Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Scourges of Silence and "Similarly"

Silence is complicity. That was one of the messages of the Women's March. As Linda Sarsour wrote, "This movement isn't about making you comfortable. Your silence makes you complicit. Yes, YOU are part of the problem." 

This message was, however, betrayed by Sarsour and the other leaders of the Women's March. The notorious antisemite Louis Farakkhan, who has claimed that "the Jews were behind 9/11" and has called Hitler a “very great man,” spoke at a rally last week in which he declared that “the powerful Jews are my enemy” and that he had “pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through.” Present at the rally was Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, who got a shout-out from Farakkhan during his speech, and who happily reported the rally on social media.

Not surprisingly, Mallory was called out on her complicity in evil antisemitism. Instead of profusely apologizing and acknowledging that she had betrayed her platform, she complained that her critics are bullies, and stated that true leaders have the same enemies as Jesus - i.e. the Jews. Her partners in leading the Women's March, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, likewise failed to criticize either Farrakhan's speech or Mallory's complicity. Which is hardly surprising, in light of the fact that Sarsour and Perez themselves have a history of supporting Nation of Islam and Farakkhan. The Women's March leaders are perfectly happy to be silent, and thusby their own barometercomplicit, in vicious antisemitism.

Still, you'd hope that at least all Jewish leaders would condemn the Women's March leaders for this. So let's see what leading rabbi Sharon Brous, who herself took the stage at the Women's March in Washington DC, had to say about it. Here is the complete statement from her:
A few things we can learn from the explosive conversation erupting over Tamika D Mallory, the Women's March leadership, and Louis Farrakhan.
1. There is no room in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic coalitional movement for antisemitism, homophobia or transphobia. Full stop. You can’t fight racism but excuse antisemitism, just as you cannot fight antisemitism while excusing and justifying racism or Islamophobia. All racialized hatred grows from the same cancer: an unforgiving demonization of the “other” based on immutable characteristics or lineage. In a big tent movement there has to be room for disagreement, but certain core values must stand at the forefront: the inherent dignity of every person, and an unequivocal opposition to racism or bigotry of any form.
2. Our communities clearly continue to suffer from a profound lack of understanding of one another’s histories, pain, traumas. The reflex to publicly eviscerate, threaten or delegitimize someone who doesn’t say what we want to hear when we want to hear it only exacerbates the rift between us. Instead, we must commit to entering real relationship with one another. Over the last three days, Tamika D Mallory has been bombarded with vicious racist and misogynistic threats; her intelligence, her credibility, her very humanity have been assailed. None of this will make her, or anyone, more sympathetic to your perspective or your pain. It only reinforces that you don’t understand hers.
3. It’s important for us to understand that many racial justice activists feel an abiding allegiance to Louis Farrakhan who, for many years, has worked to build a sense of dignity and empowerment for black communities suffering from systemic racism. At the same time, he more than tarnished his righteous activism with egregious moral failings—including base hatred—toward other minority groups. For decades, he has spewed virulent antisemitic and homophobic vitriol at any audience that would listen. (My first encounter with his ideology was first year in college, when his spokesperson, Khalid Muhammad, lectured a packed auditorium that the Holocaust was an invention of Jewish Hollywood.)
The beauty of the Women's March has been the promise of a new generation taking the mantle of leadership, affirming that the greatest way to fight for our own safety and dignity is in partnership and sisterhood with others also concerned for their rights and freedoms. We all have elder statesmen who—while they have dedicated their lives to their own communities—are weighed down by hatred and bigotry toward others. I am well aware of the leaders in my own Jewish community who would today receive ovations for their advocacy on behalf of our people, but who are similarly fatally flawed by their own prejudices. We simply must reject that now. It’s time we lay to rest the toxic scripts of even those who mentored and inspired us, and model a new kind of leadership. This intersectional moment demands nothing less of us—in fact, that’s what’s feminist about this moment and this movement. We need to do better, and we can.
Incredible. Instead of condemning Mallory for her complicity in Farakkhan's hate, she condemns only those who have attacked Mallory for it. What happened to silence being complicity?

