Looting American culture

June 5, 2020 by Fiamma Nirenstein - JNS.org
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If George Floyd, the African-American strangled to death by the knee of Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, had been white, his death would have elicited the same horrified reaction on my part.

A protester waves an American flag through the ravaged streets of one of the cities beset by riots in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a policeman. May 29, 2020. Source: Screenshot.

A violent killing by a member of the police department is unfathomable and inexcusable.  But so is the behaviour of the angry “Black Lives Matter” mob.  Martin Luther King Jr. surely would have agreed. He would have considered the current violence and looting to devalue the cause and decay the role of blacks.

King outlined his dream—as the best-selling author Douglas Murray recalled in his 2019 book, The Madness of the Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity—at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

Describing how black Americans first were slaves and then second-class citizens, he denounced the laws of racial segregation (that still existed in certain state at the time), and said that he dreamed his children should “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

It is a concept that he reiterated repeatedly. To a large extent, his dream was realized. The laws in the United States today are based on equality, in accordance with the Declaration of Independence, which states that “all men are created equal.” That said, American society is like all democratic societies, in the sense that it is not thoroughly just, and suffers from prejudices.

This is not what is under assault right now by the radicals, however. It is, rather, America’s past, which is viewed by the intersectional cultural wave as genetically despicable—a white world to be eradicated forever and replaced with a new culture that will generate a new political power. Such a point of view, of course, both generates and justifies violence.

The tsunami of looting and violence that we have been witnessing for the past several days has nothing to do with the fight for equality or justice. It is an ideological barrier in the United States and expanding throughout the West, which reflects the culture of guilt and revenge typical of totalitarianism, fascism and Communism. It invents and perpetuates an eternity of conflict between right (black, women, gay, poor, etc.) and wrong (whites, males, straights, etc.). It projects the fears of yesterday, even of centuries ago, on today’s world—convoluting every aspect of humanity and field of history.

Thus, all great works of art, literature and music are considered to represent the exaltation of white, male, heterosexual culture, and must be replaced by “black studies,” “women’s studies” and “gay studies,” which elevate victimhood at the hands of “oppressors.”

Fiamma Nirenstein

This vein has transformed American academia from a milieu of independent thought to a place of worship at the altar of gender and skin colour. Universities such as Harvard, Yale, Arizona and Pennsylvania have pledged loyalty to “racial equity during the demonstrations,” as though that has anything to do with what’s going on now.

Together with Hollywood protagonists, professors have worked hard to pave the way for a cultural revolution that strives for a society in which victims and their marginalized lives are fundamental.

The young people destroying shops, stealing goods, shooting and beating have been shaped by this intersectional culture, which bows to suffering and claims to aspire to correct the societal ills wrought on their ancestors.

The idea of being totally persecuted by an ever-increasing group of “others” naturally leads to a feeling of entitlement—the entitlement to react violently.

There is nothing strange or unreasonable about a president faced with a burning country to warn that he might have to enlist the military to intervene. But if he is white, as Donald Trump is, he is portrayed as a supremacist.

In 2014, I was in the United States to cover the story of huge protests, instigated by a new movement called “Black Lives Matter,” following police brutality against African American boys. Barack Obama was president at the time.

If his presidency illustrated anything, it is that even if slavery once existed in the U.S. and social distress continued to be a problem, black lives did matter to Americans. A lot. And they still do today.

Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including “Israel Is Us” (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.


One Response to “Looting American culture”
  1. Eileen Freed says:

    As an American, a Jew, a leader in my local Jewish community and a former resident of the wonderful Melbourne Jewish community, I am beyond disappointed that this completely tone-deaf and off-base article (did she really make an assumption about what MLK would have thought??!!) is included in J-Wire at this difficult time. Your only other article on the subject was also exceedingly troubling. The real tsunami in America has been the enormous peaceful protests by extraordinarily diverse crowds – in the middle of a pandemic which is disproportionately affecting the Black community and people of colour – who are fed up with continued unpunished police violence and systemic racism in our country. Most protest leaders have condemned and tried to prevent violence. Over the past week, there have been incredible stories of communities – like Flint, MI – where the police have walked together with the protesters. Sadly, the highly militaristic response of many (not all) police departments and our president has done nothing help dampen people’s rage and frustration. Rather than sharing the shocking views of a white person from Italy or articles that make this all about the impact on the Jewish community – according to the leader of the Jewish community’s national security network, targeted attacks on Jewish businesses and institutions were exceedingly rare – maybe you could share some voices of Black Americans (including Black American Jews) to better educate the Australian Jewish community about the issue. Here is a link to an article in JTA: https://www.jta.org/2020/05/31/united-states/believe-us-black-jews-respond-to-the-george-floyd-protests-in-their-own-words. I’m also happy to share a resource guide developed by a synagogue in Charlotte, NC to educate its members https://templebethel.org/resources-to-watch-read-listen-notice/. This is just one of MANY resource guides being circulated in the Jewish community to help us better understand the suffering of our fellow Americans so we can be stronger, more vocal allies in addressing this extraordinarily serious and entrenched problem in our country. As the Executive Director of a local Jewish Federation, I have not seen our national network come together with such unanimity around an issue in recent years. Here’s a link to the statement made by the Jewish Federations of North America which includes links to statements made by Federations across the US and Canada: https://jewishfederations.org/federation-impact-stories/statement-on-the-death-of-george-floyd. I urge you to broaden your pool of contributors to better inform Australian readers about issues impacting and being impacted by the American Jewish community. Shabbat Shalom!

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