Harmony is not merely auditory. It can take many forms: harmony within your soul, harmony of nature, and even the harmony of a relationship.
“The Corner Stone” by Bob Marley (1974) was inspired by his only attempt to meet his father, which was refused. That could have devastated Marley, but he looked deep within himself and found inspiration in Psalm 118. “The Corner Stone” was the result.
Marley believed he was that Cornerstone. We all are. We will all be rejected, dejected, and cast aside at some point. These moments of vulnerability often sway even the most faithful among us. But when you realize your worth is bestowed upon you by God and put your faith into practice through commitment or song, that creates harmony of the soul.
Leonard Cohen’s “Come Healing” (2012) accentuates the desire for balance and harmony of the mind, body, and spirit through penitence. Jewish commentaries also declare one must ask for forgiveness before praying to God. The first step is to “come” forward, to move closer to God. First you must ask; only then will the healing and harmony begin.
Marley and Cohen’s songs describe concepts through which spiritual harmony can be achieved. Both concepts begin with an action, which leads to harmonious results. Marley, through overcoming a personal struggle and bonding with his self and his faith; Cohen, through penitence and a strengthening of his relationship with God. Both men expressed their process through song, knowing that prayers will be accepted and answered—the most profound harmony of all.
Iran is behind the latest escalation of violence against Israel. The increased accuracy and the sheer number of rockets fired into Israel reveal Iran’s hand. All actions the Islamic Republic and its proxies are taking are in direct violation of existing United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) put in place to curb Iran’s lethal capabilities. Once again, Iran is cheating out in the open with impunity, and once again Iran is attacking a U.S. ally while the international community condemns Israel’s response.
Iran gave the nod and Iran’s proxies seized on a dispute as the ignitor for violence to attack a U.S. ally—an ally the Biden White House is distancing itself from in its actions and in its courtship of the Islamic Republic.
The Biden administration allowed Tehran to use proxy attacks against the U.S. mission in Iraq and against Saudi Arabia as leverage in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks, and Iran saw weakness from Washington. Iran viewed Washington’s carve out of its missile capabilities and regional behavior from nuclear talks in Vienna as a green light to use Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to attack Israel under the pretense of a Palestinian issue.
Iran Deal supporters will argue that the JCPOA was not meant to address regional behavior or ballistic missiles, and yet Iran is using malignant regional behavior and missiles as leverage to get the U.S. to completely cave in Vienna.
Iran sees weakness in Vienna, and it will continue to fracture the region until it sees its actions have consequences. To date, there are no consequences for the regime in Tehran. Iran is not being pressured to make any concessions on sunsets, ballistic missiles, and regional behavior ahead of a U.S. reentry to the JCPOA.
Iran increased the lethality and accuracy of its rocket arsenal under the protections of the JCPOA. The technology acquired to make Iran’s missiles and rockets more precise took place within the JCPOA and under the supposed constraints of existing UNSCRs put in place to stop the regime from advancing its lethal offensive capabilities and aid to proxies.
What didn’t exist in 2007 exists now. Iran’s land-bridge is operational, advanced, and in use in the attacks against Israel. Its missile and rocket components and the weapons themselves are making their way to Iran’s proxies across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and into the hands of Hamas and the PIJ. Iran’s Iraqi militias stand ready to move across this land bridge and join the fight against Israel. Iran now has the sustained capability to move weapons and fighters to further destabilize the Levant and threaten Israel.
The players and their goals
Hamas and PIJ military positions are purposely placed in civilian locations to ensure increased collateral damage. They need civilian casualties and are sacrificing Palestinians for their own cause. The goal of Hamas is to control the media narrative and limit its own casualties while maximizing Palestinian casualties. Collateral damage is the bait for moral outrage from those who believe they can condemn Israel’s actions without mentioning the designated terror groups responsible for the attacks and the civilian deaths on both sides.
The goal of Iran is to rachet up pressure everywhere to get the Biden White House to cave on everything in Vienna. Let’s remember, Iran will fight to the last Arab.
The goal of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is to perpetuate the illusion that they matter.
The goal of Israel is to defend its people and win by denying Hamas and the PIJ the victory these terrorist organizations covet: international condemnation of Israel and anti-Israel sentiment. The only way Israel can win is to resist Washington’s insistence that it lose. Israel is “trying to degrade Hamas’s terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again. So it’ll take some time. I hope it won’t take long, but it’s not immediate.” This from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The goal of the U.S. is to act like it has one, though this administration does not. The moral equivalency argument is the favorite tool of the pro-JCPOA diplomat in the U.S. The Biden administration cannot answer simple questions like this from Israeli PM Netanyahu: “they’re sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our civilians from these places. What would you do? If it happened to Washington or to New York? You know damn well what you would do.”