And when it comes to Farakkhan himself, while Brous condemns his egregious moral failings, she adds that there are leaders in the Jewish community who are "similarly fatally flawed by their own prejudices." Really??? Who on earth are they?! I cannot think of any Jewish leaders who are remotely on a par with Farrakhan's influence, hate and lies.

This is not the first time that Rabbi Brous has drawn moral parity where it is unjustified. During the Gaza War of 2013, in a letter to her community, she made sure to "balance" any expression of support for the Israeli civilians being targeted by missiles with an equivalent message of sympathy for the Palestinians of Gaza who had voted in Hamas, and included such choice expressions as "We are deeply entrenched in our narratives of good and evil, victim and perpetrator." As a result, Daniel Gordis - a former teacher of Brous - issued a scathing rebuke of her, in an article entitled "When Balance Becomes Betrayal," in which he called her out for failing to take sides on exactly who is good and evil in the battle between Hamas and Israel.

Then, a year later, Rabbi Brous wrote an article about the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. At the same time as exhibiting a stunningly callous disregard for the safety of her coreligionists, she said that if peace does not happen, then Israel and the Palestinians are equally responsible. I wrote a post in which I pointed out the sheer illogicality of insisting that both sides must share moral responsibility. Why must it be that Israel is also at fault? Is it not even theoretically possible that Israel is willing to offer all that it can safely offer, and yet the Palestinians are not satisfied with anything less than that which will enable them to destroy Israel- which indeed is supported by the evidence? Nor was it morally appropriate for her to approve of honoring the narratives" of "both Israelis and Palestinians." After all, the Palestinian narrative is that there was never any Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. Is this not false and dangerous? Why should it be honored?

Rabbi Brous, at the Women's March, you gave an impassioned speech about the importance of holy outrage and the need to protest against evil and hate. Why can't you protest the evils of Hamas, Fatah and antisemitism, without having to draw false moral equivalence with the actions of Israel or of Jewish leaders? Why can't you protest against those leaders of the Women's March who are silent and complicit in vicious antisemitism? Where is your holy outrage?

49 comments:

  1. Reminders are always useful, but still, this is all dog-bites-man stuff for most people (who probably didn't even know and don't care that there was a "woman's march" to begin with.) The left is nothing more than gross hypocrisy, jealousy, and hatred; intelligent people already know this. That's why their base consists primarily on the very old, the very young, and the very uneducated. It's also whey they're so anti-Semitic. The secular Jews who still cling to them do so not out of love, but because of their hatred to Christianity and just general ignorance of how the world has changed in the past 40 years. Things are changing, but it takes time.

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    1. "The left is nothing more than gross hypocrisy, jealousy, and hatred." Set aside whether you agree with any of their positions is it really true that they are NOTHING more than that? There can be NO good-faith reasons for opposing guns or wanting a safety net for the poor (to give two examples of prime policies of "the Left")? You can disagree very strongly with their position without absurdly alleging that "the Left" is "nothing more than gross hypocrisy etc." That is far from a serious position. You seem to take yourself pretty seriously but I don't see why others (who aren't talk radio hosts) would do the same.

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    2. Their is not much use in arguing here. DF is living in a bubble. For example, in the bubble: "their base consists primarily on the very old, the very young, and the very uneducated."

      The reality:

      In the 2016 election, a wide gap in presidential preferences emerged between those with and without a college degree. College graduates backed Clinton by a 9-point margin (52%-43%), while those without a college degree backed Trump 52%-44%. This is by far the widest gap in support among college graduates and non-college graduates in exit polls dating back to 1980. For example, in 2012, there was hardly any difference between the two groups: College graduates backed Obama over Romney by 50%-48%, and those without a college degree also supported Obama 51%-47%.

      Among whites, Trump won an overwhelming share of those without a college degree; and among white college graduates – a group that many identified as key for a potential Clinton victory – Trump outperformed Clinton by a narrow 4-point margin.

      Trump’s margin among whites without a college degree is the largest among any candidate in exit polls since 1980. Two-thirds (67%) of non-college whites backed Trump, compared with just 28% who supported Clinton, resulting in a 39-point advantage for Trump among this group. In 2012 and 2008, non-college whites also preferred the Republican over the Democratic candidate but by less one-sided margins (61%-36% and 58%-40%, respectively).


