Last week, 600 liberal Jewish organizations and synagogues signed onto a full-page ad in the New York Times supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The statement, published at Medium, declares: “The Black Lives Matter movement is the current day Civil Rights movement in this country” (original emphasis).
Astonishingly, the statement fails to acknowledge any of the antisemitism of Black Lives Matter protests (or riots), including vandalism of synagogues in Los Angeles and Kenosha.
Instead, the statement refers to the antisemitism of “politicians” who “target Jewish people and blame us for problems.” The names of these politicians are never given.
The statement goes on to explain: “Antisemitism is part of the same machinery those politicians use to blame Black and brown people, people who are immigrants, people who are Muslim, and more.”
It does not say what “those politicians” are blaming these people for, but equates criticism of these groups to criticism of Jews.
The most important point of the statement, one that is repeated several times, is the recognition that Black Lives Matter is a “Black-led movement.” It insists that the “recent uprisings across the globe” are “movements led by and for Black people” (original emphasis).
The statement does not explain why Jews have to acknowledge the legitimacy of black leadership, or why black leaders need a kosher seal of approval. But it warns against allowing “Black movements” to be “undermined.”
Jonathan S. Tobin, writing at the Jewish News Syndicate, suggests that the statement intends to delegitimize criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Indeed, the statement declares that “during the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, conspiracy theories were used by white supremacists attempting to delegitimize the extraordinary organizing of Black activists.” The message is that if you criticize Black Lives Matter, you are in the same category as white supremacists.
Coming from Jewish organizations and leaders, that message has a more specific meaning: it tells Jews that to criticize Black Lives Matter for antisemitism is to play into the hands of white supremacists.
That is why the statement says nothing, for example, about “Free Palestine” scrawled on the driveway of a Kenosha synagogue. The left-wing rabbi of that congregation tried to excuse the vandalism of her own synagogue by saying she was more concerned about “systemic racism” than graffiti.
That, in turn, excuses the antisemitism of the Black Lives Matter movement: if Jews will not defend their own synagogues, why should the black community care, either?
The 600 Jewish groups who signed this statement have opted for a superficial dialogue, one in which Jews must surrender the basic security of our communities and in which black leaders are presumed not to have any responsibility or capacity for moral self-reflection. It is a double standard that is, ironically, deeply racist.
Tobin points out another disturbing feature of the statement: it brings together mainstream Jewish institutions like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with radical fringe groups like “Anti-Zionist Shabbat” and Jewish Voice for Peace. The latter is so extreme that it applauded a convicted Palestinian terrorist at its 2017 conference.
The ADL even has an entire page devoted to Jewish Voice for Peace, noting that it promotes a “classic anti-Jewish stereotype of Jews” and “gives cover to anti-Semites.”
The same can now be said of ADL, which has made common cause with these left-wing extremists.
Jewish tradition teaches that every human being is created in the image of God. The Bible has no concept of race and barely mentions skin color.
The lives of black people matter — and so do the lives of Jews. The fact that these Jewish leaders could not bring themselves to offer even one word of criticism of Black Lives Matter’s antisemitism should discredit every one of the 600 signatories.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.