Last week in synagogues, Jews studied the Torah portion on Korach’s rebellion Numbers 16:1 – 18:32 about Korach leading 250 of the leaders of the Israelites against the authority of Moses and Aaron in the desert.
The parallels that can be drawn between this parsha/portion and the anti-racism riots and demonstrations led by the Black Lives Matter movement happening all over the world are astonishing.
In this Torah portion, a cabal of influential rebels tries to take power from Moses, daring to risk their lives to promote their own self-interest over the sacred destiny of their people.
Korach and his followers accuse Moses and Aaron of taking power and prestige for themselves at the expense of the community. The commentaries point out that Korach’s challenge to Moses is rooted in personal ambition, not the love of God or of the Israelites. He does it by using arguments that sound plausible, and brings two hundred and fifty others along with him in a showdown. (source: The Power Struggle Moses vs. Korach by Rabbi Rachel Cowan).
The death of George Floyd has flooded the airwaves, the internet, radio, and television. Racism, systemic racism, and police brutality are without doubt of great concern to all of us. I have studied these issues over the last couple of days and realized that the way the Black Lives Matter movement has framed the argument is more like the rebellion of Korach – a grab for fame and power – rather than an argument for truth and justice.
Rabbi Jonathon Sacks has spelled it out very clearly in his recent publication: How Not to Argue (Korach 5780). He refers to the lies that the BLM organization continues to propagate against Israel and the canceling of any opinions that do not agree with theirs. Below are black scholars who have also spoken up to object to BLM claims and their methods. Candice Owens, Coleman Hughes, John Mcwhorter, and Glenn Loury. And her is another alternate view to the BLM hysteria recorded Feb 11, 2019.
What we have been witnessing from the BLM organization is a group enjoining people into anarchy, violence, and chaos, with any dissent or objections being stamped out by a vicious cultural auto-da-fé; all of which is hell-bent on destroying the west’s identity as a culture based on freedom, tolerance, rationality, and rule of law.
The antisemitic bias of the BLM movement is especially painful to me as a Jew. The Nazi ideology was built on the idea of the superiority of the Aryan (German) race as opposed to all other groups – Jews, blacks, homosexuals, gypsies, Slavs and it would have moved to Americans if it had been allowed to flourish. That was systemic racism – racism that was legitimized by governmental power and which could only be opposed by complete destruction of the leaders and their organized followers, the army, and administration.
The United States, a democracy, where free speech is enshrined in law, has made great strides in repudiating slavery and espousing freedom of opportunity to all of its citizens. Not to deny that prejudice, whether conscious or unconscious does not exist.
Raheel Raza, a Canadian journalist, speaks about this situation in Canada.
Yes, there are problems, but the way to address them is not through violence, but through listening to each other and looking clearly at what can be done by people of good will working together.