Tabletmag: American Racist: A Q&A with Kevin MacDonald, the country’s most influential white identitarian ideologue

David Samuels, who normally publishes great work, fails to advance the Kevin MacDonald story one inch. What a waste. A day after publication, nobody but me has written about this story (except for a few mentions on Twitter).

Tablet refused to consider any of Nathan Cofnas’s penetrating essays on Kevin MacDonald, instead they publish this nothing burger by the husband of Tablet’s Editor Alana Newhouse. David apparently hasn’t even read the Cofnas critique (he links to an article by Cofnas responding to Ed Dutton’s critique of the Cofnas critique).

Samuels writes: “Rural Oregon has many of the same problems as any American inner city, except it is overwhelmingly inhabited by people with white skin.” He provides no evidence for this assertion. How on earth does rural Oregon resemble American inner cities? By which metrics?

Medford averages fewer than a murder a year. That’s hardly inner-city levels. What’s the crime rate in rural Oregon? What’s the percentage of felons there? What’s the average education level? What’s the average IQ level? What’s the out of wedlock birth rate? Is it close to inner city life or not? Or is Samuels just lying? The evidence says he’s lying.

He seems to hate the goyim and that may motivate his bizarre lies about rural Oregon. Report: “According to SafeWise, Oregon is well below the national rates for both property and violent crime. The national crime rate is 4.49 incidents per 1,000 people. Oregon has an average of 1.43 incidents per 1,000 people. The city with the lowest violent crime rate was Monmouth, which ranked the third-safest on the list.”

Oregon is 85% white and 2% black. According to Wikipedia, “As of 2015, Oregon ranks as the 17th highest in median household income at $60,834.” That’s hardly an inner-city rate of household income.

Steve Sailer tweeted out this interview: “David Samuels is a pretty great interviewer: e.g., his interview of Edward Luttwak. Samuels managed to get Matthew Weiner of “Mad Men” to sound off embarrassingly on how oppressed he had been by Gentile Privilege growing up in luxurious Hancock Park.”

DissidentJ responds: “What parts of the interview did you find most interesting? What did Samuels elicit from KMac that was particularly notable?”

Sailer: “I haven’t read it. I’ve read lots of other Samuels articles. He’s a unique voice.”

David Samuels writes:

Kevin MacDonald is a retired professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach who has authored seven books about evolutionary theory and child development. MacDonald, who currently lives in Medford, Oregon, but is thinking about moving to Maine, is best known for a trilogy of books published between 1994 and 1998—A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Separation and Its Discontents, and The Culture of Critique. In those books, he proposed that Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy that allows Jews to out-compete rival social groups. The specifics of the Jewish strategy on American soil, MacDonald wrote, include encouraging mass immigration and promoting cultural relativism and multiculturalism—which he describes as ideological tools that Jews use to fracture the organic cohesion of their white Christian host culture. MacDonald’s theories and writing inspired the slogan “the Jews will not replace us” which energized the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

There are plenty of people who might argue that giving a platform to MacDonald, who speaks in soft, scholarly cadences but has shown little compunction about embracing Holocaust deniers and people who actively promote race-based violence between the so-called “white” race and others, is a stupid and dangerous exercise. How many more people have to die like George Floyd in Minneapolis, or the Charlottesville anti-racist demonstrator Heather Heyer, who was struck by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old white supremacist from Ohio, a group that fears being replaced by Jews, to prove that Kevin MacDonald’s words can kill people? So why not ban them?

Part of the answer can be found in Medford, which is a midsize city about two hours from Portland by plane. The surrounding vineyards and fantastic pear and peach orchards also provide a hospitable growing climate for marijuana, which is fast becoming the state’s largest cash crop, and provide a measure of employment to the city’s floating population of Oxycontin and methamphetamine addicts. Spend a day here, and it is not hard to see why Kevin MacDonald’s obsessions appear to be gaining traction among both white supremacists and some elements of the progressive left, among privileged urban whites as well as the urban poor.

Rural Oregon has many of the same problems as any American inner city, except it is overwhelmingly inhabited by people with white skin. Their problem isn’t police violence or structural racism but a more general collapse of the bonds that hold families and communities together, under the pressure of a new high-tech form of serfdom, with a class of extremely wealthy techno-oligarchs at the top and broad masses of dependents below. It is less frightening to imagine that some sinister person or group—the Jews, or white people, or black people, or Donald Trump, or Barack Obama—is responsible for the disempowerment of broad swathes of America than it is to accept the idea that our lives are being irrevocably reordered by machines.

As a reporter who has spent the past 25 years going back and forth between the lower and higher ends of the American class structure, from dog tracks and trailer parks to yacht clubs and the White House, I have encountered no shortage of racists and anti-Semites in all of these places. Yet I have found little evidence that their hatreds were the product of reading or hearing the wrong words—or that the censorship, shunning, or deplatforming of people, whether guilty or innocent of the sins they are charged with, makes even the slightest impact on what can best be understood as the social-emotional-psychological manifestations of the technologically driven reordering of the American class structure.