Keep the Wild Card on the sidelines
Lebanese Hezbollah is watching what Israel is doing to Hamas with bated breath. Hezbollah is not ready for this fight because it believes Iran is not ready for this fight. Hassan Nasrallah knows Iran is using the crisis to enhance its negotiating position in Vienna. That could all change if the Biden administration lifts sanctions and gives Iran access to the U.S. dollar. Iran would then be able to increase the flow of much needed currency to Iran’s premiere proxy in the region.
Hezbollah has the most advanced precision guided missiles of all of Iran’s proxies. Iran’s strategy is to overwhelm and exhaust Israel’s Iron Dome capabilities through Hamas and PIJ rocket attacks and then have Hezbollah use precision-guided rockets to hit key military and infrastructure sites in Israel. So far, Hezbollah is sitting this one out. The U.S. can keep Hezbollah on the bench by not empowering Iran.
The only way for the U.S. to win here is to support Israel by holding Iran responsible for the escalation, walking away from Iran talks in Vienna, and imposing more sanctions on Iran, Russia, China, and on any other country doing business with Iran. The U.S. has crippling economic leverage with this regime. The regime is on life support and now is not the time to give it an economic lifeline. Lifting that pressure at this point in time will fuel and empower Iran and its proxies to get all they can, starting now. On the other hand, walking away will demonstrate to Tehran that there are consequences for its actions.
Michael Pregent is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He is a senior Middle East analyst, a former adjunct lecturer for the College of International Security Affairs, and a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
I see you
Your hopes and dreams
I see the fears you hold
The worries that keep sleep away
You for all the ways
That you are truly uniquely you
You are not a sum of arbitrary things
Details to be checked off a list somewhere
You are you
Unique from all others
Much like a snowflake
One of many yet unlike all others
I see you and understand
Why it can seem easy to be part of a crowd
Lost in it
To feel less lost
Yet it’s that very erasure of yourself
That fuels the unrest that rises within
I see you amidst the crowd
For who you are and who you want to be
Losing that is injustice to yourself
And to those denied getting to know you
I see you not for any aspect of appearance
But for the very content of your character
It is in that dream
That so clearly I can see you
unset the sun,
unset the sun,
as if the night had not begun.
unset the sun,
and rise it hon,
as if this weren’t over, done.
the night brings forth another day,
i fear for us it’s not the same
our sunset will never reverse,
it seems our orbit has been cursed.
yet try again,
unset the sun,
as if this weren’t over, done,
as if the night had not begun.
During a well-known scene in the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Amy Madigan’s character takes righteous umbrage at a proposal by her daughter’s school library to ban the books of a certain author. She references the spirit of her 1960s youth; she declares herself to be willing to stand up against the opponents of liberalism who seek to ban books such as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.
The former was banned by public libraries in Chicago and Detroit in the 1920s and 1950s, respectively, as well as being the target of a more contemporary attempt in Tennessee in 1986. The latter has been the subject of multiple banning attempts both before and after the film, including most recently a 2010 court case in Culpeper County, Virginia. The 1960s spirit she references in that scene was the influence of the Free Speech Movement, which originated at the University of California in Berkeley in 1964, and coalesced around certain leaders of the emerging New Left of that time. Their politics focused on concepts such as free speech and academic freedom, two key classical liberal values that, sadly, are nearly impossible to imagine any current leftist movement galvanizing around. Today’s left demands complete and total conformity to their preconceived, unchallengeable notions and brooks no dissent to their package of ideas and values. You either buy in 100 percent on every agenda item, or you are cast out as a virtual heretic.
Books are ideas put into words and onto pages that are then bound up in nice and neat packages for distribution. Today, it can be difficult to distinguish the stodgy old illiberal “them,” who banned books, from leftists who are unfortunately, and often erroneously, referred to as “liberals.” Seeking to ban books is no different than seeking to similarly expel from society ideas and ways of thinking themselves, whether wrapped in covers or not. A prominent example of a book where these two sides of censorship frequently collide can be found with To Kill a Mockingbird, where calls are made to ban the book both for its historically accurate language and content (which admittedly can shock some by today’s standards), as well as for the ultimate lesson it taught. This was a truly anti-racist book (published in 1960, no less) in the literal sense of that similarly abused phrase, yet it is also one that can draw equally outraged opposition from groups who would otherwise be diametrically opposed to each other politically.
The book, like all groundbreaking literature, was intended to shake people out of their comfort zones and make them reevaluate their ways of thought. Classical liberals respect and encourage this individualistic process, allowing people to come to their own conclusions, while leftists prefer to preach and demand deference without precisely explaining why people should think the way that they’re told.
The current craze of “cancel culture” is certainly not anything new or innovative. Socrates was executed for expressing inconvenient ideas. Numerous religious scholars throughout history were banished or worse for their theories, opinions, and ponderings. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated for eliminating the evil institution of slavery in the United States, while a little over a century later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered for his success at working toward ending the disgusting practices of discrimination and segregation against African Americans that followed.
