Thursday, December 12, 2019

It is way past time to talk about antisemitism in the black community

There is antisemitism on the Right.

There is antisemitism on the Left.

There is antisemitism in the Arab world.

And there is antisemitism among blacks and Hispanics.

They have some things in common, but there is no "one size fits all" for each of them.

The problem is that this last category of antisemitism is the one that no one wants to talk about. Blacks are framed as perpetual victims in the media - and in many ways they really are - but the narrative cannot accommodate the victims as being the bigots against Jews.

There was a shocking video that came out after the Jersey City shootings showing truly evil antisemitic attitudes by the black community against the Jews who live there. One hopes this is not representative - but it shouldn't be swept under the rug, either.

The good news is that black antisemitism has been steadily decreasing in recent decades. Some 37% of blacks had antisemitic attitudes in the early 1990s, but since 2007 it has been bouncing in the mid 20s:

This is still significantly higher than the antisemitic attitudes of the general population (which is still way too high at 14%.)

Hispanic Americans born in the US are somewhat less antisemitic; those born abroad much worse:

Black antisemitism has different factors. Historic views of Jews as greedy landlords and the influence of the Nation of Islam on the community are among them. Jamie Kirchick in Commentary last year identified two trends: "neighborhood" antisemitism from Jews often being the only white people inner city blacks would meet and becoming the lightning rod for all resentment, and "conspiratorial" antisemitism pushed by Louis Farrakhan and others that the Jews have control over the nation or even the weather. It is a very worthwhile article to read.

I also recommend a 1992 New York Times op-ed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. about the rise of black antisemitism at that time. He also divides up black antisemitism into two parts that roughly correspnd with Kirchick's:

We must begin by recognizing what is new about the new anti-Semitism. Make no mistake: this is anti-Semitism from the top down, engineered and promoted by leaders who affect to be speaking for a larger resentment. This top-down anti-Semitism, in large part the province of the better educated classes, can thus be contrasted with the anti-Semitism from below common among African American urban communities in the 1930's and 40's, which followed in many ways a familiar pattern of clientelistic hostility toward the neighborhood vendor or landlord.
Gates exposes how black pseudo-intellectuals were able to provide the "new anti-semitism" with a veneer of respectability, including the Nation of Islam's influential and utterly false book about the supposed Jewish slave trade.

He concludes eloquently:
Bigotry, as a tragic century has taught us, is an opportunistic infection, attacking most virulently when the body politic is in a weakened state. Yet neither should those who care about black America gloss over what cannot be condoned: that much respect we owe to ourselves. For surely it falls to all of us to recapture the basic insight that Dr. King so insistently expounded. "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality," he told us. "Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." How easy to forget this -- and how vital to remember.
Black antisemitism has different sources than other strains, and it requires different methods to fight it. It cannot be fought unless it can be admitted and discussed. And this is where the Left, who claim to care so much about antisemitism, has failed terribly.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.