The solution that activists in the present moment propose, under a variety of names and rationales, is censorship—which seems to be a very effective way of identifying marginal and often disturbed purveyors of hateful manias as rebels and prophets, whose voices are so powerful that they must be silenced. The more powerfully such marginal views are repressed, the more power they seem to exert on the imaginations of their supporters, and the more power must be handed over from individuals to techno-monopolies, government surveillance agencies, and elite bureaucracies whose job it is to discipline and punish. As the lines between hateful or simply clumsy or inconvenient or unpopular ideas become progressively more difficult for even well-intentioned people to discern, and more and more people are identified as carriers of unacceptable thought, the wider social tolerance for dissenting opinions collapses, along with the entire rights-based structure that has made the progressive expansion of freedoms in America possible.

In a society divided between racists and anti-racists, openly irrational, hateful ideas are elevated to the center of public discourse. Which is, of course, exactly what people like Kevin MacDonald want.

Anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory that draws its strength in part from the root operating systems of Abrahamic culture and epistemology. In healthy societies, it generally lies dormant. When societies start to disintegrate, the virus finds room to spread, and take over. It rots people’s brains just as surely as syphilis does, by substituting a fixed, obsessive, progressively degenerative fantasy world centered around “the Jews” for the world of observable causes and effects. Arguing with anti-Semites is like arguing with crackheads or schizophrenics; if you don’t see the invisible worms crawling on their skin, they will show you a row of Ziploc baggies on the window sill and say that the worms are also in there.

What strikes me as useful, therefore, isn’t to ban anti-Semites and racists, or to attempt to argue them out of their symptoms. Rather, it is simply to know what they sound like. It was in this spirit that I agreed to meet Kevin MacDonald in Medford for a beer.

What follows is a lightly edited version of our conversation, which was conducted in a hotel lobby and then a nearby bar, throughout the course of an afternoon, when it was still normal to get on an airplane. When we were done talking, MacDonald drove me to the airport, which was kind of him. On the way there, we talked about how beautiful the summers are on the coast of Maine, and how lonely the winters can be there. In the end, I wanted to help him. But I have no idea how.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

What does that term “racial realist” mean?

Well, it means that I do believe there are race differences in things like IQ. The black students have more problems with acting out in class and discipline. They don’t achieve well academically, and they’re not going to.

Huh. Well, I don’t know about that. Many of the teachers that I was close to, who really taught me stuff, like how to write, were black.

Teachers where?

In school. In college. In graduate school at Princeton. They were black scholars, writers, academics. They taught me how to do the things I do now. None of them seemed to have low IQs, as far as I could tell. In fact, I’d say the exact opposite.

Now, I was the first American citizen in my family, and I lived in a lower-middle-income housing project in Brooklyn in the 1970s. So black people were the first real Americans that I knew. They knew the music, they knew the ropes. My first little girlfriend was black. She was really cute.

Well, I grew up in the ’60s, you know, and I got totally into jazz, I play jazz piano, and I love it, and I think it’s beautiful.

Right, but how can you say all that other stuff, then? Obviously if you listen to the great creators in that genre of music, whether you’re talking about Louis Armstrong creating jazz, or Duke Ellington, or Thelonious Monk, or Charlie Parker, you can’t look at those people and be like they lack—what? IQ points? A genetic ability to process complexity?

Charlie Parker lacked that ability? He was what, slow?

No, I don’t. Charlie Parker was—I mean, he was a genius, yes.

You played that music. It’s like a musical IQ test. So it’s hard for me to listen to you, as a person who appreciates music, like I do, and plays jazz piano, and even understand what you are trying to say.

The problem is, you know, you’ve got this black underclass and there’s been a bifurcation where the black middle class has moved out, basically, and they leave these people and they are … I don’t see what can be done about it. And it’s a problem for America because, as you said, they are as American as anybody.

They’re more culturally American than I am. They’re core Americans.

So we have to deal with that problem, but we have to deal with it in a realistic way. And realize that there are a lot of really talented black people who are creative and incredible, but, you know, there’s a problem. The black community is a problem. Big problem.

Every community has problems. Look at all the white meth-heads and Oxycontin addicts you have wandering around up here.

I know, but this is endemic, this is biologically related. IQ is so important in modern life. I mean you just can’t build a society with any kind of sophistication. You’ve got these people who can’t be educated, basically. And you’ve got an economy that’s based on high tech and computers. What are these people going to do? And they’re crime-prone.

Have you ever visited Israel?

They have a great immigration policy. Africans come in, and they throw them out, or they make life miserable for them. And many of our people, and I’ll write it—have held Israel as a model for what we should do.

But I’ve never been to Israel.

It’s very crime-prone, but it’s a great country. And when you look at the people there, one of the striking things is that, if you use your idea of race as a dominant category, it’s the ultimate multiracial society. The dominant skin tone there is an olive, coffee-colored tone, maybe, because they all intermarry, you know, and have lots of babies.

Miss Israel is Ethiopian. Really gorgeous. Very smart, too.

If there’d be an IQ test, they’re probably around 70 or worse.

Huh. I took a class in college with Richard Herrnstein, the author of The Bell Curve. Now, Herrnstein’s arguments in that book, which you seem to agree with then, are the opposite of what you identify as Jewish arguments. So how does that book by a Jew, who is now generally reviled, support the idea of a plot by Jewish intellectuals to repress the truth about group IQ?

