Why No 'White Lives Matter'?

Tessa Majors, a young woman ''not of color," was unable to complete her first semester at Barnard University in New York City. She was fatally stabbed in Morningside Park adjacent to the university, collapsing as she left the park -- a place referred to over the years as "Muggingside Park.” At least one "person of color," all of thirteen years old, has been arrested. Although it is unclear whether he participated in the murder, he has implicated others who, like him, have barely reached their teen years.

Three days earlier, a black man and a black woman, members of a virulently anti-Semitic sect, the black Hebrew Israelites, went on a killing spree in a kosher market in Jersey City. Six people died, including a police officer.

Last week’s incidents have one obvious thing in common -- both involved blacks murdering whites. They also have at least one other thing in common -- nobody marched, nobody protested, nobody circulated ‘White Lives Matter” shirts, nobody organized boycotts of black-run businesses, nobody took to the streets screaming racial epithets, nobody threw bricks at black-owned property, and nobody attacked black citizens.

Contrast that non-reaction not only to what occurred in Baltimore four years ago when Freddie Gray died, or five years ago in Ferguson when Michael Brown died, but with what happened for three days in 1991 when a seven-year-old black boy was tragically but unintentionally killed by a vehicle driven by Yosef Lifsh, an Orthodox Jew who was escorting the Grand Rebbe of the Lubavitch Hasidic community to the cemetery where he visited his deceased wife every Sunday. Lifsh’s car collided with another vehicle; the collision sent Lifsh's car flying onto the sidewalk where it pinned a black youth, Gavin Cato, against a building, causing his death.

Approximately 600 blacks in Crown Heights rioted for three days, injuring just under two hundred people; two residents were shot, a sniper wounded eight police officers, a firehouse was attacked and buildings burned. All of that pales by comparison to the fate of Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic scholar from Australia. He was surrounded by a large group of black youths and repeatedly stabbed by Lemrick Nelson, until he collapsed and died.

Why are the reactions to those tragedies so different? Why no rioting and no reprisals when whites are intentionally and brutally murdered by blacks but prolonged rioting and reprisals reflexively occur when a black is tragically but unintentionally killed, another black is shot to death as he was attacking a white police officer and a third black died from injuries sustained in a police van after being arrested for possession of an illegal weapon? (It is important to remember that none of the police officers were convicted of anything and the Justice Department decided against filing federal civil rights charges against any of the officers involved in the Freddie Gray incident and the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown was never charged).

If pressed to answer what they perceive as a racist inquiry, liberals will point to the sordid history of slavery in this country. Doesn’t that beg the question? By 1991, no black who lived through slavery was still alive. In fact, it is unlikely that even a child of a slave was still alive then. Moreover, the Crown Heights riot occurred in a place where slavery was outlawed in 1827 and which was a center of abolitionist activism thereafter. While Jews did comprise roughly one percent of Southern slaveowners, the Jewish commitment to the Civil Rights movement one hundred years later -- which actually happened during the lifetimes of many involved in the Crown Heights rioting -- is far more telling evidence of their present-day racial mindset. If we want to talk prejudice and discrimination, no group has had more personal experience to draw upon than the Jews. While slavery was horrific, it still wasn’t genocide. So why the rioting, why no real consequences for the rioting, and why no Jewish rioting in Jersey City or Columbia University?

There is no better example of the Jewish reaction to their horrendous mistreatment than the recent Hungarian film 1945. After surviving years in a concentration camp, an elderly Orthodox Jew and his son return to their Hungarian village. Local officials had alerted the Germans to their presence in the village during the war in order to steal the Jews’ property once they were deported to the camps. Returning to the village, the father and son, throughout almost the entirety of the film, walk slowly but deliberately back toward their home carrying a very large crate. Their quiet (they never speak) dignity is in sharp contrast to the bedlam their arrival engenders. Everyone fears they have returned to claim the property officials stole from them years earlier. In fact, the guilt, greed and stupidity of the townsfolk results in their burning down their own village, not before, however, they realize that the "large crate” contains  playthings and remnants, all that was left of the lives of their family who perished in the camp. They return home not to fight for their property but to bury those remnants of lost lives in the family cemetery. 

This is how Jews for the most part react to the tragic and inhumane treatment to which they are too often subjected. It is this grace and grandeur depicted in 1945 that enrages other minorities more than anything else. Jews are not loathed just for failing to “man up.” Rather, it is their failure to react that way, whether in response to the Jersey City murders or the Crown Heights riots, which both demonstrates and symbolizes a moral pinnacle which others despise. They despise it because it brings into sharp contrast their own animalistic response. Simply put, it is the old story of Jacob and Esau with one twist -- if anyone stole the symbolic birthright of the blacks, it certainly wasn’t the Jews.

