There are few things today that are actually what they seemed to be when we first learned about them. For example, let’s take a look at the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. It appears that both were murdered at the hands of police officers. This has led to protests and sometimes violent rioting triggered, purportedly, by excessive force used by police.
But now the prosecution of the officers as well as the defense of the officers is the task of attorneys. On video, there is little question that the police officers caused the death of these two men. But for police officers in the legal system, there is a different standard. If you or I were charged with murder we would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we did not cause the death. But police officers are held to a different standard. The prosecution must prove that an objectively reasonable officer would perceive a deadly risk to him or herself and reacted to the victim based on that risk.
Herein lies a fundamental problem. Would Officer Derek Chauvin or another reasonable officer perceive a deadly risk from Mr. Floyd? Would Officer Garrett Rolfe feel fear, which is normal and manageable or fear for his life, which would allow him to use deadly force against Mr. Brooks? This standard could mean that either or both of the policemen will be found not guilty.
So why are these men in both cases charged with a level of responsibility for the killings that the prosecution may not be able to prove in court? That is because the protesters and angry mobs that took to the street are demanding that these cops be charged with the maximum crimes. If that doesn’t happen, well, I guess we can deal with the fallout from that type of situation later.
If prosecutors in both cases were allowed to be truthful, the chances of convictions and sentences would be improved if they could only articulate the reality as it exists.
In Israel today, on an entirely different matter, we have a similar problem. Israel rightfully wants to extend Israeli law to the areas of Judea and Samaria, but they are having a problem with the world accepting the idea of what they intend to do. On the simplistic and most practical of levels, it might be best not to make any announcements or declarations but rather to quietly apply the law accordingly. It’s the press coverage, news conferences, and deadline dates that are causing all the problems.
Can you imagine what would happen if six months from today Prime Minister Netanyahu would say, “Oh, by the way, we extended Israeli law to the territories six months ago,” and then add, “Everyone have a nice day.”
What would the reaction be at that time? Will the “Shomer Israel,” the Democratic double-talker Chuck Schumer, announce that he is not recognizing the Israeli move retroactively? I mean, let’s ask ourselves for a moment — do residents of Maale Adumim or Ariel really need the approval of Senator Schumer? Seriously, let’s not kid ourselves.
Even alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said this week that if the Palestinians continue to refuse to negotiate, then there is no reason to wait for them and he will support the move toward extending sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
The Trump administration has expressed support for the sovereignty plan, preferably with the Palestinians on board, in a scenario that would eventually create a Palestinian state. Democrats like Mr. Schumer and presidential candidate Joe Biden profess their strong and enduring support for the state of Israel — but it is enduring with limitations. With the emergence of this sovereignty issue, it seems that not for the first or second time the support for Israel of late is more theoretical or philosophical than practical and the realization of the full geographic and rightful state as we know it.
As you can see, it is much easier for politicians to support something conceptually rather than put their name and full belief behind something solid and real like the biblical land of Israel.
On that account, in the United States it is easy to join the voices that call for the defunding or complete dissolution of police departments in our major cities, so long as you don’t really mean it. Yes, you can be for defunding the police, but actually doing it so that crime spikes and people are harmed is a completely different story.
Defunding police forces can be exercised in multiple meaningless directions. Don’t be surprised if you find out that New York City police officers are allocated money for two pairs of shoes annually, and that now, at the direction of Mayor de Blasio, they will be allowed only one pair of shoes going forward. Essentially, that can be presented to the public as reducing police expenditures.
In New York, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that he is doing away with the 600 undercover police officers, and that the men and women of those units will be reassigned. Asked how they would be utilized going forward, the commissioner said they would be used for drug interdiction and surveillance. That’s interesting, because that was what plainclothes cops were mostly used for in the past.
Back to the Israel situation, who out there in the Arab world or in the U.S. Congress genuinely believes that these areas of Judea and Samaria are a place in which Israel is only located temporarily? So annexation or the extension of Israeli law in these areas is really nothing more than a manifestation of a reality that has already existed for many decades. This is a classic case of what is involved in articulating a reality that everyone already knows exists and that nothing can possibly change.
So in effect, saying or explaining something can do more damage in this case, where this very reality already exists on the ground.
Pirkei Avos, which we study each Shabbos over the summer, states: “Say Little and Do Much.” That might be the best advice in the current U.S. police crisis and in the brewing issue of the Netanyahu commitment to finally do the right thing and extend Israeli law to the territories.
Contact Larry Gordon at email@example.com. Follow 5TJT.com on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.