Rabbi Spero: Leaders are Silent on Antisemitism, Violence of Black Lives Matter Protests

Black Lives Matter riot Fairfax LA (Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty)
Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty

The world has witnessed destruction and violently intense hatred on America’s streets these past ten days that normally would be harshly and roundly condemned by political office holders and civic leaders.

Instead, what has been unfolding in Minneapolis, New York City, Chicago, D.C., Portland, and elsewhere has not only received little criticism by politicians and the media, but also has been given a tacit legitimacy. In fact, those who condemn the widespread violence are being disingenuously portrayed as indifferent to the murder of George Floyd.

The fact is that multitudes of Americans are being asked to sacrifice their safety in behalf of a cause that the ruling class and media have deemed more important than anything else. It seems that for most establishment religious, political, and cultural organizations, supporting the Black Lives Matter protests is more important than the survival and dignity of American institutions and individuals.

One would think that a people and nation with a millennia-old heritage such as ours, based on the Judeo-Christian ethos, would certainly have more confidence in its probity and ethical understanding to withstand the pressure and bullying of the moment. But too many are allowing Black Lives Matter, Al Sharpton, MoveOn.org, Antifa, and others to determine what morality is and to delegitimize the morality and justice of anything beyond their extreme agenda.

In my own Jewish community, for example, major Jewish organizations have been uncharacteristically silent regarding the wanton destruction by rioters in Los Angeles of Jewish synagogues, institutions, and shops in the historic and significant Jewish neighborhood along Fairfax Ave. It has been well-documented for years that Black Lives Matter is an abhorrently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organization. So why the silence?

The protesters, and most Democrat and establishment leaders, wrongly claim that support for George Floyd requires that injustices being perpetrated now by the rioters be overlooked. In truth, such selectivity implies indifference to the suffering of those who are not lumped under today’s inter-sectional “victimhood” association.

Our country’s elitists are ganging up on the president or anyone who speaks of the need to protect private property, condemn looting, and halt the criminal wilding happening before our eyes. Their selective indignation indicates not a quest for justice but a desire for revenge, atonement for perceived sins, and indifference to the suffering of America’s law-abiding citizens.

People seeking truth as opposed to cowardly virtue signaling should profoundly disagree with the assertion being made by smug elitists and opportunists that America is a country filled with systemic and institutional racism. Their assertion is wrong.

While, yes, there is racism in America and other parts of the world by individuals, those who mingle and live among the American people know that in today’s America, racism is widely condemned and opposed, and is not systemic or institutional. Not one person I know revels in racism, and virtually every American was shocked and revolted by what was done to George Floyd.

Equally alarming, these never-ending false pronouncements about systemic racism are not engendering understanding and harmony, but rather fanning the flames of division and rioting at a time when we need unity. These pious demagogues are guilty of the very thing they accuse other Americans of doing. History has shown that words lead to actions; verbal demonization leads eventually to physical attacks.

The last decade of mislabeling patriotic Americans as white supremacists is leading now to destruction of property and worse. Even worse than the rioting are the falsehoods about America and its people being entrenched into our national consciousness.

I call on leaders, both religious and secular, to proclaim now, before it is too late that:Justice must be justice for all.” Justice is not limited to one area or one group only. It must include justice for shop owners and innocent bystanders. Rule of law must mean equal justice under the law for all, even non-boisterous citizens.

We cannot throw out centuries of Western Civilization’s civic paradigms because of guilt, appeasement, or a need constantly to display our “woke-ness.”

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is spokesman for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, president of Caucus For America, author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, and also Why Israel Matters to You.

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