Tessa Majors, a young woman ''not of color," was unable to complete her first semester at Barnard University in New York City. She was fatally stabbed in Morningside Park adjacent to the university, collapsing as she left the park -- a place referred to over the years as "Muggingside Park.” At least one "person of color," all of thirteen years old, has been arrested. Although it is unclear whether he participated in the murder, he has implicated others who, like him, have barely reached their teen years.

Three days earlier, a black man and a black woman, members of a virulently anti-Semitic sect, the black Hebrew Israelites, went on a killing spree in a kosher market in Jersey City. Six people died, including a police officer.

Last week’s incidents have one obvious thing in common -- both involved blacks murdering whites. They also have at least one other thing in common -- nobody marched, nobody protested, nobody circulated ‘White Lives Matter” shirts, nobody organized boycotts of black-run businesses, nobody took to the streets screaming racial epithets, nobody threw bricks at black-owned property, and nobody attacked black citizens.

Contrast that non-reaction not only to what occurred in Baltimore four years ago when Freddie Gray died, or five years ago in Ferguson when Michael Brown died, but with what happened for three days in 1991 when a seven-year-old black boy was tragically but unintentionally killed by a vehicle driven by Yosef Lifsh, an Orthodox Jew who was escorting the Grand Rebbe of the Lubavitch Hasidic community to the cemetery where he visited his deceased wife every Sunday. Lifsh’s car collided with another vehicle; the collision sent Lifsh's car flying onto the sidewalk where it pinned a black youth, Gavin Cato, against a building, causing his death.

Approximately 600 blacks in Crown Heights rioted for three days, injuring just under two hundred people; two residents were shot, a sniper wounded eight police officers, a firehouse was attacked and buildings burned. All of that pales by comparison to the fate of Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic scholar from Australia. He was surrounded by a large group of black youths and repeatedly stabbed by Lemrick Nelson, until he collapsed and died.

Why are the reactions to those tragedies so different? Why no rioting and no reprisals when whites are intentionally and brutally murdered by blacks but prolonged rioting and reprisals reflexively occur when a black is tragically but unintentionally killed, another black is shot to death as he was attacking a white police officer and a third black died from injuries sustained in a police van after being arrested for possession of an illegal weapon? (It is important to remember that none of the police officers were convicted of anything and the Justice Department decided against filing federal civil rights charges against any of the officers involved in the Freddie Gray incident and the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown was never charged).

If pressed to answer what they perceive as a racist inquiry, liberals will point to the sordid history of slavery in this country. Doesn’t that beg the question? By 1991, no black who lived through slavery was still alive. In fact, it is unlikely that even a child of a slave was still alive then. Moreover, the Crown Heights riot occurred in a place where slavery was outlawed in 1827 and which was a center of abolitionist activism thereafter. While Jews did comprise roughly one percent of Southern slaveowners, the Jewish commitment to the Civil Rights movement one hundred years later -- which actually happened during the lifetimes of many involved in the Crown Heights rioting -- is far more telling evidence of their present-day racial mindset. If we want to talk prejudice and discrimination, no group has had more personal experience to draw upon than the Jews. While slavery was horrific, it still wasn’t genocide. So why the rioting, why no real consequences for the rioting, and why no Jewish rioting in Jersey City or Columbia University?

There is no better example of the Jewish reaction to their horrendous mistreatment than the recent Hungarian film 1945. After surviving years in a concentration camp, an elderly Orthodox Jew and his son return to their Hungarian village. Local officials had alerted the Germans to their presence in the village during the war in order to steal the Jews’ property once they were deported to the camps. Returning to the village, the father and son, throughout almost the entirety of the film, walk slowly but deliberately back toward their home carrying a very large crate. Their quiet (they never speak) dignity is in sharp contrast to the bedlam their arrival engenders. Everyone fears they have returned to claim the property officials stole from them years earlier. In fact, the guilt, greed and stupidity of the townsfolk results in their burning down their own village, not before, however, they realize that the "large crate” contains  playthings and remnants, all that was left of the lives of their family who perished in the camp. They return home not to fight for their property but to bury those remnants of lost lives in the family cemetery. 

This is how Jews for the most part react to the tragic and inhumane treatment to which they are too often subjected. It is this grace and grandeur depicted in 1945 that enrages other minorities more than anything else. Jews are not loathed just for failing to “man up.” Rather, it is their failure to react that way, whether in response to the Jersey City murders or the Crown Heights riots, which both demonstrates and symbolizes a moral pinnacle which others despise. They despise it because it brings into sharp contrast their own animalistic response. Simply put, it is the old story of Jacob and Esau with one twist -- if anyone stole the symbolic birthright of the blacks, it certainly wasn’t the Jews.