Right now, the stakes are obviously (with some exceptions) not the same as the more prominent examples that have been mentioned above, but “canceling” follows the same practice of intolerance, which if we tolerate it, leads down a very slippery and dangerous slope. We began to see a clear turn toward illiberalism and against the liberal values of free speech and free thought on the left with Salman Rushdie’s experience. In 1988, the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses ultimately led Iran’s then-leader, Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, to a call for Rushdie’s murder. Just a bit more than 25 years later, two terrorists shot up the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, murdering 12 and injuring 11 others, all because of a cartoon that the magazine had published.
After that tragedy, a clear distinction became evident between classical liberals who oppose censorship and leftists posing as liberals who consider It acceptable to murder cartoonists and secretaries as long as one can provide an ideologically appropriate justification. Just five years later we now have illiberal leftists celebrating the firing of literary agents such as Colleen Oefelein simply for having an account on the social media site Parler, which is “known” to be conservative (hello, shades of Bizarro McCarthyism).
Free speech is the absolute key to classical liberalism and all the values we hold dear. It is the underlying value without which no one is truly free. This is liberalism 101.
The United States, now near the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the greatest and longest-running experiment in classical liberalism in world history, based upon such documents as the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and texts such as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, finds itself in a troubling situation where radicals currently seek to undermine the foundations of society. Tragically, these radical individuals are not regarded now as mere mischievous malcontents spoiled by generational privilege, but rather are often considered to be serious people representing a serious movement by the current American government, as well as by institutions such as the media, universities, and even major corporations.
It is now vital for those who value the opportunities provided to succeed in the United States, and who hope to pass along this place to their children and grandchildren and further generations down the line, to stand strong against this current challenge. The same applies to those in other democracies and republics throughout the world which were based upon classical liberal values that are also being similarly challenged by illiberal, destructive forces that today are masquerading as the opposite.
Jason D. Paluch is a Contributing Writer for White Rose Magazine.
“Unlike traditional approaches to civil rights, which favor incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory calls into question the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and the neutral principles of constitutional law.”
Critical Race Theory: An Introduction
Critical Race Theorists describe Critical Race Theory as a movement (which is strange for a theory of society) designed to reinvent the relationships between race, racism, and power in society. To do this, they begin with the assumption that race is socially constructed and racism is systemic. That race is “socially constructed” means that Critical Race Theorists view racial categories as social and political fictions that have been imposed by white people on people of color, especially blacks. That racism is “systemic” means that, for Critical Race Theorists, the “system” upon which all of society operates on every level unjustly produces “racist” outcomes that favor whites (and minority races that adhere to “whiteness”) at the expense of people of color, especially Latinos and, even more especially, blacks. Because racism is a property of the system—which includes everything from policy to behavioral norms to manners of speech to what we consider true—racism is said to persist even if no individual or institution acts in a racist way or holds any racist beliefs. It is the way society operates that is racist, as can be determined by the fact that there are statistical differences in average outcomes by racial category.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) proceeds upon a number of dubious assumptions and by means of a variety of questionable methods, including:
For example, Asian-Americans of most ethnic backgrounds are, given their high rate of attainment and success in American society, often labeled as “white-adjacent,” while Latinos are judged vigorously according to how much whiteness they uphold (often based at least partially upon the fairness or brownness of their skin). Most troublingly, Jews tend to be classified as white rather than as ethnically Jewish. This goes so far as to reproduce the basic pattern of anti-Semitism by claiming that Jews (as whites) are the beneficiaries and even cultural trendsetters of “whiteness,” thus as having tremendous societal privilege that they often refuse to recognize by identifying instead as Jewish.
James Lindsay is the author of six books, including most recently How to Have Impossible Conversations and Cynical Theories. He is also the founder and president of New Discourses, from which this piece is excerpted.
In Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. King used the analogy of Hitler’s persecution of the Jewish people to explain his willingness to disobey unjust laws. In his analogy, he also revealed his empathy for the Jewish people and his assurance that he would have tended to their plight.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
It was not only the Holocaust but the historic persecution of the Jewish people around the world that dictated the need for a sovereign Jewish State. Dr. King knew this as well as anyone. His statement, “we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity,” spoke to an active role in Israel’s safety. From where did this brothers-in-arms mentality come? I submit it was a quintessential blending of Christian Zionism and social activism. Just as Dr. King applauded Rabbi Heschel for “refusing to remain silent behind the safe security of stained glass windows,” so was he unwilling to remain silent while Israel and the Jewish people were being physically attacked, politically isolated, and morally vilified.
So significant and effective was Dr. King’s support of Israel, that Israel’s enemies took note and lamented it. In 1993, Edward Said, Palestinian American Professor and anti-Israel activist, stated:
With the emergence of the civil rights movement in the middle ’60s – and particularly in ’66-’67 – I was very soon turned off by Martin Luther King, who revealed himself to be a tremendous Zionist, and who always used to speak very warmly in support of Israel, particularly in ’67, after the war.
