}

Angry Reflections on the JBA

(UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, the NY Daily News has since deleted the entire thread of comments. This, I am sad to report, may be the only excerpt of comments from said thread extant online.)

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) inaugurated the “Blacks & Jews Together” alliance on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported, timing the laudable organization’s launch two weeks before Martin Luther King Day.

Alternatively called the Jewish-Black Alliance (JBA), the organization was formed to present a united front representing both the Jewish and Black non-Jewish communities “against the hatred expressed by swastikas and nooses”. Hikind rounded up over twenty politicians to support him in this “public show of solidarity” between the two communities, which will involve the JBA setting up community forums and lessons on tolerance.

What’s making me absolutely livid and furious is the reactions that I’m seeing from “Jewish” screen names on the NY Daily News’ site. The Daily News, not known for a liberal slant by any means, has on its story a comments thread which would look like a page out of the National Socialist Movement‘s forums were most of its worst vitriol not purported to be on behalf of Jews:

“Why would Jews ever want to “unite” with blacks? Blacks hate Jews, and they have a long history of violence against them. Anybody remember the Crown Heights Riots of 1991 which resulted in the death of Yankel Rosenbaum?”

“[A]sk them if they want their women marrying a Kalif known as homeboys? Or would they eat at the table on the Blacks term? They are trying to paint a picture to the dogs that they are ok with us….Jews are attacked in Brooklyn all the time, lest we forget the Rabbi attending morning prayers when we was accousted by a “get real” slogan yelling low life.”

“I am a decendant of Israelites who have slain the populance of Canaan, men, women and children. I do not take the coward way out from my enemies. kowtowing to Kalifs and begging for their acceptance.”

I refuse to accept the validity of any apologetics for this.

Even if we will say, granted, that there is anti-Semitism in the non-Jewish Black community — a secret to no one — NYDailyNews.com indexes at 214 (on a normal=100 index) for African-American users and 243 for Hispanic users according to Nielsen. There were many non-Jewish minority eyes who read that story. Ostensibly, some of these readers were anti-Semitic. (And if they weren’t, how do they feel now? Are they calling up their Jewish friends asking, “Rachel, do you really feel this way?”)

But who was it that was so moved by Dov Hikind’s audacity to dare try to protect Jewish lives and livelihoods, to try to build bridges with a like-minded oppressed community to benefit all involved? Those speaking “for Jews”.

While the user MartyBerkowitz (inter alia) does a good job of relegating the racists to their mentally challenged sidelines, I find the dearth of pro-unity voices from Jewish screen names extremely disturbing. These things can not be allowed to represent the Jewish community in any forum. They can not be pooh-poohed or explained away with claims of collective post-traumatic stress.

It should never be Jews being the ones clamoring for racism and division in public. Especially when the danger is shared by two communities who are both targets of the same people. Does the user “Sabbetai Tzvi” really think that the imbecile with the noose won’t blow his door up with swastikas immediately after? Does he not think his KKK-podcast can be interrupted by the brick of a Nazi hitting his monitor? As State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said, “I am proud to stand in the tradition of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr. whose partnership forever cemented the bond between Jews and African Americans against racial injustice”, pointing out that Dr. King said, “the segregationists and the racists make no fine distinction between the Negro and the Jew.”

No, somehow, some Jews consider themselves so aligned with their former oppressors that they will pick up the same rhetoric the Jewish community fought (and still fights) so valiantly against. I’m not naive — I realize that some racists are Jewish, and this shows still have so much work to do inside the Jewish community on this issue — but when any Jew’s reaction to such a potentially wonderful coalition is “[w]e are tired of them leeching and influencing our beautiful youth with their filthy rap music” I want to lament on Biblical proportions. And if the issues really are assimilation, intermarriage and non-Jewish influences — then one should refrain from using the phrase “jungle bunny lowlife”.

There is simply no justification for this type of racist rhetoric — or this type of racism — being tolerated in the Jewish community. It is my sincere hope that the Jewish community is rid once and for all of anything impeding our path to tikkun and improvement. I can only hope that these people’s fury stays confined to the world of internet tough guys, message boards, and forums — and that Dov Hikind won’t be deterred from his wonderful actions because he can’t stop getting flak in shul.

Y-Love

A modern charedi Jew-by-choice since 2000, and igniting headphones with Torah hiphop since 2001.

