Tag Archives: Rabbi Daniel Weiner

OPINION: The Movement for Black Lives Honors the Radical Legacy of John Lewis

by Wendy Elisheva Somerson

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Klu Klux Klanner [sic], but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action; who paternalistically feels that he can set the time-table for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season. Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

—Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

As a longtime Jewish activist for racial justice I was appalled, embarrassed, and saddened by Rabbi Daniel Weiner’s op-ed in the Seattle Times, which, echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., reeks of devotion to order over justice. Supported by other local religious leaders, the op-ed misuses the legacy of John Lewis to attack and chastise brave local activists in the Movement for Black Lives here in Seattle.

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