In my research, I came across an article written by history professor and author Gil Troy. In the piece, Professor Troy mentioned Bayard Rustin and an organization called BASIC (Black Americans to Support Israel Committee). Bayard Rustin was a civil rights warrior and a close friend and colleague of Dr. King. Mr. Rustin was also Dr. King’s coach in non-violent protests inspired by Gandhi. Continuing Dr. King’s pro-Israel, pro-peace legacy after his death, his associates, Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, formed BASIC to galvanize Black American solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people.
Until reading Gil Troy’s article, I had never heard of BASIC. The discovery was a very emotional experience for me. I was personally relieved to learn that amid the exploitation of the Black struggle for justice and the international condemnation of Israel, many Black Americans defended their heritage and stood by their Jewish brothers. They refused to forget the shared legacy of oppression and the need to band together when attacked. Though I was heartened to learn of post-Dr. King efforts like BASIC, I was also disappointed that this information was not common knowledge, especially with the global rise of antisemitism disguised as justice.
Dr. King was a doctor of biblical theology and pastor of a Baptist church. He honed his great oratory skill within the Black Church framework, he loved gospel music and his favorite singer was the incomparable Mahalia Jackson. Born and raised in the southern, Black Baptist ethic, Dr. King understood the spiritual significance of Israel, the Jewish people, and biblical Zionism. Yet, we have no record of him making a public case for biblical Zionism or arguing the validity of the State of Israel based on biblical history.
One can only surmise his reasons. Perhaps Dr. King was too wise to argue spiritual matters with those who did not share a Christian worldview. Perhaps he saw no need to preach Israel’s biblical rights to the Land when a non-religious case could be made just as effectively. Perhaps an Israel solidarity built on a Christian biblical and spiritual tradition of the Black Church had morphed into an intellectually articulated case for the Jewish State. Whatever his reasons for not quoting the Bible in his defense of Israel’s right to exist, his model is once again prophetically instructive, for there are two entirely different, yet related arguments that the Church must make for Israel—the biblical and the moral.
Israel has the right to live in peace with its Arab neighbors. Likewise, the Arab Palestinian people have the right to live free of oppression and dictatorial rule. Legitimate criticism of any government is the sign of a healthy democracy—if it is a democracy. Israel is a democracy. Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (also known as the West Bank) are ruled by leaders responsible for consistent human rights violations. Honor killings, torture, suicide bomber training for children, and religious persecution all exist in the Palestinian territories. On May 8, 2014, the Los Angeles Times published a piece entitled, Human rights complaints rise in Palestinian Territories.
Complaints of torture and other mistreatment rose by 50% last year in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, according to a report by the Ramallah-based Independent Commission for Human Rights.
The report notes, “a remarkable increase in the number of complaints received on alleged cases of torture and violations involving the right to physical safety in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
It says that 497 allegations of torture and ill treatment were received by the commission in 2013, compared with 294 cases in 2012. Most of the cases, 347, were in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian watchdog group established by the president of the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago said it had also registered a “noticeable increase” in arbitrary detentions in the West Bank and Gaza. It attributed the rise “to the political variables and the continuation of the internal political division” between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Islamist movement that has ruled Gaza since 2007.
Like the current leaders of the Palestinian people, former PLO head, Yasser Arafat, ruled with an iron fist. He spoke about human rights but was no humanitarian. Dr. King spoke out in favor of the well-being of Jews and Arabs as well as Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Applying his example, the Black Church should be concerned with peace for all people in the Middle East. This would include strongly condemning the human rights abuses perpetrated on the Arab Palestinian people by their leaders.
The moral case for the state of Israel, therefore, includes a genuine concern for the plight of the Arab Palestinians. Israel is the only viable democracy in the Middle East. While Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza do not enjoy political, economic, or religious freedom, their condition would be even worse without Israel to help care for the oppressed. Israel has a governmental and judicial system that includes Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, women, and other diverse members of society. Israel is a multiethnic, inclusive country, with a government that serves and protects its people from its many enemies.
Israeli compassion means that medical and emergency services are available to both Israelis and Palestinians. The wife of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was treated at Assuta Medical Center in Ramat Hachayal, near Tel Aviv. In 2013, Hamas Party leader Ismail Haniyeh took his granddaughter to Israeli doctors at Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva.
Shortly after the hospital visit for his granddaughter, Haniyeh was filmed at a rally calling for Israel’s destruction. Afterward, Haniyeh also took his mother-in-law to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem for cancer treatment. These events occurred within seven months of each other.
Israel’s compassion and care, even for its enemies, is the type of compassion worthy of Dr. King’s faith and advocacy. For years, Israel has provided medical assistance to its enemy to the north, Syria. Engulfed in a bloody civil war since 2011, over half a million people have died— both fighters and civilians. Israel has tended to the wounded without question or discrimination. Many of the Syrians that Israeli doctors have aided would not hesitate to kill them if given the opportunity.
