In our July 8 issue Myron Love wrote an op-ed piece titled "American Reform movement endorses anti-Semitic organization". That article elicited a strong reaction from reader David Weller. In the interest of presenting as many sides to an issue as possible, we present here both Myron's piece and David's response:
American Reform movement endorses anti-Semitic organization
By MYRON LOVE
Last Wednesday, participants at a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C., were heard chanting “Jews kill children, too”.
The evening of Sunday, May 30 - Shavuot – Israeli-American journalist Caroline Glick points out, members of Black Lives Matter (BLM) carried out a pogrom in Fairfax, the oldest Jewish community in Los Angeles, largely populated today by ultra-Orthodox Jews. They vandalized five synagogues and three Jewish schools. Most of the Jewish businesses on Fairfax Avenue were looted.
Joseph Klein, writing for a website called Front Page Magazine on June 26, added that the Baba Sale Congregation on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles and other synagogues were spray painted with the letters “BLM”. Congregation Beth Israel was vandalized with graffiti stating “free Palestine” and “f— Israel.”
Glick, writing for the Jewish News Service on June 28, also reports that over the past several years, both Melina Abdullah, the head of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter, and her daughter, Thandiwe Abdullah, who is the co-founder of the BLM Youth Vanguard, have racked up long records of anti-Semitic rants and fawning praise for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan, who has praised Hitler, recently called Jews “termites” and obsessively rails against Judaism and Jews.
Writer Clare Lopez, also in a report for Front Page Magazine, notes that the original BLM platform “explicitly supports the BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement “ and “BLM representatives have traveled to the Middle East to make common cause with Palestinians in Gaza, Judea and Samaria”.
Again, per Glick, the BLM charter itself is structurally anti-Semitic. While accusing Israel of committing “genocide,” she writes, BLM blames Israel for the U.S. war against militant Islam. Its charter states “The U.S. justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.”
“According to the BLM charter,” she continues, “U.S. military aid to Israel is the foundation of America’s problems. Because of U.S. military aid to Israel, BLM alleges, “Every year billions of dollars are funneled from U.S. taxpayers to hundreds of arms corporations, who then wage lobbying campaigns pushing for even more foreign military aid. The results of this policy are twofold: it not only diverts much needed funding from domestic education and social programs, but it makes U.S. citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government.
“So for BLM, anti-Semitism isn’t a bug,” she concludes. “It is a feature. Hatred of Israel and the Jews is part of its DNA. BLM considers Jews oppressors, not victims. So attacking them is not an act of bigotry. Jews—particularly Israeli Jews, Zionist Jews and Jews who dress in ways that identify them as Jews—are fair game. After all, if Zionism is Nazism and apartheid, then Israelis, Zionist Jews and “Jewy” Jews are racists.”
Nonetheless, as all three writers note, American Jewish organizations are tripping over each other to show their support for BLM. Klein writes that the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) issued a statement on June 12th declaring that “Black Lives Matter is a Jewish Value”.
Since when is supporting blatant anti-Semitism “a Jewish value”?
Klein suggests that progressive Jews, in particular, “wracked by guilt over their white privileged status, have their eyes shut. They are willing to excuse whatever “violence” and “pain” Black Lives Matter decides to commit as revenge against “white affluence.”
He cites one Yonatan Reches, a writer for Jewish Journal and member of the progressive Jewish IKAR Community, who rationalized the attacks on Los Angeles synagogues, by stating that “the safety of our houses of worship is entirely connected with the alignment of our community on the right side of this issue and of history.”
In other words, Klein notes, the Jewish community must align itself with BLM’s notion of the “right side of history” or face the destruction of Jewish places of worship and businesses reminiscent of Kristallnacht.
He points to a New York-based leftwing group called “Jews for Racial Justice and Economic Justice - an eager supporter of Black Lives Matter’s agenda” – which has taken its support for Black Lives Matter to such an extreme level that it collaborated with other activists to create a Haggadah supplement for Passover dedicated to Black Lives Matter. This supplement includes a reworked version of the traditional Passover song Dayenu that includes the following line: “If we had learned and chanted the words from Assata Shakur and not protested violence by militarized police — Lo Dayenu (Assata Shakur, Klein explains, is a former member of the Black Liberation Army, who was convicted of being an accomplice in the first-degree murder of a State Trooper during a shootout in New Jersey.)