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    3. Shlomo - safety nets for the poor ceased to be a concern of the left a long time ago.

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    4. i assume that DF would consider college graduates less educated, as they generally have undergone heavy brainwashing, and in addition tend to have less worldly experiance than those who lack a college degree.

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    5. Further reality: Obama lost the male white vote in his day.

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  2. Her Wikipedia article says she was ordained by JTS which would make here a Conservative rabbi.

    Simply calling Farrakhan a "notorious antiSemite" does not adequately describe the depths of evil and hatred in the man. He is a black David Duke.

    I left a lot of negative comments in the comment thread of her FB post. I consider them to be an expression of holy outrage.

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    1. ...she was ordained by JTS which would make here a Conservative rabbi
      I would not refer to her as a rabbi either way.

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    2. "Black David Duke" with the benefits of his religious position. And David Duke is not a charismatic figure (at least not at all comparable to Farrakhan.

      Conservative and reform rabbinate is interchangeable. One can be ordained by one and practice in the other. (Then again, one can be ordained orthodox, and practice R or C.)

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  3. It's because they are all PROGRESSIVES. Full stop. Progressive value come first.

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    1. Wrong. Homophobia, sexism, racism and anti-Semitism are not progressive values, and Farrakhan is a symbol of all of them.

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    2. Progress is in the eye of the beholder. To Farrakhan, a Judenrein world would be progress.

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    3. No, but you can look away Charlie if your bigger enemy is the white male and egalitarianism is the pot of gold.

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    4. @Charlie Hall: No true Scotsman. She has a problem condemning Farrakhan because he is an ally to many of her progressive allies. Similar to Trump supporters on his various bad behaviors vs. how they dealt with Bill Clinton.

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  4. Huh. So complicity with evil is okay. Well, alright then. If those are the rules, we can play by them. As has been said, the left might find it does like it's own rules.

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  5. DF, Holy and Bawl,

    Thank you all so much for your comments that make clear your contempt for all of us on the Left. No irony at all thwre, given that Rabbi Slifkin's post was about exposing the hatred in the hearts of those who claim the moral high ground.

    True, the Left has some problems, particularly the further to the extremes that you go. As does the Right. Or did you forget that?

    But what really irks me is your attitude towards the Left as a whole. Left wing viewpoints are informed mainly by the moral stance that one should care for others as well as for oneself. Sometimes that view is taken too far, for example, when the extreme Jewish Left cares more for Palestinians than for Jews. But basic moderate Left wing Jews are not ignorant, jealous or hypocritical, DF. (And by the way, it's not nice to call half of Israeli Jews names... some of them know quite a lot about politics, sociology and local current affairs). The moderate Left says, essentially, we must take care of our own needs without hurting others and even helping them if possible. It's the basic Liberal stance.

    The Right wing, on the other hand, is informed by the viewpoint that peoppe should take care of themselves, their kin and then their group and that will make the world a better place. It lies behind American Puritan work ethics, Thatcher's conservatism in the UK and behind Charedi ideas about improving one's relationship with Hashem and the Dati Leumi Jews need to have all of the Land of Israel regardless of who else might be living there at the moment.
    Extreme Right wing views create racism and hatred for the other whereas moderate Right wing views do allow, obviously, for caring for others, but just not as a priority, more as an afterthought. For example Yair Lapid ' call for a divorce from the Palestinians is not based on recognizing any rights they might have to self-determination, but rather based on his view of what is in Israeli interests alone.

    And that creates a healthy friction between moderate Right and moderate Left.

    But just casting around hatred to those you disagree with is a poor show and probably tells the rest of us more about the writers of those comments than it does about 'what the Left really is'.

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    1. "Left wing Jews are not ignorant, jealous or hypocritical, DF. (And by the way, it's not nice to call half of Israeli Jews names."

      We can agree to disagree on the first sentence. On the second, half of Israel is left wing?? The left has been out of power for twenty-two (22) years and counting. Their ideas are discredited failures (sadly, at the cost of human lives.) Israel is right wing, my friend, the only question is to what degree.

