Decades ago, too long ago for most of us to remember, Jews and African-Americans enjoyed a close strategic alliance. The marriage broke up horribly. Blacks felt that they had been dealt with paternalistically, and also resented a relationship that was one-sided. The Jews were doing the giving; they could not reciprocate. (The mussar seforim speak about how people, when they cannot discharge an obligation, will come to deny that obligation rather than deal with the crushing weight of the debt.) Jews, watching this, felt that they had been kicked in the rear by ingrates. The relationship ended, at least on anything close to its previous scale.
Watching the return of open racism during this presidential campaign (with blacks, Latinos and Jews all targeted), some people scratched their heads. Shouldn’t the old alliance be resurrected?
Last night I learned that it could be. A room full of a mix of blacks and Jews enjoyed each other’s company, besides honoring a project that brought them together. Perhaps the African-Americans sensed the new reality. This time around, an embattled Israel and her supporters needed them more than they needed the Jews. Perhaps that is the new equalizer.
Whatever the case, the easy, comfortable conversation was a throwback to a much earlier time. That conversation was laden with expectation that, at least in Los Angeles, some new bridge-building had moved from the drawing board to the construction stage.
The other thing I learned is that we inadequately train our rabbis in public speaking. If they want to do it well, they need to listen to black preachers.
There never was a close alliance between blacks and Jews. There have been at various times, a strategic alliances between various members of the coalition of the fringe against the white core.
You can’t find two groups more dissimilar than blacks and Jews. Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ of around 110 while American blacks have an average IQ of 85. These two groups are like oil and water. They will never mix.
Black oratory is based upon appeals to emotion aimed at the 85 IQ crowd. Judaism is a cerebral religion aimed at a high IQ crowd. I’m not sure rabbis can learn much from studying black preaching.
Blacks and Jews have different interests. On occasion, they can form a strategic alliance, but they are fundamentally different peoples.
Blacks have no fundamental interests in Israel just as Jews have no fundamental interests in blacks. The occasional black or Jew for whatever reason may take an interest in the other, but the two groups have fundamentally different interests.
Political scientist Robert Weissberg explained “The Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” in a year 2000 talk at the American Renaissance conference:
If you looked around our cultural landscape and tried to find two groups with different values that venerate different things, who worship at different altars, it is hard to find two groups more different than blacks and Jews. Jews are obsessed with education, blacks destroy it. If you’ve gone to school in the inner city, you know that not only do they hate the idea of learning, but they assault their teachers and physically destroy their schools.
When blacks move into a neighborhood, the first people out are Jews. Jews did not invent white flight but we perfected it. As far as intermarriage and social exchange, there’s almost zero. They just don’t mix. Jews are not into crime. The sorts of things that blacks specialize in — muggings, assaults, rapes — are not a Jewish predilection.
How Jews really relate to blacks is something Jews hardly talked about except when they are amongst themselves. When Jews get together in a safe place and talk about blacks, they will use the term “schvartze.” When you go to Leo Rosten’s Joys of Yiddish, he’s very careful in what he says. With “schvartze”, he becomes tight-lipped. “A black person, a negro.” That does not begin to depict what the term means among Jews. There may be a degree of affection, as in, ‘I hear Mrs. Schwartz got a new schvartze.’
It is not necessarily a negative word. It’s not the same thing as nigger. If you inserted the word ‘nigger’ to achieve some lexiconic variety, Jews would be genuinely offended. There can even be a degree of affection in schvartze. As in, ‘Ahh, I heard Mrs. Schwartz got a new schvartze. Oh, how nice.'”
When you use the term ‘schvartze’, it always implies cognitive inferiority. The mental picture of a stupid black embedded in the term schvartze is true even with pro-civil rights [liberal] Jews… Adding the phrase ‘dumb schvartze’ is superflous, reserved only used for the most egregious stupidity. Invisible baggage likewise includes gullibility, emotional excitability, and a weakness for here-and-now conspicuous consumption. Violence, especially inter-personal, alcohol-induced mayhem, is also associated with schvartze. The image that comes to the mind with Jews when you say ‘schvartze’ is simple-minded, impulsive, easily seduced by trinkets. This is extremely close to the traditional Southern image of blacks, almost identical to what many Southerners would privately say about blacks… This is continually reinforced by daily experience, such as in integrated public schools.
We had a procession of cleaning ladies [in New York]. Growing up, I honestly believed that all black people come from a thing called The Agency. We’d hire black cleaning ladies and invariably they’d steal and drink the liquor and my mother would come back and say, ‘I’m calling up The Agency and getting another.’ Very few Jews of my generation had any other contact. We had a procession of handymen and cleaning people come to my house.
It was always believed that any Jew can ultimately out-smart any schvartze except save being confronted by a demented gunman. Despite immense cultural chasms, Jews held themselves as innately capable of finessing blacks thanks to their superior wits, verbal talent, and a mastery of black psychology. The unmatched success of Jewish ghetto merchants and Jewish civil rights leadership positions proclaim this truth. Even today Jews may secretly brag about their success in beguiling blacks in contentious interpersonal relationships. People sometimes ask me, ‘What did you do when they showed up as a demonstration to your office?’ This happened to me one time. A bunch of angry young blacks came to my office… I said, ‘I just relied on the wisdom of my ancestors. I gave them a little rope-a-dope. I moved around. I said this, I said that. Within half an hour, they were fine. I sold one a suit and several new jewelry and they were happy. They got a deal from Mr. Weissberg.’