[Laughs.] Look, it is legitimate for black writers and thinkers to see a book like The Bell Curve, and immediately have historical trauma awakened in them. Just as it’s legitimate for Jews to hear people talking about a Jewish lobby that controls the government of the United States and feel that they’re flashing back—because these are root traumas, right? They happen to people—in the Jewish case, they happened to people’s parents and grandparents. In the black case, people’s great-grandparents. It’s because their ethnic pride is being hurt. But I have to look at the reality and I think it’s overwhelming.

Is it pride, or is it a legitimate fear, rooted in history and personal experience? Like, “I get a bad feeling when you talk about gassing Jews because my grandparents were gassed to death.” Or, “your talk about low group IQ reminds me of a time when my recent ancestors were owned and sold like livestock.”

Yeah. I understand. I understand it. It’s just that you have to understand our interests too, right? I mean, the fact is our interests are being compromised by the idea that there are no racial differences.

Because, every time something goes wrong, every time blacks don’t do well, “Well, it’s because the white race did this or that.” We are blamed for every failure of blacks as a group. It’s not fair; it’s not real. So people need to understand our point of view too.

I spent a bunch of time at Cold Harbor Laboratory a few years ago, interviewing James Watson—

This is before he did his heresy on black IQ?

No. It was afterwards. Watson posed a problem for people because they wanted to exile him for his various idiocies and quirks. At the same time, he discovered DNA, so it was always possible that he could maybe also cure cancer – so you don’t really want to send him to a re-education camp.

Watson’s big fixation was that he loved to talk about group traits. He told me, “You’re an Ashkenazi Jew from Russia, David, and so you’re among the smartest group of people in the world.” To which I answered, “My uncle Myron used to have a saying about the Jews. He said, ‘They’re the smartest dumb people in the world.’”

The dumbest people in the world?

The smartest dumb people in the world. Which is how I feel about Jews. I mean, is there is a difference in group IQ between Ashkenazi Jews and other groups of people? Statistically, yes. But that’s also true of a bunch of other population groups throughout the world, like Nigerians from whatever tribe it is that moves to Long Island and gets perfect SAT scores.

Jews were the first real advocates of blacks in America, the NAACP, the whole thing was basically a Jewish organization. In the ’60s, you know, you had black nationalists who were anti-Jewish to some extent. And there was a history of blacks not liking Jews, you know. But the Jewish community was definitely a vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement. It was pushed by the organized Jewish community, which was extremely powerful.

Man, I wish I could take you on a tour of the shabby offices that make up this world of the all-powerful Jewish organizations like the ADL and the Bnai Brith. Even the phrase “organized Jewish community” itself is funny to me. Those people couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag.

It doesn’t seem organized to you?


You don’t think Jews have that much influence or power in America?


I meet many Jews who can’t stand the ADL. Nor does the ADL have any particular means of disciplining people who disagree with their political positions.

But they have power.

Compared to the American Association of Trial Lawyers or ATT? They don’t have much power.

All the ADL does with their tiny amount of influence is, in effect, decide what can be discussed publicly. Social media companies such as Youtube claim they consult with a wide range of experts, but in the end, they simply legislate most of the ADL’s agenda.

Who were these amazing black professors David had? What did they teach him? What was so special about it? What was the special gnosis they conveyed?

David Samuels says about blacks: “They’re more culturally American than I am. They’re core Americans.”

Really? He really thinks that or is he just trying to troll? It’s absurd to argue that blacks are the core Americans. On what basis would he make that claim? That they have made disproportionate contributions to jazz? Blacks certainly don’t feel like core Americans. That’s why black nationalism is so appealing to many blacks, precisely because they do not feel as American as they feel black (just like some American Jews feel far more Jewish than American). The black civil rights movement developed out of a widespread feeling among blacks that were not counted as real Americans with equal rights.

It is wildly irrational to expect minorities to feel the same level of patriotism as the majority.

Miss Israel is not Ethiopian. That happened seven years ago. From Wikipedia: “Yityish “Titi” Aynaw (Hebrew: טיטי איינאו‎; Amharic: ይታይሽ አየነው; born 23 June 1991) is an Israeli model, television personality, and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Israel 2013. She is the first Ethiopian Jew and black Israeli to win the contest.[1][2] As Miss Israel, Aynaw represented Israel at the Miss Universe 2013 competition, although she did not place.”

I have no idea if she is “very smart.” On what basis would Samuels argue that? A cursory Google search on her name does not include any evidence that she is “very smart.” It seems like special pleading by Samuels to say she’s “really gorgeous” and “very smart.” Why would anyone think otherwise of a Miss Israel winner?

Blacks don’t need special pleading. They have a proud history of accomplishment. They have made disproportionate contributions in many fields from writing to pop culture to sports to rhetoric.

