What Does Ferguson Have to Do With Israel?

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By Yonatan Gordon

This headline either appears outlandish or well-founded depending on your disposition. And ridiculous as this sounds, both are true. As far as the State of Israel goes, there is no connection. But if we look a bit deeper, the Land of Israel is the epicenter for creation and everything that happens here is felt somehow, someway in the place we call “outside the land,” chutz la’aretz.

Without presuming to know the spiritual cause of the physical effect called the Ferguson (and now US) rallies and riots, some Jewish writers already have touched on an important point. And that is to an anti-semite both storylines seem like occupations. That one side is at an unfair advantage and somehow oppressing the other side.

As mentioned in my recent article written after the Har Nof massacre, when the term “occupation” is used, from a spiritual perspective, the contention has nothing to do with the civil liberties of arabs (a recent poll attested to this), but has everything to do with the contention over ownership of the Holy Land and the Holy Sites within.

So when the term “occupation” is used, and even “apartheid,” the connotation is that one group has limited access to something that the other group has. With regard to Israel, that “something” is the Holy Land that God gave the Jewish people. This is a very clear distinction, that the world should know that this is our God-given land. Period. But in America the distinction is not so clear. No one side of the debate is holy and the other not. And because everything is intermixed, there is confusion and a great need for clarification.

When there are two polarized extremes or camps, as explained in a prior article about journalism called “Talmudic Journalism,” only Torah can bring two polarized camps together. Thus the first suggestion for those involved in the Ferguson debate is that both sides learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews, the Noahide Laws.

The next lesson is to acknowledge that the racial debate is over space. That one group feels that skin color has entitled the other group to occupy a higher socioeconomic place. In the Land of Israel the fight again is against over holy space, and because of this, the State of Israel will continue to have internal conflicts and squabbles until they become 100% Torah-based (again, this was explained in the article on journalism). This is the first point of clarification, the first step that would resolve the Ferguson conflict.

The second is to take the debate beyond skin color. Stereotypes over skin color are superficial and should be overcome. There are Jew and non-Jews of all available colors. Thus instead of affirmative action being only for people of one specific group it is important that we all together take “affirmative action” to bring Moshiach.

One of the symbols used to promote affirmative action is the rainbow. First this is a clear reference to the Noahide Laws mentioned above as the seven colors of the rainbow correspond to the seven Noahide Laws, as explained in Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s book Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations. Like there are political extremes, the skin color extremes are white and black. But just as we need to internalize the conflict, to appreciate the spiritual components that can clarify and resolve the current Ferguson debate, we also need to begin going beyond a skin deep or surface layer understanding.

In colors, white is the presence of all the colors of the visible spectrum together and black the absence of color. In a secular society which praises the superficial, people that were white were considered more “light filled.” This has subsided some in recent years, but the reason to make a “rainbow coalition” is not only to include black in the workforce, etc… but to also explain how people with black skin also have light.

This may seem like an oversimplification. But while we need to now learn what it means to have light-filled skin, the starting point for any discussion is to first acknowledge the Divine truth of the Noahide Laws.

It may also appear that these thoughts are not the main story. That the most important thing is to debate over the facts. But understanding some of the spiritual dynamics are essential both to appreciating what the conflict is over and how to rectify and resolve it according to the system that God provides us in the Torah.

Thus to answer the statements that are being made, that Israel and the Jewish people are oppressors like the white police in Ferguson, the answer that Jews and non-Jews of all skin colors have their own place and role in the dynamic of creation, and the “affirmative action” to bring Moshiach. But as explained, whereas the Land of Israel is the space given to the Jewish People–the God-given space for us to occupy–the debate in America needs to be clarified, with the first step being to acknowledge the truth of the Torah and the Noahide Laws, laws that are equally applicable to all non-Jews regardless of skin color.

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