      Even in the USA, the majority of statehouses have been Republican for a long time now, and the federal govt is also controlled by the GOP. When you consider that many D voters are not personally liberal, but just vote that way for the government handouts, you can see just how few liberals are left. Like Israel, the US is now reaping the bitter fruit of what liberalism has done to religion and the family, and by and large it doesn't like it. Sure, it takes time, but read the tea leaves. The gig is up.

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    2. Thanks for proving my point again.

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    3. Extreme Right wing views create racism and hatred for the other whereas moderate Right wing views do allow, obviously, for caring for others, but just not as a priority, more as an afterthought.


      This is silly and displays complete ignorance of what real conservatives believe, as does your line about only "taking care of their group". The central conservative position is that government must be limited or it invariably leads to tyranny, sometimes 'soft', more often very 'hard'. Of course there are other values and institutions which are necessary for a healthy functioning society, in particular religious belief and practice which are supposed to produce concern for others, not just ones 'kin' or 'group'.

      In addition, lumping Fascists and Nazis together with the genuine freedom-loving Right is nothing but a leftist manipulative ploy that has no relation to reality. In actual fact, these groups were the same statist collectivists as the Left, with some nationalist attitudes added.

      This needs to be repeated endlessly every time this empty meme comes up.

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    4. To just sum up my point in a sentence, caring is not an "afterthought", it's just not the business of a properly limited government.

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    5. Small government / freedom loving = 'I take care of me, you take care of you.' It's the same fundamental ideology. (And may actually be 'midas s'dom...)

      I didn't lump right wingers with nazis. I said the extreme right creates hatred. And it does.


      There's a reason American orthodox jewry feels comfortable with conservatives. Both are organized around 'us-them' ideologies, which is why they have a hard time 'loving the other'. It was very sad to see the recent articles in hakirah where American orthodoxy leapt joyfully onto the arms of the right and away from the left. So much for caring for others. You are right. Religious belief is supposed to temper exactly that sort of thing, so recent developments in American jewish orthodoxy must really be seen as a systemic fail.

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    6. Freedom loving right / small government = I take care of me, you take care of you. It's the same fundamental right wing ideology.

      I didn't lump nazis with the right. I said the extreme right creates hatred. And it does.

      Religious belief is indeed supposed to temper ones selfishness. Which is why it all the more sad to see the orthodox jewish right in America bound so joyfully into the arms of conservatism. As was seen in the latest issue of hakirah.
      But there's a reason that happens
      Both American orthodoxy and American conservatism are bodies that are organized around an 'us versus them' attitude. Neither of them love the other. Both of them love their own. A Very sad evolution.

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    7. In addition, lumping Fascists and Nazis together with the genuine freedom-loving Right is nothing but a leftist manipulative ploy that has no relation to reality. In actual fact, these groups were the same statist collectivists as the Left, with some nationalist attitudes added.

      Lots of "no true Scotsman" here. In the 1940 election, the Republican candidate campaigned on non-intervention in WWII to court his conservative base. More recently, Pat Buchanan has written that WWII was unnecessary.

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    8. "Even in the USA, the majority of statehouses have been Republican for a long time now, and the federal govt is also controlled by the GOP. When you consider that many D voters are not personally liberal, but just vote that way for the government handouts, you can see just how few liberals are left."

      So I guess when the Democrats take the House (and maybe the Senate) back in this mid-term you will change parties?

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    9. fsy

      "To just sum up my point in a sentence, caring is not an "afterthought", it's just not the business of a properly limited government."

      You missed off a few key words. Your comment should have ended 'according to right-wing people.'

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    10. And you can watch this for the left wing view...
      https://youtu.be/XyygC0VN9vU

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    11. Fozziebear:

      Yes, this is the opinion of "right-wing", i.e. normal sane people, and only "left-wingers", i.e. fools think that this time a government takeover of "kindness" will bring something different than bloody dictatorship, as it did in the French Revolution and every time since then.

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    12. I really thought 5 would have had to push harder to bring out the hater in you. Guess not.

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    13. Lots of "no true Scotsman" here.

      Actually, the "True Scotsman" fallacy is completely irrelevant to what I wrote, as you would realize if you were interested in being intellectually honest rather than just throwing insults at anyone who disagrees with you.