When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and Fatah began fighting and killing each other to establish who would rule. The war was brutal and featured soldiers shooting their enemy in the knee caps and leaving them alive as a form of humiliation. Hamas won the fight and now rules Gaza. Fatah soldiers fled into the West Bank, and the wounded were treated in a state-of-the-art Israeli facility. They received prostheses that cost $45,000 per limb and rehabbed with Israeli physical therapists. “A person is a person. A soldier is a soldier. It doesn’t matter where he comes from,” said Dr. Tzaki Siev Ner, head of Orthopedic Rehabilitation at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.
Israel is the nation that Dr. King described as an “oasis of brotherhood and democracy.” A light in the midst of darkness. Hope in a sea of despair.
Many scriptures attest to God’s eternal covenant with the Jewish people and their right to the land of Israel. There is not one scripture that transferred the title of the land of Israel to the Palestinians or any other people. However, many scriptures teach us to care for the broken and defend the weak.
Learn to do good, seek justice, strengthen the robbed, perform justice for the orphan, plead the case of the widow.
יז לִמְ֥ד֥וּ הֵיֵ֛טֵ֛ב דִּרְ֥שׁ֥וּ מִשְָׁ֖צָּ֖ט אַשְּׁ֣ר֣וּ חָ֑מ֑בֿץ שִׁפְ֣ט֣וּ יָ֔ת֔בֿם ִ֖רִ֖יבוּ אַלְמָָֽנָֽה:
(The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, Isaiah 1.17)
Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, or the poor man. Neither shall any of you think evil against his brother in your heart.
י וְאַלְמָָ֧נָ֧ה וְיָ֛ת֛בֿם ֵ֥גֵּ֥ר וְעִָ֖נִ֖י אַֽל־וַֹֽעֲֹ֑שֹׁ֑קוּ וְרָעַ֙ת֙ ִ֣אִ֣ישׁ אִָ֔חִ֔יו אַל־וַֹחְשְׁ֖ב֖וּ בִּלְבַבְֶֽכֶֽם:
(The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, Zechariah 7.10)
The Black Church tradition is defined by concern for the broken, relief for the oppressed. Dr. King embodied these principles. Because of Israel’s outstanding humanitarian work around the world, support of the Jewish State means helping those in need—including the Palestinians. Unfairly criticizing Israel does nothing to defend Palestinian human rights. On the contrary, it only hinders the Palestinians’ best hope for real democracy and lasting peace.
As a Christian Zionist and one truly concerned for humanity, Dr. King stood with Israel and sought to relieve the suffering of the Arabs. Support of the Jewish State is not a lack of concern for the Arab Palestinians. It acknowledges that the best hope for peace in the region is a strong, prosperous, secure state of Israel.
ד הֵיטִ֣יָבָה י֖הְָֹוָה לַטּבִֿ֑בִ֑ים וְלִֽישִָׁ֥רִ֥ים בְִּלִבּבָֽֿתָֽם: ה וְהַמִַּ֚טִּ֚ים | עֲקַלְקַלּבָֿ֗תָ֗ם יֽבֿלִיֵ֣כֵ֣ם י֖הְָֹוָה אֶת־צֹּֽעֲֵ֣לֵ֣י הָאֶָ֑וֶן שָׁ֜֗ל֗בֿם עַל־יִשְׂרֵָֽאֵֽל:
(The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, Psalm 125.4-5)
Dr. King’s close friend and attorney, Dr. Clarence Jones, stated on February 28, 2014:
Anybody can stand with you in the warm summer sunlight of an August summer. But only a winter soldier stands with you at midnight in the alpine chill of winter.
From the standpoint of someone who has represented the great legacy of this extraordinary man, Martin Luther King Jr . . . I say to my African American brothers and sisters . . . the time is now for every African American person, every person of stature in the African American community, to come forward and stand with Israel in the alpine chill of winter, to show that we are wintertime soldiers.
It is said that the Jewish people never forget a friend, and Israel remembers Dr. King’s steadfastness to this day. The only street in the entire Middle East named after the civil rights legend is in one of the best areas of Jerusalem, near the Prime Minister’s residence and Liberty Bell Park.
Coretta Scott King acknowledged Israel’s efforts to commemorate her late husband.
On April 3, 1968, just before he was killed, Martin delivered his last public address. In it he spoke of the visit he and I made to Israel.
Moreover, he spoke to us about his vision of the Promised Land, a land of justice and equality, brotherhood and peace. Martin dedicated his life to the goals of peace and unity among all peoples, and perhaps nowhere in the world is there a greater appreciation of the desirability and necessity of peace than in Israel.
