We are living in very strange and difficult times. People are divided on everything… arguing about everything. We are even fighting amongst ourselves, which means the divisiveness is actually dividing us, actually creating major rifts, actually breaking relationships, among friends, but even more sadly within families.
I myself have had to “unfriend” some people on Facebook or create a list of friends I did not want seeing certain posts. The vitriol is too much. Life is too short, especially for nonsense. I am always open for educated, thoughtful, articulate and well meaning debate. I think it moves us forward and exposes us to other ideas and thoughts. It is, in fact, essential. Good, healthy debate is, well, healthy. Hate and ignorance is not. It is dangerous. And thus, here we are.
Black lives matter. Of course they do. And after the George Floyd murder and other racially charged incidents, this should be said without issue or concern. Black lives matter, and deaths at the hands of police need to be looked at and studied. I have heard too often from friends about being pulled over for “Driving while black.” Or being stared at in certain establishments. Or being treated differently solely because of the color of their skin.
And while I cannot say this has happened to me, I can say that I have experienced hate and anti-Semitism. Jews were also slaves. Jews have also been persecuted and killed and abused, solely for their beliefs. We get it. Remember it was Rabbis and Jews joining Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arm in arm and marching on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement. But that was then it seems. As with many things, the pendulum has shifted way too much.So what happens when we want to say black lives matter, but Black Lives Matter says bad things about us??? The organization itself has some serious issues with anti-Semitism and being anti-Israel. Why this even needs to be in their official statements and platforms, I am not quite sure, but there it is. I have had several Jewish people, including a Rabbi, say that now is not the time to discuss this… that we must simply support black lives. Really? Not the time??? But if not now, when???
Ice Cube. DeSean Jackson. Stephen Jackson. Nick Cannon. All highly visible. All highly watched. And all making horrible anti-Semitic statements. And the response??? A whole lot of crickets. If you don’t say black lives matter in the exact right way, you are called a racist. If you do not support the group you are called a racist. People scream at you in horror and shock, but if you hate on Jews, it’s all part of okay.
People are fired over tweets, and yet when those tweets are anti-Semitic, a cheek is turned, a wrist is slapped and the world goes on. The great Julian Edelman (and yes, I am soooo NOT a Patriots fan) posts and tweets and he is attacked for being Jewish. Crickets.
Hate is hate, my friends. And if you are trying to call out hate and injustice, it is disingenuous and dangerous to use your megaphone and platform to then do the exact same thing and hate, and to deal in the worst and most despicable stereotypes.
Nick Cannon got fired from his CBS show, but not his Fox show. DeSean Jackson got fined, but not fired. And then his teammates and guys like Stephen Jackson started supporting him. Chelsea Handler, who is Jewish, retweeted Louis Farrakhan. Yes, Chelsea, he may have said some good things supporting blacks and what is going on, but he is also one of the most racist, hateful, evil and anti-Semitic individuals to ever walk this earth. He does not deserve a tweet or a retweet. He does not deserve time, not one second.
Thankfully, there are some who see it and are not afraid to call it out. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called it out, and then Ice Cube doubled down on his anti-Semitic hate with more stereotypes, claiming Jabar was paid in “30 pieces of silver.” This is not a good man. This is a dangerous and ignorant man, pretending to be a voice of truth and reason, but is nothing more than a voice of hate and misguided stereotypes. He says he is against hate, and then hates even more.
Julian Edelman is reaching out to DeSean Jackson, wanting to have the “difficult conversations.” And they need to be had, now more than ever!!! But a discussion is open and revealing, and it needs to be had with two people speaking, and more importantly, two people listening with truly open ears and minds and hearts. Sadly, this needs to be us… all of us. And why it is not is deeply troubling. Two things can actually happen at once, my friends. We can support black lives, and stand up against Black Lives Matter when they cross the line. And we can support black lives AND support Jewish lives. And yes, we can hope they say and do the same.
Torah and Judaism teaches us silent is not an option. It teaches us to act and hate against hate and evil and those who are wicked.
“O Lord, You know I hate those who hate You, and loathe Your adversaries.” (Psalm 139:21)
Torah and Judaism teaches us we cannot hate others. In Pirkei Avos, Chapter 2:16 Rebbe Yehoshua says: “Ayin harah” (evil eye), “yetzer harah” (evil inclination), and “sinath habrioth” (hatred of people) remove a person from the world.”
Hillel teaches us: “What is hateful to you, do not do to others.” In fact, he says this is the entirety of the Torah.
We can and must take on those hateful, anti-Semites (Anti-Semitism is hate and wicked), and we can speak against hate, without bringing up more hate. But it takes calling it out, it takes open debate, it takes difficult conversations, and most importantly, it takes knowledge and wisdom and the truth, for the truth really matters… true lives matter… it all matters.