      The problem with the "True Scotsman" fallacy is that it deceptively changes a factual claim about a certain ethnic group ("No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge") into an empty tautology about "True Scotsmen" where part of the definition of a "True Scotsman" is not putting sugar on porridge.

      What I wrote about the beliefs of "true conservatives" has nothing in common with this, since being a conservative is something defined only by beliefs, not by living in Edinburgh or being named MacDonald as in the case of Scotsman. I'll admit that it would have been clearer if I had written "ignorance of real conservative belief" but I think any normal reader understands that to be the meaning.

      The one who is really being disingenuous here is "Fozziebear" in his ploy to grab and hold the moral high ground by caricaturing all views other than his own statist ones as being uncaring, and that is what I was responding to by trying to present genuine conservative ideas. (BTW, I loath the term 'conservative' since it is a label used mainly by self-styled 'progressives' to portray anyone who disagrees with them as being old-fashioned and out of date. "Freedom-loving" or the original "liberal" which was long ago stolen by the left are far more accurate.)

      I also find it interesting that daring to point out the oceans of blood spilled by the utopian madmen of the left makes me into a 'hater'.

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  6. I think your reading comprehension is lacking a bit. The entire first paragraph is an attack on the positions of Farakhan, stating that they have no place in polite society. The second paragraph is not a condemnation of those who criticized Mallory, but stating that the personal aspect of those attacks makes them unlikely to have an impact. And third, ever hear of Meir Kahana?

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    1. Rabbi Meir Kahana was:
      1. an individual, a rare one at that, almost unique
      2. roundly condemned by the gamut of Jewish leadership
      3. an expositor of views more pragmatic/strategic than Farrakhan, who is just pure racist.

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  7. You didn't expect any better did you, these people are not rational.

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  8. What is the commonality of the likes of Louis Farakkhan, Mallory, fundamentalists etc: Ignorance, dishonesty, Intellectual Dishonesty, and poor critical thinking skills. They usually also suffer from a psychosis that compromises their ability to engage in rational thought on various issues. Rabbi Slifkin thanks for revealing this information. ACJA

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  9. Much of the progressive playbook on egalitarianism comes from the perceived history of race relations in the United States, and the civil rights movement in particular. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that this history is more complicated and multifaceted than a simple moral fairytale, it is also "similarly" specious to extend it as a model or lens through which nearly any conflict can be judged, no matter how far. The analogy falls apart already when applied to gays, and all the more so for overseas ethic and religious conflicts. The Palestinians are not wide-eyed starving Walter Keane kids or bullied Ruby Bridges walking to school, who only need to be protected and cherished and have the shackles taken off for them to thrive. This is a mythical fantasy world that has everything to do with psychodynamics and nothing to do with geopolitics or policy. And furthermore it has little to do with history, because as we should know, some of the most ardent and fantastical crusaders for black rights in America (from the pre civil war era all the way through to today) have had very negative impact on the history of black communities-- precisely because they are less concerned with real life and real change than they are with the mythical narrative in their heads.

    Anti-semitism is always an interesting test case. One wonders if G-d intended it to be so.

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    1. @Yonah are you suggesting that antisemitism requires or suggests a supernatural involvement ? There are a myriad of different explanations for antisemitism and I do not think there is one single reason. There have been periods in some countries that where not antisemitic. Recently saw the film NORMAN. THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER . It was inspired by something called the 'court Jew' which gave rise to plenty of antisemitism in Christian European countries and still inspires plenty of it.

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    2. Certainly not. It's just interesting that people's internal presentations and mythologies and pathologies are often expressed or exposed precisely through a form of anti-semitism, like some sort of X-Ray.

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  10. she adds that there are leaders in the Jewish community who are "similarly fatally flawed by their own prejudices." Really??? Who on earth are they?!

    How about very large numbers of Orthodox Rabbis and their laypersons?

    How about this from Rav Ovadiah Yosef on Katrina:

    “There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study… Black people reside there [New Orleans]. Blacks will study the Torah? [God said] let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.”

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  11. Much of the progressive playbook on egalitarianism comes from the perceived history of race relations in the United States, and the civil rights movement in particular.

    Yes, slavery and Jim Crow were merely perceived to be issues. Better public relations could have solved that. If only Trump were in charge at the time.

