Political lives matter

Obama has chosen to only speak out when blacks have been the victims of police misconduct or tragic error.

Larry Gordon

OpEds Site of Dallas shooting attack
Site of Dallas shooting attack

It was awful and shocking as the news broke last Friday morning about the fatalities amongst members of the police force in Dallas. The shootings followed on the heels of the deaths of two men at the hands of police in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge. They were also possibly a consequence of words and sentiments expressed by President Obama as he arrived for NATO meetings in Warsaw early Friday morning.

Up to that point, the president was apparently comfortable vilifying and denigrating the fashion in which police around the country are interfacing with minority communities. And he reiterated that position again in Dallas this week without acknowledging the social component that leads to an inordinate percentage of blacks in the U.S. being involved in criminal or violent activity at some level. The misguided aspect of all this is the idea that there is parity between police and the people they are commanded to serve and protect.

More than anyone else I have heard, Mr. Obama from the outset has set a tone that allows those stopped by police to feel emboldened to resist as a matter of course when being questioned or challenged.

It is indisputable that over the years of his presidency, Obama has chosen to only speak out when blacks have been the victims of police misconduct or tragic error. Certainly there have been instances over this period of white people being killed by white police officers in various circumstances. On these matters, the president has chosen to remain silent. There is something terribly wrong with that.

Now once again after the killings in Minnesota and Louisiana last week, Mr. Obama took to his pulpit to call into question the conduct and conscience of America. Neglected in the Obama pronouncements, as in the past, was the fact that the men who were unfortunately shot were to some extent defying police instructions or had prior arrests.

Additionally neglected was the fact that in these two cases both of the men killed by police were carrying guns, and the one in Louisiana had an extensive criminal record. These facts are glossed over not just by police critics and advocates for violence like Black Lives Matter, but also by the president of the United States.

Based on Mr. Obama’s comments, one would be led to believe that these men who lost their lives were arbitrarily plucked out of a crowd, singled out, and just randomly murdered by police.

Someone asked the other night if all that is going on is good or bad for the Jews—as we tend to explore that facet in this space anyway. Firstly, it might be important and even gratifying to note that this is a dominant story that has little to do with Jews or Israel. But unfortunately that is not completely true, as groups like Black Lives Matter are certainly aligned and sympathetic with BDS and other anti-Israel groups.

Then again, there are some parallels to the ongoing struggle in Israel and the way in which the IDF and the Israeli police are dealing with the latest scourge of stabbings and shootings in the country. In Israel, too, the media paint an image of powerful Israel creating an environment that encourages these attacks and killings.

Israel has tried countless times to lift roadblocks and withdraw the military from key positions in Judea and Samaria, only to have the Arabs who reside in these communities take advantage and exploit what they perceive as Israel’s weakness by committing more violent acts and murders.

Giuliani also said the thought of promoting the idea that black lives matter to the exclusion of others is in and of itself the promoting of a racist idea.
So if Israel clamps down, sets up roadblocks, and implements full closures in these cities to protect their citizens, the next thing you know Israel is being excoriated in international forums and the UN for using undue and disproportionate force. Then they succumb to the pressure and withdraw the troops, and the violence increases.

This is now the pattern here. In the aftermath of the riots in Baltimore almost two years ago, President Obama directed that police be forced to give up on the use of military equipment as a way of controlling communities, protecting people, and keeping the peace.

The Obama administration theory is that the sight of military equipment enrages some people in these cities and, believe it or not, provokes and instigates rioting. The contorted thought process says if there are no armored personnel carriers or high-powered guns to protect police present in these cities, those with a proclivity for violence will be dissuaded. So far the theory has not been proven successful.

This week’s debate that revolves around the positions of Black Lives Matter and the murder of police officers in Dallas is dependent on intellectual dishonesty. We all want calm to prevail and for the killing to stop. But this is also where the dishonesty kicks in and where it is supported by leaders—beginning with the president.

First of all, Mr. Obama has developed the horrible habit of only commenting when there are black victims and looking away when there are other victims. He will probably have reversed course by the time you read this, but as of this writing he has not found it within himself to mention the names of the five murdered Texas cops. He did not have the same problem with Trayvon Martin in Florida who he said could have been his son. Nor did he have this problem with Michael Brown in Ferguson or Eric Garner on Staten Island.

If President Obama is a leader, he is leading us backward. As former mayor Rudy Giuliani said the other day, if Black Lives Matter were genuinely concerned about the reality on the streets of the United States, they would be speaking out about 90% of black murder victims who are killed by other blacks. Instead, not a word is said, and the focus is on police officers.

Giuliani also said the thought of promoting the idea that black lives matter to the exclusion of others is in and of itself the promoting of a racist idea. But this is an agenda that is advanced on a regular basis by our president.

We would most likely be astonished by Jewish involvement in BLM. But you can rest assured that after besmirching the reputations of our police, doing the same to Jews and Israel is not far behind on the agenda of these and similar groups.

Comments for Larry Gordon, who is editor of the Five Towns Jewish Times, are welcome at editor@5tjt.com.