Mrs. King remained a faithful supporter of Israel and advocated for peace in the region until her passing in 2006. In 2007, the Israelis planted a forest in her honor in the Galilee region of Northern Israel. My first trip to the Holy Land was part of the African American Pastors Tour with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in 2012. Our tour leader, Dr. Michael Stevens, took us to the Coretta Scott King Forest.
An accurate account of history is the most effective defense against the bondage of disinformation and false narratives. As Jesus said, “the truth will make you free.” Black American leaders were historically targeted with anti-Zionist messaging by Israel’s enemies. It is still happening today. One goal of this deception is to drive a wedge between Blacks and Jews and between Africa and Israel. In so doing, Israel’s enemies seek to paint Israel as an oppressive, imperialist regime determined to rule the world. In reality, Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people who were without one for nearly 2,000 years. This is the essence of Zionism—reclaiming the Jewish homeland, and it has inspired Black leaders for decades.
Civil rights legends like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bayard Rustin stood in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. They also advocated for the just treatment of the Arab Palestinian people, which included speaking truth to Palestinian leadership—not irresponsibly blaming Israel. This is the type of Zionism that has always been the mark of knowledgeable leaders in the Black community. This is the legacy of Black support for the nation of Israel, for the Jewish people, and for a strong Africa-Israel alliance. This is the truth that must be taught to young Black and African men and women. This is restoration.
Excerpted from Zionism and the Black Church: Why Standing with Israel will be a Defining Issue for Christians of Color in the 21st Century (Umndenipress, 2021). Dumisani Washington is founder and board president of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel.
Glenn C. Loury is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has been an outspoken neo-liberal intellectual for decades, defending free speech and academic freedom.
Lisa Schiffren: Let’s jump right in. How are race and cancel culture related?
Glenn Loury: They’re joined at the hip, in my opinion, but it’s not only race. Cancel culture is also the MeToo movement. Cancel culture is if you like the Founding Fathers or Mount Rushmore, you’re in trouble. If you thought Columbus Day should have been Columbus Day instead of Indigenous People’s Day, you’re in trouble. Cancel culture is about a lot of things, but it is substantially about race.
We have events [Ed. the death of George Floyd] that become the focus of movements. And now they’ve become the stage on which people perform rituals of expiation. The president of Princeton University talked about how racist his institution is. Now, in 2021. It’s madness. All the affirmative action, all of the black studies, all of the recognition of the legitimacy of the claim of African Americans against slavery and Jim Crow. We’ve been doing this for a half century and still presidents of Ivy League institutions have to “fess up” to systemic racism. And everybody knows it’s a fraud.
LS: Everybody knows that?
Prof. Loury: The professor of physics, the professor of organic chemistry, the person who actually knows something about the French Revolution, because he or she reads French and studied the texts from the 18th and early 19th century. The computer scientist…. No, of course, everybody doesn’t know it’s a fraud. But I’m saying it is a fraud and it doesn’t go down very deeply in the real root of the academy. It would be the tail wagging the dog to have these institutions defined and organized around the petulance and sophomoric tantrum-throwing of all of these kids. It’s the tail wagging the dog.
I think there’s substance in the university. I think that the great traditions of learning that we’ve inherited, they’re Western traditions, not exclusively, but substantially so, are real things. They’re the achievements of human civilization. I think they will weather the storm, although I don’t exactly see the end of the storm.
LS: What about all those departments of race, or sexual studies, or identity?
Prof. Loury: These departments are here to stay. I’m sorry to report that. I think it was a mistake, but they’re here to stay. Let me try to defend the position that it was a mistake. The year is 1969, ‘70, ‘71, black power, and the kids are taking over the administration building, and they demand black studies.
So, you create black studies departments. Now, it’s not like there’s nothing to study, there’s a legitimate set of questions. But we all knew, and we always have known that the history department was where history was done, the political science department was where the study of government took place, the economics department stood on the shoulders of generations of reflection about economics. The university has traditions and the canon. The study of Afro-related affairs should have been vetted through the normal channels. Identity in politics should not drive that process. Sadly, what we did in the late 1960s and early 1970s was to lock in an institutional framework in the universities, such that identity in politics ended up driving that process. That was a mistake.
The Discipline of the Disciplines
LS: And Critical Race Theory?
Prof. Loury: That’s a slightly different subject. I’m not sure I understand it, but I will speculate. It’s not inconsistent with what I was saying because the discipline of the academic disciplines is what I was trying to drive toward when discussing black studies. You have to submit yourself to the discipline of the disciplines, and you also have to submit yourself to the discipline of your peers in terms of evaluation. The gates get narrower as you ascend the pyramid of human excellence. And when we start talking about MIT and Caltech, we’re talking about the top tier. The narrower the gate, the more each one of us who seeks to pass through knows and is aware of the fact that we’re being judged.
And not everybody is going to be found fit. That’s the nature of the thing – it’s elite. Why is the “identitarian” attraction so powerful? For many, it’s a way of evading the existential angst of confronting one’s own failure in the face of severe competition as you enter into elite venues when nobody knows if they are really on sure footing.