    Great job making more Blacks into antisemites.

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    1. David, why would you interpret what I wrote in that way? By saying "perceived" of course I did not mean to deny that there is a history. I meant to point out that a particular perception of that history leads to its universalization in contexts that are totally dissimilar.
      Usually you are a voice of reason and civility on here...

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    2. I apologize if my tone is too harsh, but you seem to be minimizing slavery and Jim Crow and blaming it on Blacks. For example:

      "Leaving aside for a moment the fact that this history is more complicated and multifaceted than a simple moral fairytale"

      It is not a moral fairy-tale to say that Blacks were treated horrifically in the US.

      "And furthermore it has little to do with history, because as we should know, some of the most ardent and fantastical crusaders for black rights in America (from the pre civil war era all the way through to today) have had very negative impact on the history of black communities-- precisely because they are less concerned with real life and real change than they are with the mythical narrative in their heads."

      Slavery and Jim Crow were not a mythical narrative and not the fault of Blacks in the US nor their leaders.

      This sounds like it comes out a White Nationalist history of the US.

      Gays were also very poorly treated.





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    3. After the fall of Jim Crow, blacks are more likely to be murdered, to be in prison, to grow up without a father, to grow up without a mother, to be on drugs, to be unemployed or to be a victim of violent crime and black culture has degenerated from the modest achievements of jazz and the Harlem Renaissance to the sub-savage level of 'hip hop'. There's also the tiny issue of the horrifying wave of rape and murder than the civil rights movement unleashed on white America causing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving entire once prosperous cities as burnt out wrecks. However, since we've long ago established that you don't view White Americans as real human beings with legitimate rights to self-preservation we can leave them out and just focus on Blacks. With the exception of a small black elite who gained the right to abandon their brothers to chaos and get lucrative corporate or academic sinecures, you're still wrong.

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    4. That's not at all what I was saying, and I'm concerned that your normally sharp mind is jumping into a mythical narrative of your own--at my expense. The history of race relations in the United States is not a simple moral fairytale. This does not mean that there are not "horrific" things in the story, or that I am "minimizing slavery and Jim Crow and blaming it on Blacks". The complexity of every piece of history is precisely what keeps us responsible in applying its lessons. Though it may seem that blacks and Palestinians are "similarly" oppressed minorities, there are hundreds of pratim that would belie this comparison. Some of these pratim are in the story of race relations in this country, as it is told in a way that makes it a universalizable cause celebre in the world.
      And when did I say that gays were not poorly treated? My only remark on that front was that the context of gay rights in this country and abroad is not the same as the context of race relations in this country, though the frame for analysis and emotional response is often carried over wholesale.

      Just because a person feels more guilt or shame or empathy with a particular oppressed historical group (whether blacks or Jews etc) doesn't give them any justification in becoming an imperialistic crusader who stamps this mythical brand on every situation near and far to make it recognizable for their easy moral judgement. And the same applies to you, David -- with all due respect.

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  12. The correct counter-argument is Ein Hachi Nami. Farrakhan is awful in some ways and he needs to be shamed for those views no matter what other good he does. Some of our Jewish leaders are awful in some ways and they need to be shamed for those views no matter what other good they do.

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  13. One other thing I'll point out is the persecution in our history gives us a lot of anti-Gentile views. If you think that is understandable, then you can also understand why some Blacks may have anti-White views. That doesn't explain or justify the bizarre antisemitic aspect for which they should be shamed.

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  14. Women: The only powerful majority which is always demanding the rights of a persecuted minority.

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  15. This is what the Democratic party has become.

    Btw, sarsour the pig was also silent when her friend was accused of sexual assault, because the man is her friend she defended him. So they are also hypocrites in addition to everything else.

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  16. And the Jewish view is expressed in sentiments such as
    כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה
    Or

    שלי שלך ושלך שלך זו צדיק
    שלי שלי ושלך שלך זן מידת סדום

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    1. You keep making it clear that you don't know how to read (either comments here or Chazal's ideas.) It's a waste of time to talk to you.

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  17. I apologize if I offended you by demonstrating repeatedly that what you and Judaism hold dear are not identical.

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