I saw something on Facebook the other day that rubbed me the wrong way. Now, depending on who your ‘Facebook friends’ are, you can encounter lots of disagreeable material on Facebook, but this was different. Many people whom I like and admire reacted to the increasing number of Arabs brutally murdering Jews on the streets of Jerusalem and its outlying areas by posting, “Israeli lives matter.”
I love and appreciate that these people, both Jewish and Christian, want to show support for Israel and the Jewish people. Social media, with its hashtag and slogan mentality is largely where our society interacts today. My instinctive, negative reaction may be completely wrong. Still, “Israeli lives matter,” doesn’t resonate with me.
Politicians regularly exaggerate and speak in hyperbole. America’s current President goes beyond that; he blatantly propagandizes. He talks of things like building a transparent administration or about working across the aisle that he knows are untrue. HIs stock in trade is disinformation, reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. One of the damaging effects of his presidency is an increase in the corruption of language.
When, back in 2014, Michelle Obama held up a sign reading, “#Bring back our girls,” that was a way to do nothing while getting kudos for being sympathetic. Boko Haram still has the girls and the First Lady’s sign leads overseas to mockery of America. Secular liberalism speaks of universality while pigeon-holing everyone by race, income, gender and a constantly increasing list of criteria. It pits people against each other while piously decrying bigotry.
The ‘Black Live Matter’ movement enriches demagogues and empowers politicians while impoverishing and destroying African-American communities. It is easier to make people angry and to convince them that they are blameless victims, rather than to have serious and uncomfortable conversations. Discussing corruption and decay among the police, corruption and decay in teachers’ unions and the public education system, self-destructive cultures that produce fatherless boys and dozens of other issues all get pushed aside while shouting three obfuscating words.
‘Black lives matter,’ inevitably produced ‘Police lives matter.’ I understand the impetus for a counter-slogan, but in the final analysis, exchanging buzzwords promotes conflict while ignoring the real work that needs to be done. ‘Israeli lives matter’ encourages the growth of a ‘Palestinian lives matter’ movement, supporting the concept of moral equivalence.
For this reason, I am uncomfortable with joining the ‘X lives matter’ movement. Our culture loves to sound virtuous without the messy business of acting virtuously. I know that those who are saying, ‘Israeli lives matter’ are appalled, as I am with the world’s double standard. Like me, I hope they are horrified at Europe and America’s inviting refugees carrying suitcases full of hatred and violence into their countries. I’m sure that most of these people support Israel with money, time and their votes. Still, I worry that adopting mantras reduces us as a society, allowing us to pretend we are reacting to serious issues with an ephemeral tap of our fingers.
Yet, social media is where our society interacts. I may be completely wrong. What do you think?