The point of a university education is to expose students to the whole vista of what is available to know about life. Students don’t know what they’re going to be after they’ve encountered that vista. So rather than doubling down on what they bring to us at 18 years old, to form their identities, we should be encouraging them to shed that and to open themselves to all these possibilities. And we’re not doing that. Affirmative action exacerbates this.
LS: Last summer the Black Lives Matter explosion along with the claims of structural racism and white privilege, went from zero to Kamala Harris for president. What happened?
Prof. Loury: God, I’m befuddled by what happened in the summer of 2020, but I’m also chastened by it because this is a deep thing about our country. I mean, there are small points. Where’s Tom Wolf when we need him? George Floyd was buried in a gold casket. There was a caisson. It was a state funeral. George Floyd – I don’t mean to disparage him, but this wasn’t Emmett Till, lynched.
So, what’s going on? This is theater. “America needs to get its knee off the neck of black people.” Come on, this is preposterous. It’s an absurdity. The Black Lives Matter movement, those riots. America will be a long time recovering from the summer of 2020 in terms of race relations.
I was deeply disquieted by what happened in the summer. This will bear bitter fruit, in my opinion.
Mainstream institutions let us down. This is why I objected when the president of my university wrote one of these silly letters mouthing the Black Lives Matter platitudes. I thought, “My God, we’re a university, and we’ve surrendered our reason and our capacity to reflect about subtle moral issues to this… We’ve now joined that movement?” It’s insulting to the intelligence and since these are precious institutions… I speak about universities, but I could be speaking about newsrooms mouthing that riots were “mostly peaceful protests.”
LS: Where did the mobs come from?
Prof. Loury: Opportunity presented itself. I remember the book by Edward C. Banfield, The Unheavenly City. He had a chapter called, “Rioting for Fun and Profit.” He pointed out it’s an opportunity if you’re 18 years old, sitting around talking to your friends and have nothing else to do. I don’t know whether there was something more systematic, I certainly can’t rule it out. It gets into conspiracy theory territory, but I don’t think you could rule it out. But I think real damage was done on the race question.
There will be a backlash. They think they’re winning, the racial radicals, the “critical race theory” people. They’re not winning. It’s a big country. There are 330 million people. There is a lot that’s going on. It’s fast moving. We’re a nation of immigrants. The Asians and Latinos, everything is changing.
The Black Middle Class
LS: There’s a very large black middle class, and we don’t hear about them. How are they doing? They seemed to be doing better under Trump, economically. The black middle class cannot possibly support looting and rioting?
Prof. Loury: Oh, don’t be so sure. That would be a little bit like saying an American Jew couldn’t possibly support the Iran nuclear deal. It seems like it shouldn’t be so, but believe me, it can happen. African Americans are the richest and most powerful people of African descent on the planet. Thirty or 40 million people – billionaires, industry-defining moguls, entertainers, and athletes who set global styles. There are artists and writers. Doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. A lot of people who are setting up businesses and so on. The United States has an extremely prosperous, extremely accomplished, large population of people of African descent.
There are problems and there are issues, and some of what affects the lower classes of the Black community creeps across the line. But on the whole, I think, there’s much to celebrate. When Gunnar Myrdal, the Swedish economist came to the U.S. in the middle of the 20th century to write about the American Negro, the typical occupation for a black man was a laborer in manufacturing or on the farm. Most black women who were working were domestic servants of one sort or another. It was a completely different world.
Now there is a tremendous demand for the services of the educated African American middle class. This is the social revolution that gave us Barack and Michelle Obama. And it’s a part of the remarkable story. When you think about it in broader terms, African Americans emerged from slavery just 150 years ago. And this population has become integrated fully, not socially integrated in terms of intermarriage, but still… And of course, there are the issues that everyone talks about in terms of disparities, but come on, we’re citizens of this Republic, we are a part of the warp and woof of America at its center. And in fact, perhaps overrepresented to some degree at its center because gatekeepers and cultural barons want to compensate for the history of exclusion.
So, the African American middle class is profoundly significant in indicating what’s possible to accomplish here in America, notwithstanding the disparities and the gaps. But the politics of it – as far as I can tell, they’re 80 percent behind the woke narratives.
Equity, Equality, + MLK
LS: When we were younger, it looked like our society was heading toward that Martin Luther King ideal of colorblindness: individual character and action, not race. And then that all seemed to go south.
Prof. Loury: The weight, the center of gravity, has shifted away from the colorblind ideal – which is a great mistake, it is a historic wrong turn. But the turn has been made. I don’t know how we go back.