Glick further points out that of late, a group of far-left Jewish groups published an open letter to the community demanding that American Jews pledge allegiance to a “new covenant” based on seven new principles. The first principle: “Explicit endorsement that Black Lives Matter. Recognizing that Black Lives Matter is a statement that is inherently true and should be accepted without caveat or qualification.”
“The other six principles are extrapolations and expansions of the first,” she writes.
“So not only is the community not dealing with BLM’s structural anti-Semitism, radical groups now demand that the rest of the community make supporting these anti-Semites and embracing their anti-Semitic cause the first principle of a “new covenant for American Jewry.”
So far, she adds, Hillel International, the Reconstructionist movement and the San Francisco Jewish Federation among others have written letters of support for the “new covenant.”
So why are American Jews refusing to stand up for themselves? Glick asks. One reason she suggests is that “while some of them may actually sympathize with the people who destroyed their income source, no doubt many are too terrified to criticize them. And in the current atmosphere of mob rule, where the police charged with defending them are themselves under attack, caution may be the better part of valor”.
She further suggests that as most American Jews are Democrats and most Democrats get their news from the very news organizations that, as members of the identity-politics-dominated left, are not reporting what is happening.
“Large organizations and liberal synagogues are openly supporting BLM,” she writes. “How are average Jewish Democrats supposed to know what is happening?”
She concludes by quoting the Wall Street Journal which called on members of the political left “to wake up and oppose the thought policemen of identity politics”.
“Sadly,” she writes, “it appears that the Jewish victims of those policemen will be the last to hear or heed the call.”
Here is the letter from David Weller taking issue with Myron's piece:
Myron Love was wrong
Your columnist Myron Love makes false claims about the Black Lives Matter protests. In the June 24, 2020, and July 8, 2020 editions he contends that Black Lives Matter protesters incited a pogrom in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. Many Jewish Los Angeles residents have discredited this report as fake news and had called for solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters. Also the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the Anti-Defamation League both insist the Jewish community has NOT been targeted by protesters or by looters. They insist that “fake news and social media exaggerate the L.A. protest.” While there was graffiti it was not seen as serious by mainstream L.A. Jewish organizations.
Another claim Mr. Love makes is about anti-Semitic remarks made at a Washington D.C. rally such as “Jews kill children too”. This “report” came from the discredited website World Net Daily (WND). The WND is a notorious right-wing conspiracy website that has a history of lies and deceit.
As for the contention that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is “structurally anti-Semitic” there is no evidence on the BLM website that there is anti-Semitism as part of their program. In fact Mr. Love is vilifying criticism of Israel by Jewish groups that support BLM. Pointing out that crimes against humanity such as the Apartheid wall, Jews only roads, rampant house demolitions and the illegal seizure of Palestinian land doesn’t constitute anti-Semitism. The Jewish organizations who support BLM are examples of the anti-Racist tradition that Jews have historically supported.
In addition Mr. Love sees the inclusion of support for BLM in Passover materials as somehow diminishing the holiday. Passover is about the freedom from oppression and slavery for all peoples, not just for Jews, so a Hagaddah making the connection with the oppression suffered by BLM is completely appropriate.
Mr. Love has shown himself to be an apologist for racists in dismissing the Nazi “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. He contended the Nazis were not so bad, while our real concern should be with Black and Muslim people. In the latest edition of the JP&N, he’s promoting false claims and racist theories in two successive papers.
Why is your paper allowing staff to publish false news that incites hatred towards Black and Brown communities who are already the victims of state violence and historical racism?
Mr. Love has proven to be a commentator who promotes lies and racism over facts. Silence in the face of racism is compliance in racism. By publishing commentaries that scapegoat Black Lives Matter as anti-Semitic, you are complicit in the silencing of black people’s voices.
I submit that these lies need to be withdrawn from your paper, and an apology be made to your readers and the Black Lives Matter movement.