Black People : From Swastika to Jim Crow: Black-Jewish Relations

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by NNQueen, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

    United States
    Feb 9, 2001
    Likes Received:

    In your opinions, do you lump all white people together or do you make a distinction between Jews and white people in general? Do you believe that Jews support our struggle? Is there any value to re-building alliances with Jews? What's your take on the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the article below:

    The story of the Black-Jewish relations in the United States is a long and complex one. Jews were among those who worked to establish the NAACP in 1909. African-American newspapers were among the first in the United States to denounce Nazism.

    In the year 2001, the tension between Blacks and Jews remains a visible symbol of America's racial divide. The history of this relationship is a tumultuous one, ironically full of ugly twists and turns interspersed with moments of real human transcendence.

    Shared Empathy

    Since the time of slavery, Blacks have in some ways identified with the Jewish experience. They compared their situation in the American South to that of the Jews in Egypt, as expressed in Black spirituals such as "Go Down, Moses." The longing for their own exodus inspired the popularity of "Zion" in the names of many Black churches. Black nationalists used the Zionist movement as a model for their own Back-to-Africa movement.

    Public lynching of Blacks in the South

    A group of American editors and publishers in Dachau are shown the corpses of prisoners during an inspection of the camp
    Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives

    Over the years Jews have also expressed empathy with the plight of Blacks. In the early 1900s, Jewish newspapers drew parallels between the Black movement out of the South and the Jews' escape from Egypt, pointing out that both Blacks and Jews lived in ghettos, and calling anti-Black riots in the South "pogroms". Stressing the similarities rather than the differences between the Jewish and Black experience in America, Jewish leaders emphasized the idea that both groups would benefit the more America moved toward a society of merit, free of religious, ethnic and racial restrictions.

    From the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, Blacks and Jews marched arm-in-arm. In 1909, W.E.B. Dubois, Julius Rosenthal, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Stephen Wise and Henry Malkewitz formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). One year later other prominent Jewish and Black leaders created the Urban League. Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington worked together in 1912 to improve the educational system for Blacks in the South.

    Thus, in the 1930s and '40s when Jewish refugee professors arrived at Southern Black Colleges, there was a history of overt empathy between Blacks and Jews, and the possibility of truly effective collaboration. Professor Ernst Borinski organized dinners at which Blacks and Whites would have to sit next to each other - a simple yet revolutionary act. Black students empathized with the cruelty these scholars had endured in Europe and trusted them more than other Whites. In fact, often Black students - as well as members of the Southern White community - saw these refugees as "some kind of colored folk."

    The unique relationship that developed between these teachers and their students was in some ways a microcosm of what was beginning to happen in other parts of the United States. The American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League were central to the campaign against racial prejudice. Jews made substantial financial contributions to many civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. About 50 percent of the civil rights attorneys in the South during the 1960s were Jews, as were over 50 percent of the Whites who went to Mississippi in 1964 to challenge Jim Crow Laws.

    Black Power and Division

    With the late 1960s came the birth of the Black Power movement, emphasizing self-determination, self-defense tactics and racial pride, and representing a radical break from the nonviolence and racial integration espoused by the Reverend Martin Luther King. The separatist rise of Black nationalism was just one of the difficulties facing the Black-Jewish alliance since the end of the Civil Rights movement. The rapid decline of American anti-Semitism since 1945, combined with the nation's continuing pervasive racism, convinced Blacks there was an insurmountable racial gulf separating the two groups. Blacks no longer perceived the division as one between the persecutors and their victims - including Jews - but between those with white skin and those with black. Through the eyes of Blacks, Jews became Whites with all the privileges their skin color won them, regardless of alliances they had in the past.

    As early as the first two decades after World War II, James Baldwin, Kenneth Clark and other Blacks encouraged liberal Jews to give up the "special relationship." This came in part from a fear that the Jews' determined belief in their bond with Blacks would eventually become offensive and, paradoxically, provoke Black anti-Semitism. The prospect of this shift was incomprehensible to Jews who believed that their own history, culminating in the Holocaust, defined them as oppressed and thus incapable of being the oppressor. And yet, as Baldwin pointed out in Georgia has the Negro and Harlem has the Jew, each time a Black person paid his Jewish landlord, shopped at a Jewish-owned store, was taught by a Jewish school teacher, was supervised by a Jewish social worker, or was paid by a Jewish employer, the fact of Black subservience to Jews was driven home.

    Jews continued to call for the maintenance of a Black-Jewish alliance despite the socioeconomic differences between the two groups. Positions hardened around such divisive issues as affirmative action in the schools, Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitic rhetoric, the Crown Heights/Harlem riots and the Million Man March - all exacerbated by the use of stereotypes in sensationalized media coverage.
  2. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

    United States
    Nov 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Dallas, TX
    Home Page:

    In the Spirit of Sankofa,

    ... All white folk are lumped together with no distinction between so-called Jews and other Whites. Not any longer, however, there was a time, as mentioned in the article when so-called Jews supported our efforts. Rebuilding with Jews would depend upon their acceptance and acknowledgement of the true originals. Both are earlier reflections, and an accurate account of the black movement occurring in the sixties; from the establishment's viewpoint.

    Peace In,

  3. wetac0s

    wetac0s Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 5, 2009
    Likes Received:
    As far as I'm concerned, Jews are just White folks with special privileges. They control Banking, Media, Hollywood, and Education - Jews have way too much power to be considered a "victim". The only reason they would want to associate themselves with certain groups is if it fits their agenda.