What happened was that “equal opportunity” was not enough. The challenge of getting people equipped to actually compete and perform wasn’t met. Equal opportunity was not enough to bring a parity of performance about, quickly enough. And so, the latest version of this is, they play with language. We need George Orwell to protect us from these people. They don’t want to talk about equality anymore, they want to talk about equity. And you know what they’re talking about? They’re talking about covering up the fact that outcomes will not be proportionate because performance is not equal. But we’re not going to judge based on performance, we’re going to judge based on outcomes, and we’re going to jigger such that we get a parity of outcome notwithstanding the fact that we don’t have parity of performance.
The reality of the development question was too daunting. If you go color blind, you have to live with the consequences, like a law firm with a class of new partners that didn’t have any blacks in it. You’d have to live with schools like Stuyvesant [Ed. competitive high school in Manhattan] which, when they admitted a thousand kids, had 15 black kids in it. People don’t want to live with that. They prefer a security blanket of mandated “equity.” And again, I say they’re wrong.
They think they’ve got a trump card in identity, but it is as if they say, “I can’t compete. I’m not going to be able to cut it on the basis of performance. I demand because of slavery. I demand because of Jim Crow, redlining, micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation. I demand.” This is what goes on in a big newspaper, talking about what’s going to be on the editorial page. People are throwing tantrums and they’re throwing fits. This is a department in a university insisting that they don’t have enough people on the faculty who are this, or that – not based on the books that they’ve written or work they’ve done. They think they’ve got a trump card, but at the end of the day everybody knows it’s a shell game and people are being tolerated, patronized, placated, condescended to.
The Family + a New Black Movement
LS: When you talk about the development that didn’t occur, I presume you’re talking about the family.
Prof. Loury: I am talking in part about the family because that’s where human development is anchored, and about out of wedlock births and single parent families and multiple paternity. I’m not a sociologist, but there’s just a lot of child abuse, there’s a lot of domestic violence, there’s woundedness and brokenness and it affects kids. Schools can’t do everything. This is a part of it. It’s not the only thing, but it’s a part of it. And transfers of money will not solve all of these problems. Not that I’m necessarily against trying to help people who are poor, but it’s not a panacea. And policy is limited to the extent that you respect privacy and autonomy, and there are places you don’t want the state to enter, to try and govern people’s lives.
We could talk about what you can do about helping people be better parents – about supplementing the experience of early childhood with one kind of intervention or another, about various environmental, nutritional stopgaps. I don’t have a policy agenda, but yes, I would put my finger on child-rearing, on parenting, on the family, on the stability of the environment in early life. And I think the issues for the African American family are significant.
LS: Is it fixable?
Prof. Loury: It may not be. These are very large forces at work. It’s not necessarily something that can be fixed by us, meaning the entire national community. It may require a movement of us, within the black community, a mobilization that would have to be cultural and would have to be driven by an inspirational articulation of a sense of black identity. This cuts against colorblindness, so it starts to get complicated. Call it “cultural reform,” which entails changing bedrock patterns, expectations, habits, and customs within a community, such as “How do you behave inside the context of marriage?” or “Do you enter into it?” Changing that single childbearing practice and interactions between men and women.
These are very intimate things. And to mobilize on that perhaps might draw on positive black identity. I’d say, “Our ancestors didn’t bring us this far in order for us to let them down by…” This kind of talk. And that’s very sectarian. It’s very thick with groupness. And so, on the one hand, from the civic point of view, I want the nation to be a nation of laws in which people are getting the equal protection irrespective of their identity. But if I have a cultural impediment and I want to do something about it, I need to mobilize people and to draw them into the church basement. I want to write the sermon.
I want a movement for this, so that I think about my identity differently. I want a movement where people start saying how they want to live, and then start imposing those expectations on their peers. “You are not in good standing within our community if…” And this would have to have its effects in Hollywood, in popular culture; it would have to have its effect in the academy.
Myron Magnet first made this argument in The Dream and the Nightmare. He wrote something like, “America caught a cold in the ‘60s with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, throwing over everything. And the poor, the blacks at the bottom, they got pneumonia.” Because once you threw away all these guardrails and people didn’t have any resources, it was going to be a nightmare – and it has been a nightmare. That’s certainly a part of the problem, I think, that the larger culture has become so libertine. Black identity, all you have to do is look at hip hop, which is often musical genius, but it’s also not a part of the restoring the black family program that I was giving voice to a moment ago.
LS: What comes next? Give me something optimistic, or is there nothing?
Prof. Loury: The last thing I put up in my newsletter was that I’m in complete despair. And I feel like I’m just tilting at windmills and it makes me think, “This is not what you want to do if you’ve only got a limited amount of time. Try to find some pragmatic way.”
So, I am thinking concretely about prison reform. And I am teaching a class, with 20 very eager Brown undergraduates, who are furious at how stifling things are. We are reading Plato and John Stuart Mill, and we are all trying to think about the big questions.
Lisa Schiffren is political editor of White Rose Magazine.
Dr. King delivered this Iconic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963, as part of the March on Washington. Largely as a result, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.
And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: for whites only. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.