“When you insist on obligations in addition to rights, you empower people”

Why limit ourselves to the few words in the BLM platform that have to do with Jews and Israel? In the same way that BLM decided to take on Israel with a “strong stance,” why can’t the Jewish community take on all of BLM with an equally strong stance?

In other words, why don’t we look at the whole BLM movement and offer constructive criticism? In that spirit, my own criticism of BLM is that the movement lacks introspection. It’s virtually all about what others can do to make Black lives better. One can sympathize with many of its grievances and demands and yet still ask: What about the obligations of Black communities themselves? What about issues of personal responsibility?

In 2008, as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama touched on one example when he spoke candidly to a Black church congregation: “Too many fathers are M.I.A.; too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes,” he told them. “They have abandoned their responsibilities … and the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

When you insist on obligations in addition to rights, you empower people. You bring out the best in them. BLM needs to incorporate Black obligations into its platform. It would strengthen the movement and make Black lives matter even more.

David Suissa, “Tough Love for Black Lives Matter”, Jewish Journal (26 August – 1 September 2016), 8.