or sexual orientation. One recent case in point is that a spotlight is again shining on Native Americans over the names of sports teams that are deemed offensive. Whatever side you’re on, these are worthwhile discussions to have.
I say this not just as someone who has long believed that prejudice of any kind is corrosive and horrific, but also because I have a horse in this race. I’m a proud Jewish American whose ancestors have suffered enslavement, oppression and discrimination for millennia. Sadly, anti-Semitism rages on to this day as hate crimes against Jews rise to frightening levels around the world. The worst massacre on American soil of fellow members of my tribe was less than two years ago. Our faith and way of life continue to be attacked by those who are ignorant, envious or feel threatened.
Every Passover I’m reminded of our shared history with black Africans who were also long enslaved in their homeland or brought to the U.S. for the same insidious purpose, but like us, ultimately broke free and made incredible contributions to the world.
But I’m also disappointed that BLM has stayed from its vision to condemn Israel for what it deems to be oppressive acts against Palestinians and ignore atrocities across 194 other nations. While Israel’s government cannot lay claim to a pristine track record, it’s worth noting that critics of the Jewish State don’t acknowledge that it has been under attack by terrorist groups since its 1948 inception to fit their slanted narrative.
They also fail to recognize that it is an oasis of tolerance in one of the most intolerant parts of the world and the only democracy in the Middle East. Moreover, their collective eyes are closed to Israel’s impressive technical innovation, strides in biotechnology and other areas. BLM has caved to placate proponents of BDS, also known as Boycott Divest and Sanction, whose mission unfairly singles out Israel on the world stage while ignoring despotism and depravity in virtually every continent.
From my perspective, Jewish Lives Matter just as Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. I’m a defender of human rights and admirer of different cultures or backgrounds. I believe we should celebrate our differences and come together whenever possible. This ultimately is the best way to advance the agenda of all groups that have endured their share of discrimination and misery, as well as unite rather than divide the world. And until we come around to this thinking, we are doomed to repeat our failures.
Postscript: I'm doubling down on my points since former NBA star and George Floyd friend Stephen Jackson defended horrific anti-Semitic comments by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson within the context of BLM. Let's call out the ignorance and hypocrisy and hope these yahoos get re-educated. Outrageous! Peace 'n love...