September 24, 2018

Letters to the editor: Black Lives Matter, Rabbi Sharon Brous and Ben Ndugga-Kabuye

Thoughts on What Matters

Rabbi Sharon Brous’ incisive piece evinces the characteristic sense of perspective that has made her such an impressive Jewish leader (“Doubling Down on Black Lives and America’s Teetering Soul,” Aug. 19). She points beyond our disappointments and fears. How refreshing! Thank you!

Rabbi David E. S. Stein via email

So Rabbi Sharon Brous is doubling down on her opposition to the settlements. Does that mean the settlement in Hebron, where the Jewish community existed for at least 600 years until 1929 when Arabs murdered the residents and took their property? Should the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron revert to the status where Jews are forbidden to enter, since their very presence defiles the holy mosque built by the Jewish King Herod? Or does Rabbi Brous mean by occupation, as most Palestinians mean, the occupation of Tel Aviv, Haifa and West Jerusalem?

Bill Azerrad, Los Angeles

Rabbi Sharon Brous, while well intentioned, ignores some key issues in her article. One is the history of Israel’s founding, and the other is confusing the need for social justice with the organizations behind it.

As to Black lives mattering, yes, they do. But so do Latino, Asian, police, white lives and everyone else’s. The problem is not the message but the organization delivering it. It employs intimidation and disruption. Has she forgotten their yelling, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” or commandeering the podium from Bernie Sanders, or some of their hostile campus confrontations, for example? Their support of BDS comes about through financing by George Soros, a major proponent of BDS. Yes, let’s stamp out racial inequality, but let’s support organizations more deserving of that support.

Emanuel R. Baker, Los Angeles

Regarding the cover article, “Black Lives Matter: Where Do We Fit In?” yes, Black Lives Matter, but so do Black li[v]es. Accusing Israel of engaging in genocide is inexcusable and disdainful. Lies do matter — whether coming from the Movement for Black Lives platform or from any other source. Let us be truthful and responsible in our public comments.  

Rabbi Mervin B. Tomsky, Reseda

Middle East Myopia

Regarding your article about Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, I wonder what he would say today had Israel lost the war of extermination against it in ’48, ’67 or ’73 (“Black Lives Matter Platform Author Defends Israel ‘Genocide’ Claim,” Aug. 19)?  Would he be speaking for the millions of dead Jews and the few lucky ones who survived and were able to escape to somewhere? Or would he really not give a damn, and would Rachel Gilmer feel the same way even though some of the dead might have been her relatives, even though she doesn’t seem to consider them relatives anymore? Do they not understand that for the past 100 years, even before Israel regained its independence in 1948, all that its Arab enemies wanted — and still want — is to make the Middle East judenrein (i.e., Arab from the river to the sea). If that isn’t racist hegemony, then I don’t know what Ndugga-Kabuye and Gilmer want to consider in their genocide and hegemonous views.

Robert Miller, Sherman Oaks

Jews and the Black Community

Thanks for Rabbi Sharon Brous’ article and the Ben Sales interview of Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, both covering the Black Lives Matter  movement. Rabbi Brous’ statement that the Jewish community in America cannot permit “the criticism of Israel to distance and distract us from the work of tearing down structural racism in America” is a valid imperative for us to follow. Though, to me, in its current usage and political climate, “criticism of Israel” really translates to anti-Semitism. But that shouldn’t deter us from disavowing racism and championing what has traditionally been the Jewish community’s fight against racism and support of Black Americans’ rights.

As the rabbi observed, concerns of Black people in America with regard to the historic and systemic issues of racism are legitimate. Our answer to the apparent growth of enmity toward Jews among young Blacks must be to restore the fervor of our community’s efforts to reach out to the Black community. Back in the day, The Jewish Federation had one of the most active Jewish Community Relations Committees in the country; its work in outreach to the Black community is legendary. The Anti-Defamation League, and other Jewish community organizations and synagogues, scheduled regular dialogues and activities with their counterparts in the Black community.

It’s time for us to wake up and get going and renew our efforts of outreach to the Black community.

Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica

Corrections

A photo spread titled “Some Jewish Olympic Moments” (Aug. 19) included a picture of Brazilian Olympic judo competitor Mariana Silva misidentified as the Israeli bronze medalist Yarden Berbi. 

A story about a performance of James Horner’s music (“Horner’s ‘Pas de Deux’ Gets U.S. Premiere With LA Phil at Hollywood Bowl,” Aug. 19) incorrectly referenced how Paul Chihara referred to the composer. He called Horner, “Jamie.”