In this horrifying era in which we live; when vast polarization, bigotry and discrimination seem to pervade every corner of our societal existence, a scourge that we are all too familiar with has once again reared its vitriolic head.
African American anti-Semitism is most definitely not a new phenomenon but it appears that as of late it has re-emerged as though it was on steroids. Seems like everywhere we turn, we find another black celebrity, athlete, TV commentator, preacher and performer just blowing their collective mouth off with insidious and hate filled comments that are squarely directed at Jews.
Let’s not assume a patently naïve posture on this issue. Black anti-Semitism has experienced its share of vicissitudes over the decades, but it has always been simmering at the surface. One might be surprised to hear that any animosity at all would emanate from African-Americans since so very much of their experience as “racial outsiders” essentially parallels the Jewish immigrant experience of being “the religious outsider.” Despite the assumption of a real “black-Jewish partnership” since the Martin Luther King civil rights era of the 1960s one has for all intents and purposes not existed.
In 1970, the JDL and the Black Panthers were mixing it up on the streets of New York City because of an “outrageous explosion of anti-Semitic hatred” by the Panthers, according to a May 1970 JTA report.
Black anti-Semitism got a shot in the proverbial arm in 1983 when civil rights leader Jesse Jackson decided to throw his hat in the ring and seek the nation’s highest elected office.
It was then that Reverend Jackson, an ostensible man of G-d called Jews “Hymies” and referred to New York City as “Hymietown.” He also said that Jews were willing to share decency with blacks during the civil rights movement but that they were not willing to share in the economic benefits that they achieved.
In the 90s, the Reverend Al Sharpton reared his antagonistic head and spewed forth his own bizarre concoction of Jew hatred as the Crown Heights riots threatened to tear New York City and its racial equilibrium asunder.
During the Obama administration the Black Lives Matter movement insisted on blaming Jews for their grievances with either their local police forces or the manner in which they lived.
So, anyone with eyes to see and ears that hear can grasp the fact that a less than acceptable background of hatred, despite constant efforts to mend fences and create unity.
Recently, NBA star, LeBron James, (a man who many of our youth look up to as a role model of a decent, fair minded citizen) posted on Instagram the lyrics to a song by the rapper 21 Savage.
One line of the song particularly interested Mr. James and that was the one that reignited the oldest and most dastardly canard in the books. One the anti-Semitic tropes that has been used incessantly has focused on Jews having “all the money” and controlling the world and everything that is in it with this purported “treasure trove.” As such. Mr. James proudly posted, “We been getting that Jewish money, everything is Kosher.”
Mr. James subsequently apologized, claiming that he was unaware of the historical context of the slur. He is now being given a “pass’ by the NBA and James is not being sent for sensitivity training.
The African American novelist Alice Walker who penned “The Color Purple” has also hit the headlines but not to offer her readership another searing, compelling and powerful novel.
Two weeks ago, on the pages of the New York Times, Walker proudly publicized and even embraced a book known as “And the Truth Shall Set You Free” that was written by the ubiquitous UK Jew hater David Ickes.
If that were not enough to turn our stomachs, the Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory has defended the fact that she throws her support behind the notoriously anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. It should also be noted that Farrakhan is a misogynist as well and a reprehensible homophobe to boot. Why Ms. Mallory would choose to defend such a racial provocateur is indeed a surprise.
And let’s remember that such elected officials as California congresswoman Maxine Waters has also attended rallies given by Farrakhan and has given him the thumbs up.
As the most egregious forms of anti-Semitism continue to increase at an alarming rate, we at the Jewish Voice continue our efforts to reach out to those in the African American community and all minority communities to form alliances that will be mutually beneficial. We stand ready to fight racial and religious hatred everywhere and anywhere.
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