The latest strategy being used by those who make a career of assaulting the good name of the State of Israel is to link the issue of full equality for African-Americans, as symbolized by the word “Ferguson,” with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There is a long history of using legitimate American social justice issues to undermine the Jewish state. We saw it during the Vietnam War, where small contingents linked opposition to the war to opposition to Israel. We saw it in protests against the war in Iraq, which some linked to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. We saw it during the Occupy Wall Street movement, when some targeted Israel as well as the financial system.
There is, however, no rational connection between the challenge of racism in America and the situation facing the Palestinians.
In America, the history of racism has been our great sin — whether it was slavery, segregation, lynchings, institutionalized discrimination, racial profiling. The list is painfully long. Of course, we have come a long way, as represented by the commemorations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the march on Selma.
But the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and barometers highlight that we still have a long way to travel on the road to justice in America. Getting there requires much work from all segments of society so we may live up to the ideals of equality that are at the core of this nation’s values.