In the wake of nationwide protests following the May 25th police killing of a Black man – George Floyd – in Minneapolis, Jewish businesses, synagogues and schools in the Fairfax section of Los Angeles were vandalized and looted.
The rioters, including members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, screamed, "effing Jews" as they destroyed property and defaced houses of worship with graffiti that read, "Free Palestine," "f*** Israel," and "kill the Jews." Anti-Semitic slurs were smeared onto the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis.
Syd's Pharmacy, a fixture in this historic Jewish heart of LA, was one of the businesses pillaged. Owner Jonathan Friedman stood across the street and watched helplessly as the mob smashed his windows, ripped apart the store interior and stole drugs. "I've been broken into before, but to watch people viciously destroy your store for no reason is a whole different ballgame," he commented. "We had no part in this," he added in frustration.
Friedman had cause to be disheartened. Jewish Americans have always championed Black civil rights. They were allies with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he had significant other white support. A few lost their lives in the civil rights protests of the 1960s. The American Jewish community has continued to advocate against racism of any kind, including unequivocally condemning Floyd's murder.
How does a group protesting Floyd's death morph into these targeted acts of Jew-hatred?
The anti-Semitic attacks in Fairfax and elsewhere are the result of the political alliance between the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) and the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). Both groups brand Israel as a racist nation. They make common cause in their hatred of the Jewish collective – Israel – and the American Jewish community, which they smear as enablers of bigotry.
As intersectional compatriots, both BLM and BDS believe that their mutual goals are irreconcilable with Zionism. It's a diabolical witch's brew.
Founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin's death, Black Lives Matter gained prominence and resonance the following year during the nationwide protests that followed Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri. Signs reading, "From Ferguson to Palestine, End Racism Now" appeared at protests, providing a conceptual linkage between African Americans and Palestinians.
BDS activists shrewdly grafted their cause onto the BLM movement, with protestors fallaciously claiming that the Israeli military trained the Ferguson police department in brutal police methods subsequently used against Black Americans.
In 2016, BLM published a platform exposing the movement's anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias. It has since been removed from its website. It accused Israel of being an "apartheid" state committing "genocide" and alleged that Israel and its Jewish supporters have pushed the U.S. into wars in the Middle East. The platform also officially joined BLM with the BDS campaign to "free Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" – to dismantle the State of Israel.
In the current protests, BLM and BDS activists have stepped up efforts to link Israel to claims of American racism. Photos of George Floyd wearing a kaffiyeh and draped in a Palestinian flag are promoted on social media. A picture shared on Twitter depicts an Israeli and an American police officer embracing while kneeling on the necks of a Palestinian and a black man, respectively. "Intifada" (Arabic for "uprising") is the laudatory term used to describe the riots exploding across the U.S.
BLM's Patrisse Cullors, speaking about her 2015 "trip to Palestine" (she refers to Israel as Palestine), expressed solidarity with the Palestinians who, she claimed, were experiencing the same oppression as American Blacks. She called for the "liberation" of pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank, and the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip and referred to Israel as "the new South Africa."
Cullors and other BLM leaders signed a 2015 "black solidarity statement with Palestine" that falsely accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and "brutality" and endorsed BDS.
BLM joined BDS in the July 1, 2020 "Day of Rage" nationwide demonstrations against Israel's proposed application of civilian law in areas of Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank), part of the U.S. peace plan. Alternating rallying cries of "black lives matter" and "Palestinian lives matter" could be heard, along with BLM supporters shouting, "Israel, we know you murder children, too."
Historically, Jew-hatred has often found expression in pogroms. Jonathan Friedman never thought such a thing could happen in Fairfax. It did.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. She writes and lectures about U.S.-Israel relations, U.S. foreign policy, Israel, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and BDS on college campuses. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The Hill, New York Daily News, New York Observer, the Washington Times, American Spectator, American Thinker and Jerusalem Post. Read Ziva Dahl's Reports — More Here.
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