Is Samuels arguing that Ethiopian Jews have successfully integrated into Israel? That is absurd. From Wikipedia: “Due to the oral nature of rural living in Ethiopia, illiteracy was very common (according to one estimate, 90% among adults aged 37 and above)… Due to the lack of work qualifications, high unemployment is widespread: In 2005, the unemployment rate was 65% amongst those over the age of 45… the average rate of educated people amongst the Beta Israel community is still smaller than that of the general Jewish youth, and this factor delays the emergence of a larger middle-class group of Ethiopian origin in the Israeli society. Despite this, in 2005, 3000 students graduated of higher education institutions, and 1,500 others graduated at the university.[24] Nevertheless, even the academic graduates often experience trouble finding a job… Low educational attainment, modest standards of living, and the occasionally isolated places of residence may explain the development of delinquency among the Beta Israel youth: In 2005, its rate was three times higher than the rate of the other Israeli youth… A study published in 2012 found that members of the Beta Israel community earn 30%-40% less than Arab citizens of Israel, who are themselves considered as an under-privileged group.”

This 2018 Jerusalem Post article indicates Israel is not looking eager to bring in more Ethiopians. “Will Ethiopian aliya be delayed yet again? Yacimovich: Racism is why Ethiopians immigration is happening so gradually.”

Shmuel Rosner writes: “Ethiopian Israelis are poorer than other Israelis, they are less educated, they are overrepresented in jails, they often feel alienated from Israel’s larger society. Many of them live in problematic neighbourhoods. They study in problematic schools, or are sent to dead-end educational programs. A vicious cycle is at play for many of them. Parents who cannot guide their offspring. Offspring that are tempted by criminal elements. Schools that see no future for these kids, who have no resources with which to overcome the many obstacles they face. A police that have all the statistics with which to prove that suspecting a young Ethiopian walking in the street at night is actually sensible. So every Ethiopian becomes a suspect. Because of his skin color he is easily identified, and harassed. Then he becomes even more alienated.”

New York Times: “The Israeli correction authorities do not provide ethnic or racial breakdowns of prisoners, but Ethiopian activists recently told a parliamentary committee that about 30 percent of the juveniles in Israeli prisons were of Ethiopian descent. A government official who asked not to be named to discuss a politically sensitive topic said the figure was actually about 15 percent to 20 percent. Yet that is still disproportionately high considering that Ethiopian-Israelis make up less than 2 percent of the country’s population of about 8 million…”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: “Just over half live below the poverty line. They are underrepresented in public service and overrepresented in jail. Forty percent of those held in the Ofek prison — a jail for minors — are of Ethiopian extraction, far above their 2% representation in Israeli society.”

Richard Lynn writes in his book, The Chosen People: A Study of Jewish Intelligence and Achievement:

Jewish children scored much higher than the other three groups on verbal ability, about the same as the Chinese on reasoning and numerical abilities, but below the Chinese on spatial ability. It appears, therefore, that the European Jews have particularly strong verbal ability and somewhat less strong reasoning and numerical abilities, but their spatial ability is not nearly so good, not only compared with Oriental Jews but also with other racial groups, namely, Chinese, Blacks, and Puerto Ricans. This pattern of European Jewish abilities confirms the theory that these abilities evolved because they found a niche in Europe as money-lenders and tax farmers, for which verbal, reasoning, and numerical abilities were required, and were excluded from the craft occupations for which spatial ability is required…

The Ethiopian Jews in Israel have all the characteristics of a low IQ population. They are a social problem and “make up one of Israel’s poorest communities” (Clayton, 2000, p. 12).

“Many are not equipped with sufficient language, professional and social skills for Israeli society. There is a large proportion of Ethiopians living in relative poverty, and many do not or cannot improve themselves; the number of high school drop-outs as well as crime figures among the young are rising significantly…. In the 1990s, Ethiopian youth gangs made their appearance, terrorizing shopkeepers and neighborhoods.”

Ethiopian Jews identify with an “aggressive and semi-criminal African-American youth culture” and have become “a kind of ethnic underclass” (Abbink, 2002, p. 13).

A report on the social problems of the Ethiopian immigrants has been issued by the Brookdale Institute (2004) based on a survey of about 15,000 Ethiopians in eight Israeli cities. The principal findings were: (1) In 2004, Ethiopians accounted for 4.1 percent (933 of 22,839) of juvenile crimes—double the proportion of Ethiopians in Israel’s youth population. (2) Each Ethiopian immigrant costs the taxpayers about $100,000 over the course of his or her lifetime. (3) Thirty percent of the Ethiopian family units are single-parent families compared with nine percent for Israel (Lazin, 2002). (4) Ethiopian Israelis have a school dropout rate of six percent, compared to four percent among the general Jewish population. (5) At age 17, some 25 percent of Ethiopians in 2002 were not in schools under the auspices of the Ministry of Education compared to about 15 percent of all 17 year-old Israeli youth. (This statistic is based on data from the Ministry of Education on the number of Ethiopian students in school and on estimates from the Central Bureau of Statistics on the size of the age cohorts.)

(6) Poor school achievement: according to the national achievement tests of the Ministry of Education in 2002, some 75-80 percent of the Ethiopian children in fifth and eighth grades were below the national average in English, Science, Mathematics, and Hebrew. A national study was conducted in 2000 for the Ministry of Education on achievements of Ethiopian children in fifth, eighth, and 11th grades. It found that the average achievement scores in Mathematics and Hebrew of Ethiopian children are 60-70 percent of the average of all Jewish children in the fifth grade and declined to 40-60 percent of the average in the 11th grade. Data from the national evaluation survey of 2003 found that the average scores of Ethiopian children aged three in language and basic concepts were some 70 percent of the scores of all Israeli children. At ages five, six, and eight, the average scores of Ethiopian children in language skills were 62 percent, 56 percent, and 43 percent of the average scores of Israeli children, respectively. In mathematics, the scores of Ethiopian children at ages five, six, and eight were 65 percent, 60 percent, and 39 percent of the average scores.