Where personal manipulation might fail, the storehouse of survival tactics sufficed exceedingly well. Black pathologies were bearable, especially since most black mayhem was self-inflicted. Jews might even profit from these disorders as merchants or nanny state therapists. Threatened Jews can flee deteriorating neighborhoods, enroll their children in private schools, hire security guards, co-opt black leaders financially, or otherwise escape.
Jews see no conflict between righteously defending black criminals as political prisoners and living in fortress-style buildings.
On the one hand, Jews dread blacks physically. When Jews see blacks walking down the street, they feel tremendous fear. Yet they dutifully pay the danegeld (extortion money).
For most Jews, it is the white goyim who pose the most threat. Contrary fact-based argument fall on deaf ears. Like the schvartzes, the Chinese [and Japanese] are never called goyim.
Blacks are incapable of such well-organized horror [as the Holocaust] unless directed by nefarious whites… A full-scale pogrom is beyond their capacity. Can you imagine blacks systemically rounding up thousands of Jews or even keeping tabs on Jewish neighborhoods? Assess enemies by capabilities, not intentions… The schvartze pose minimal risk. They’re too stupid.
Peter Novick writes in his book The Holocaust in American Life:
Matter-of-fact references by blacks to their “ghetto” (a century-old usage) are condemned as pernicious attempts to steal “our” Holocaust. Let Ted Turner, denouncing what he regards as Rupert Murdoch’s autocratic behavior, refer to Murdoch as “fuhrer”, and the ADL (I’m not making this up) sends out a press release demanding an apology for Turner’s having demeaned the Holocaust. The greatest victory is to wring an acknowledgment of superior victimization from another contender. Officials of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum tell, with great satisfaction, a story of black youngsters learning of the Holocaust and saying, “God, we thought we had it bad.”
…there was never much of a black-Jewish alliance on the communal or organizational level. There were a great many individual Jews who over the years had worked on behalf of blacks, but, with some exceptions, they were leftist and liberal activists who had little connection to the Jewish community. This was certainly true of the Jewish lawyers and student volunteers who worked with the black movement in the South in the 1960s…During the McCarthy era, Jewish organizations repeatedly pointed out that it was a fallacy to infer from the fact that a great many (perhaps even a majority of) Communists were Jews that a great many, let alone a majority of, Jews were Communists. The logic was impeccable with respect to alleged Jewish pro-Communism, and equally impeccable with respect to alleged Jewish civil rights activism.
…From the 1970s on, the growth sector in the Jewish organizational world consisted of old and new “schrei gevalt” agencies, while those with other agendas, like the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress, declined. The Anti-Defamation League, together with the enormously successful Simon Wiesenthal Center, bombarded Jews with mailings announcing new anti-Semitic threats. (The ADL was especially assiduous in giving wide circulation to anti-Semitic remarks by obscure black hustlers and demagogues, thus vastly increasing their audiences.) Of the dozens of local Jewish newspapers in the United States, all but a handful were organs of local Jewish Federations, whose success in fundraising was directly proportional to the level of anxiety among potential contributors.
…Once the Holocaust became centered in Jewish consciousness, and to the extent that it became centered, it provided a language and framework that deepened anxiety about American anti-Semitism, and a spiraling interaction came into play. Once one starts using imagery from that most extreme of events, it becomes impossible to say anything moderate, balanced or nuanced; the very language carries you along to hyperbole. A journalist who supported black community control of schools was told by Norman Podhoretz in 1969 that he was one of those who wanted to “shove the Jewish people back into the gas ovens.” “The ovens” recurred again and again. In Brooklyn, a militant protester against busing for school integration insisted that “we wouldn’t be led to the ovens this time.”
…As the Holocaust moved from history to myth, it became the bearer of “eternal truths” not bound by historical circumstances. Among other things, the Holocaust came to symbolize the natural and inevitable terminus of anti-Semitism: first stop, an anti-Semitic joke; last stop, Treblinka. Every loudmouthed Farrakhan acolyte was the opening act in the Julius Streicher show.
…In the late sixties and early seventies, at the same time that the arrival of the “new anti-Semitism” was announced, American Jewish organizations were changing their priorities and their posture, a change that has so far proved permanent. It is probably best described as an inward turn — a shift away from the previously dominant “integrationist” perspective and toward an emphasis on the defense of distinctive Jewish interests, a kind of circling of the wagons…
The qualifications for certification as a Righteous Gentile [by Yad Vashem] had little connection with the everyday meaning of “righteousness”: following accepted moral norms and doing what people could reasonably be expected to do. The criteria were to have risked one’s life, and often the lives of the members of one’s family as well, to save another; to have displayed self-sacrificing heroism of the highest and rarest order. At Yad Vashem nominees for Righteous Gentiles are carefully screened. Often the process takes many years, and the most rigorous standards are applied. (Thus fishermen who transported Danish Jews to Sweden in 1943 are not eligible because they were paid.)