(7) High School Matriculation Exams: Ethiopians do poorly in the matriculation exams taken at the end of high school, which are the basis for acceptance to higher education. Table 11.18 shows pass rates for 2003 for Ethiopian and for all Israeli 17-year-olds for the matriculation pass rate (Level 1) and the higher-level pass rate (Level 2) required for university entry. Thirty-one percent of Ethiopians achieved a Level 1 pass compared with 52 percent of all Israeli students, while 13 percent of Ethiopians achieved a Level 2 pass compared with 45 percent of all Israeli students.

The authors of the report comment: “These findings reinforce the need for a greater effort to enhance the educational achievement of Ethiopian Israelis and reduce the educational gaps. At the same time the findings also point to an opportunity. They reveal that there is a large group who has successfully passed the matriculation exams, yet not at the level that meets university requirements. There is a high probability that with extra assistance they can take this significant additional step ahead.”

(8) Employment rates: in 2003, about 45 percent of Ethiopian men age 18-64 were employed. This is a decline from 54 percent in 1995-1996. This decline reflects the growing difficulties that unskilled workers have experienced in Israel in the last decade. Among women of the same ages, there was an increase in employment from 24 percent in 1995-1996 to 32 percent in 2003. This reflects a significant increase in the number of women looking for work, which is particularly influenced by their length of stay in Israel. Indeed, along with the increase in those employed, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Ethiopian women who were looking for work but still unemployed. The authors of the report comment: “There is a serious concern that the immigrants may develop a reliance on public assistance rather than becoming integrated into the labor force.”

(9) Family structure and size: some 60 percent of Ethiopian families have five or more children (ages 0-18); 20 percent of families with children are single parent; a large percentage of single-parent families have three or more children.

(10) Hebrew proficiency: about 45 percent of Ethiopian parents are unable to hold a simple conversation in Hebrew, and most (about 75 percent) are unable to read or write simple Hebrew. This is true even of a large proportion of those who have been in the country for a relatively long time.

(11) Demographic status: some measures obtained in a 1995 survey of the socioeconomic status of Ethiopians compared with all Israelis are summarized in Table 11.19. Rows 1 through 4 show the low levels of education of the Ethiopians. Row 5 shows the higher percentage of single-parent families (18 percent compared with 10 percent). Row 6 shows that 41 percent of Ethiopian children were being raised in families without an earner and were therefore dependent on welfare support, compared with only nine percent of all Israeli children.

(12) Delinquency: the most reliable data on the delinquency rate of Ethiopian children are for 1996, when a police file was opened for 2.6 percent of Ethiopian children, as opposed to 1.4 percent of non-Ethiopians. It was found that Ethiopian children become delinquent at an earlier age and have more offences on average than do non-Ethiopian offenders.

(13) Military service: the report notes, “the serious problems of Ethiopian families impact on Army service…and about 25 percent do not complete their Army service.” (It does not give the corresponding figure for all Israelis.) The authors of the report conclude:

“There are a number of worrying trends among Ethiopian youth. The special characteristics and challenges facing Ethiopian families place many of them in risk situations. About half the families are known to the social service departments and receive assistance for a variety of needs, ranging from household equipment to help with difficulties in the functioning of the family. Because of the difficulties facing the families, the percentage of Ethiopian children known to the social services is three times the percentage found in the general population, reaching a third of all Ethiopian children. In light of the special difficulties faced by the immigrants from Ethiopia, Israel adopted a strategy of affirmative action and from the beginning provided special assistance beyond that available to other immigrants. This is consistent with the overall framework of differential assistance to immigrant groups within absorption policy in Israel.”

The authors of the report fail to note the low IQ of the Ethiopian immigrants and that this goes a long way toward explaining the social problems of poor educational attainment, high unemployment, single motherhood, and high rates of crime. There is considerable reluctance to acknowledge, or even mention, the low IQs of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Girma Berhanu is an Ethiopian working at Goteborg University in Sweden who has attempted to analyze why the Ethiopian Jews do poorly at school. He contends that the problem is that “Ethiopian students are in a state of identity crisis as they grapple with two cultural systems and structures of meaning which confuse their sense of direction.

“In the process, meaningfully propelled learning dispositions and an affectively driven urge to achieve scholastic excellence deteriorate. Thus, the lagging academic performance of these children is partly caused by the school system, which has little knowledge of the way these children and their parents feel and think in terms of identity, belongingness and negotiation of meaning. It is not that Ethiopian students are unmotivated; they work hard to achieve excellence. It is more that the process of learning a new code of behavior, values and school culture is taking place rapidly without the original culture’s active participation as a basic link and a vehicle for further learning.” (Berhanu, 2005, p. 51)

The Ethiopian Jews have several of the characteristics of the Black underclass in the United States and Britain, including low average IQs, poor educational attainment, and high rates of unemployment, single motherhood, crime, and HIV infection (Pollack, 1993). The Ethiopian Jews have become ghettoized because many white Jews prefer not to live in communities with a large number of black Jews (Lavin, 2000)…

It has not proved possible to find anyone of any distinction produced by the Ethiopian Jews.


An estimated 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but while they are supposed to be full citizens with equal rights, their community has continued to face widespread discrimination and socio-economic difficulties, according to its leaders.

A recent decision – as reported by local media – by 120 homeowners not to sell or rent their apartments to Israeli-Ethiopian families has brought discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel back into the spotlight.

Lack of awareness and skills also makes Ethiopian Israelis easy to employ on lower-than-average pay. They are often desperate to find a job and willing to work under difficult circumstances.

“Ethiopians are an easy catch for manpower agencies,” Wyler said. “They are allowed to hire employees for up to a year without providing social security under Israeli law, so they fire them after 11 months, just to re-employ them again afterwards.”

…About 52 percent of Ethiopian-Israeli families live below the poverty line, compared to 16 percent among the general Jewish Israeli population. According to the Brookdale Institute for Applied Social Research, only 65 percent of Ethiopian Israelis were employed compared to 74 among the general Jewish population in 2010.

“In the area of employment, the gap between Ethiopians and other Jews has narrowed significantly,” institute director Jack Habib said. But about 60 percent of all Ethiopian families are still in a welfare programme, partly due to juvenile delinquency which is four times higher than the Israeli average, and domestic violence, which is estimated to be 2.5 times higher than the average…

In 2008, a report by the Israeli state comptroller and judge Micha Lindenstrauss found that about 20 percent of Ethiopian Israeli children do not go to school. Drug abuse among the youth is widespread, and crime rates are much higher than among the overall Jewish Israeli society.

These conditions have remained largely unchanged since the report was issued more than three years ago.

From the JewAmongYou blog:

Stupidity can be found among all races and peoples, even among Jews. For example, in “Operation Moses” the State of Israel airlifted most of the Ethiopian “Jewish” community to Israel. This was followed up, several years later, with “Operation Solomon“. The end result was, of course, a new black underclass within Israel.

Personally, I have nothing against Ethiopians; the few I have known were friendly and refined people. Many Ethiopian women also happen to be quite attractive (in my opinion); this is due to a generous amount of Eurasian ancestry among the peoples of the Horn of Africa. Mathilda writes:

Anyway, the gist of these collected DNA studies is that Ethiopians are about 40% Caucasian, and are genetically a little more closely related to Mediterranean Caucasian groups like Berbers and Arabs than Western Africans, as is shown by this twig map. The actual amount of admixture varies from one group to another, but 40% is the average of all these samples.

This is all fine and well. Unfortunately, it does not help the Ethiopians when it comes to average I.Q. My opinion is that the Caucasian migrations Mathilda speaks of took place before the increase in non-Negro I.Q.’s. According to Richard Fuerle, in “Erectus Walks Amongst Us“, there are actually selective pressures in Africa that work against high I.Q. Either way, today’s Ethiopians rank among the lowest in the world for average I.Q. According to Richard Lynn, in his book “I.Q. and the Wealth of Nations“, Ethiopia has an average I.Q. of only 63.

While it is possible that the so-called Jews of Ethiopia boast higher I.Q.’s than the gentile population, I am not aware of any such studies. Even if this is the case, and even accounting for the inevitable increase in their I.Q. due to better education, healthcare and nutrition in Israel, it is still hard to imagine them being able to compete with the Jewish citizens of Israel, whose average I.Q. is 94 (according to Lynn – and accounting for the large non-European population there).

According to The Israeli Association For Ethiopian Jews

Juvenile delinquency is growing even among children as young as 8 or 9 years old. A woman who runs a program in Beersheva to try to help children in elementary school reports that children are remaining at the malls until all hours, ditching school on a semi-regular basis, and often getting involved in petty crime. She describes this as a pattern that is spreading very quickly and involves 300 children under the age of 14 in Beersheva alone. There are also Ethiopian youth gangs in many of the cities where there is a concentration of immigrants such as Rehovot, Rishon LeZion, Netanya, Beer Sheva, Hadera etc., as well as in Tel Aviv. In neighborhoods with a high concentration of Ethiopian immigrants, we have encountered Israeli criminals actively recruiting Ethiopian youths into drug sales and other criminal activities…

… of nine schools with high concentrations of Ethiopians, there are major gaps in achievement between the Ethiopian-Israeli children and the native Israelis in all the important subjects. In another recent study of six schools, 50% of the Operation Solomon children and 48% of the children whose families came 12 years ago in Operation Moses or before (that means they were probably born here) were judged by their teachers as below their class level in reading comprehension. In comparison, 23% of the native Israeli, non- Ethiopian children were so judged by the teachers. In math, 56% of the Operation Solomon immigrant children and 51% of the Operation Moses children were seen as below class level, as opposed to 21% of the “regular” Israeli children.

Dan writes: “I don’t think Israelis are going out of their way to discriminate against the Ethiopians. They are just involved in their own life’s struggles and don’t have the time or patience to help the newer olim integrate into society. Other immigrant groups didn’t receive such coddling either. They were just expected to integrate by themselves, like the Yemenites, who also came from a primitive culture, yet found a way to blend in. Perhaps if they were exposed to the religious environment of Israel, rather than just the secular, they would not be seeking to adopt an identity they don’t really understand and is antithetical to the Jewish values that drew their parents to Israel in the first place.”

Sari Bashi writes for the AP in 1999:

JERUSALEM – Batya Tadela, a 16-year-old Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, used to be hurt and insulted when people called her “kushi,” a Hebrew word commonly used to refer to blacks.

But now, like many young Ethiopian immigrants weathering tough times, Tadela has found an unlikely source of solace, pride and identity: America’s black culture.

The fact that most of these Ethiopian teenagers have never visited the United States or even met a black American doesn’t prevent them from embracing rap music and hip-hop fashion, along with sometimes misguided stereotypes gleaned from MTV, movies and news reports.

“All the Ethiopians try to imitate the (American) blacks,” said Tadela, who emigrated from the Gondar region of Ethiopia seven years ago and lives near Tel Aviv.

Not-so-promising land

For centuries, Ethiopian Jews dreamed of reaching Israel. Much of the 65,000-member community here arrived in 1985 and 1991 through a series of dramatic airlifts. Thousands of others perished trekking through brutal conditions in the Sudan desert on the way to airlift departure points.

But for many Ethiopians, Israel has proved something less than a promised land. As a group, they remain at the bottommost rung of the country’s economic and educational ladder, still struggling to find social, religious and cultural acceptance. In addition, Ethiopian traditions of indirect communication and quiet respect are often drowned in the din of Israel’s competitive, in-your-face mainstream culture.

Nineteen-year-old Or Masrak uses a good chunk of her pay as a drugstore clerk to dance at a rap-and-reggae nightclub in Tel Aviv.

No feelings of rejection

“When we listen to black music, we don’t have to feel rejected,” she shouted over the pounding beat. “Here, we come together and learn to stand up for our rights.”

While overt racial discrimination is relatively rare, many Ethiopians feel the sting of what they see as Israeli disdain for them as newcomers from a primitive country.

Because many parents can’t provide their children with school supplies or a quiet place to study, some teens attend state-run boarding schools attended by Israeli youngsters from troubled homes. In some neighborhood grade schools, there is de facto segregation that Ethiopians feel has meant a lower standard of education.

The Ethiopians’ high-school dropout rate exceeds 17 percent, or more than double the national average, the Education Ministry says.

Young Ethiopians’ attraction to black American culture worries Ethiopian community elders, who fear teens are distancing themselves from their own traditions.

“To be Ethiopian is not `in,’ ” said Shula Mula, an activist at the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews. “But to be Michael Jackson is to be admired by Israelis.”

Media nurtures black stereotype

Most Ethiopian teenagers are familiar only with stereotypical depictions of black life in the United States: either the despair of drugs and crime or the glamour of sports and music stardom.

For most, this infatuation manifests itself in ardently following black American music and fashion. For a few, it takes the form of hard-edged racial rhetoric.

“I don’t talk to whites,” said a 16-year-old in baggy jeans and sneakers who calls himself Tupac after the slain American rapper Tupac Shakur.

“It’s a form of protest,” Ethiopian lawmaker Addisu Masala said of teens who identify with American blacks. “When a child feels that he’s not wanted here, he looks for an alternative identity.”

Younger Ethiopians see in black American culture a vibrant energy and a chance for success against the odds.

“When I see American movies that show a lot of blacks succeeding, it makes me feel good,” said Shmuel Batla, a 22-year-old cook. “If he can succeed, so can I.”

From The Forward: “…Bene Israel of India nor Ethiopian Jews. Genetic tests show that both groups are converts, contradicting their founding myths.”

Steve Sailer wrote:

Between 1984 and 1991, Israel achieved a public-relations coup by importing tens of thousands of Ethiopians who claimed to be Jews. Over the last decade, however, Israel has been taking direct action to limit its black citizens’ fertility.

Originally, Israel had banned immigration by the various sub-Saharan African tribes that claim some kind of hazy Jewish heritage, arguing that they aren’t real Jews. (Recent DNA studies suggest that Ethiopian Jews are only tenuously related to other Jews. These communities probably had a limited number of Jewish ancestors, travelers who married into the much larger local populations.)

In the fevered post-1967 ideological climate, however, Zionism was denounced around the world as racism, as the latest manifestation of white colonialism. The Jewish state hit upon the PR masterstroke of embracing its Ethiopian aspirants.

This didn’t mollify the Arabs, but the symbolism pleased a more important audience: American Jews concerned about Israel appearing racist. Unsurprisingly, this living proof that you could be Israeli and black proved immensely popular with American Jews, who showered Israel’s small community of Ethiopians with $600 million in donations.

Also unsurprisingly, the Ethiopians have proved increasingly less popular with their Israeli neighbors, who have come to view them and their children as backward and crime-prone…

In Israel, Ethiopian women have said on camera that Israeli immigration officials told them that they wouldn’t be allowed into the country without taking Depo-Provera shots. They claim to have been subsequently browbeaten into staying on the contraceptive. One study found that Ethiopian women account for 57 percent of all Israel’s Depo-Provera prescriptions.

In December, an Israeli news show recorded an Israeli nurse telling an Ethiopian immigrant that the injections are given “primarily to Ethiopian women because they forget, they don’t understand, and it’s hard to explain to them, so it’s best that they receive a shot once every three months…basically they don’t understand anything.”

Anonymous writes: “The Ethiopian “Jews” are not Jews at all. That is a scam and everyone knows it. US liberal Jews forced them on Israel. The problems with them are not stopping. There are 5000 Ethiopians in the IDF, a very small percentage, but 11% of all persons in jail in the IDF are Ethiopian. Whether you think this is due to the army or the Ethiopians depends on whether you are a US or Israeli Jew. Israel has received millions of immigrants and some from very primitive countries, but none like this before.”

Here‘s an English translation of the rebbe’s 1984 letter:

By the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson
– as published in Kfar Chabad Magazine, Volume 1079, 5 Shevat 5764 (January 28, 2004) Page 35.

[The letter the Rebbe was responding to can be read here: Part 1; Part 2.]

Baruch HaShem
12 Shevat 5744 [Monday, January 16, 1984]
Brooklyn, NY

Mr. Shmarya Rosenberg1
S. Paul, MN 55116

Shalom u’Bracha! 2

Your special delivery registered letter with enclosures dated 7 Kislev [Sunday, November 13, 1983 — two months before the Rebbe wrote this letter] was received in it’s proper time. You are raising several questions beginning with a question that is related to a complicated problem of Jewish law (“Halakha”). As is well-known and widely publicized, it is outside the scope of my duties to render Jewish legal decisions (“paskin shailot”). I can only suggest that your question be addressed to a qualified rabbinical body, like Agudat HaRabbonim. 3

Aside from this, I am surprised by the wording of your letter because I do not remember receiving any letter from you in the past. 4

Your attitude appears presumptuous and unbecoming. You demand to know why Chabad-Lubavitch representatives (“shluchim”) are not doing anything or are not doing enough, related to this problem that you are very concerned with. Not only this, but your letter is tasteless and illogical, because your questions would be no more logical if you asked a physician why he is not actively involved in a matter related to engineering.

You should know that Chabad-Lubavitch representatives (“shluchim”) have a specific mission assigned to them, which is to spread Judaism in the communities designated to them. Congressional resolutions and the like are not part of those duties that are planned for them.5, 6

Furthermore, there is very little — if anything — they can achieve in the area that interests you most. Therefore, to divert their minds and to turn their energies and their time to something not related to their mission will be wasteful and diversionary to the work that they already do superbly and with full devotion.

Equally, your claims regarding scholarships and other projects you mention in your letter are not logical and they do not fit in with the activities and duties of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions of representatives (“shluchim”).7

The impression received from your letter is that you are probably not familiar with the correct way to achieve success for the cause you are so eager to work for.

In light of the above mentioned, and because you have begun your letter with B”H [an abbreviation for Baruch HaShem, Blessed is God], it is absolutely correct for me to ask you two questions related to this matter:

1. Remember the law (“din kadima”) that the needs of the poor of your own city come first. Did all the Jews in your city receive adequate necessities to cover their Jewish [i.e., spiritual] needs? If not, why not?

2. What have you done and what are you currently doing — are you doing all you can? — to convince and encourage the Jews in your community — men, women and children — to live their lives as truly devoted Jews, Jews devoted to the Torah and its laws, fulfilling the daily mitzvot and acting as Jews? If not, why not?

Of course, there are many differences between your questions and mine. In fact, an operation to benefit the Jews of your community (along with it having precedence in Jewish law, “din kadima”) can be carried out without the necessity of assistance from the American Congress and without the approval of any foreign government. Furthermore, such an operation would undoubtedly be successful — it depends only on you and your willingness and determination to carry out such an urgent action. 8 Surely there is no need to explain to you the conditions in America — including in your state and in your city — that so very many Jews — men, women and young children — are carried away on the stream of assimilation, influenced by foreign surroundings that leads to intermarriage, etc. So many of them are lost to our people day-after-day, and, according to our sages, even the soul of one Jew is regarded as an entire world, and certainly it is so with regard to the rescue of so many of our brothers [from assimilation].

I must say that the purpose of my letter to you is not to argue with you or even to give you mussar (“moral guidance”) because I do not know you. Your letter is one of very many letters I receive and your letter does not fit in with any of them. It occurs to me that perhaps it is providential (“hashgakha pratit”), and that this gives me the opportunity to bring to your attention the fact that the many Jews nearby you have important needs and that an effort must be made to reach and save them — they have the priority, the first claim on Jews like you.

May G-d give you the correct answers to answer my questions, not for my self-indulgence but for the sake of our brethren (“acheynu b’nai yisrael”), especially the younger generation in your city, assuming that you are a resident there for at least a few years or perhaps were born there.

With The Respect That Is Fitting (“B’Kavod HaRoy”),

P.S. I would like to respectfully ask you as an additional question related to this matter: In what way can it be helpful to this issue (that you are so angry about) for you to be well-informed on what I do or do not do to benefit it?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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