Originally from Maryland and now holding it down in the shtetlach of New York, won the Jewish Music Awards for "Best Hiphop" in 2006.Vocally anti-prejudice and pro-unity.

Love me, hate me, or debate me, know you can't ignore me, though.

Latest posts by Y-Love (see all)

70 Comments

  1. froylein

    1/8/2008 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for this post, Y-Love. The racism you describe is a predisposition, to say the least, I’ve witnessed a lot when residing in Brooklyn, and it was more than upsetting. I’ve never ever been offended by any black person there, even when wearing a distinct star on my necklace while shopping at Dr. Jay’s on Fulton Mall.

  2. themiddle

    1/8/2008 at 4:59 pm

    Do we have any evidence these commenters are even Jewish? That “Sabbetai Tzvi” person is all over that site writing racist comments that are ridiculously over the top.

  3. DK

    1/8/2008 at 5:56 pm

    I don’t find it helpful to focus on the racism of radicals who may not even be Jewish. Never the less, I see no real common ground between the African-American community and the Jewish one. Having a few similar political enemies does not an alliance make.

    The respective communities suffer from very different problems. Really, they have little of the same problems or the same successes.

    I think both communities would all get along much better if we stopped pretending we have all that much in common. A relationship built on what we both know is bullshit isn’t really all that strong, now, is it?

  4. Y-Love

    1/8/2008 at 6:05 pm

    Leave it to DK to be the black cloud that relentlessly attaches itself to your silver lining.

    First of all that’s not true. There is a lot of similarity between the black non-Jewish and Jewish communities. Forget slavery’s parallel to Exodus — no small thing considering Yetziat Mitzrayim forms the backbone of a huge percentage of “Negro spirituals” and black Caribbean music — from cooking to family, from work ethic to “frumspeak” (break it down linguistically, it’s AAVE), Jews and Blacks have a lot of commonalities because the two communities came out of the same experience — oppression, victimization, and discrimination.

    Our communities only differ in how these things would play out. Of course, this was exacerbated by Jewish assimilation and by increasing anti-black racism. But you can’t deny the remnants of the shared history and indeed, blacks of E. African descent may even potentially share much of the same DNA as today’s Jews.

  5. DK

    1/8/2008 at 6:16 pm

    “There is a lot of similarity between the black non-Jewish and Jewish communities. Forget slavery’s parallel to Exodus — no small thing considering Yetziat Mitzrayim forms the backbone of a huge percentage of “Negro spirituals” and black Caribbean music”

    But just as the Jews don’t relate to the slaves of Rome or Greece, so too the Jews don’t really see the American situation as parallel, even if the Blacks themselves do (even if there is some sensitivity from the Jews), as they believe God himself took them out of Egypt. This also explains why they themselves owned slaves in the first and second commonwealths, albeit ideally kinder than the slavery they experienced. It was that THEY were slaves, and GOD redeemed them. Slavery itself as an inherently evil institution was not seen as the core issue. They were kind of ambivalent about it.

    “— from cooking to family, from work ethic”

    There are not particularly unique to Jews and blacks, sorry. Why not argue that since most blacks and Jews have two legs, we have a special bond?

    to “frumspeak” (break it down linguistically, it’s AAVE), Jews and Blacks have a lot of commonalities because the two communities came out of the same experience — oppression, victimization, and discrimination.”

    No. People don’t share oppression and victimization unless they experience it together. Jews and Blacks experienced a very different type of oppression, and have had it amazing in America overall. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Blacks.

    “But you can’t deny the remnants of the shared history and indeed, blacks of E. African descent may even potentially share much of the same DNA as today’s Jews”

    Interesting, but irrelevant, as most blacks and Jews don’t recognize each other as particularly similar. And Arabs and Jews recognize each others similarities much more, and it really isn’t bringing them together all that much, now, is it?

  6. Y-Love

    1/8/2008 at 6:30 pm

    You’re going back into that extremely condescending annoying forensic style again, where you throw out these pseudo-objective quasi-truths like “X doesn’t count” and “A is not B” and do a sandbox-esque “my definitions, my rules” semantic equivalent of a kid endowed with an overabundance of LEGOs. I’m just letting you know now that you’re doing it because I’m not going to stand for it like I did during the JPPPI thing.

    When two people are being oppressed by the same group of people, even if it happens to Population A in 1901 and Population B in 1902, there is a shared experience there, when said oppression is going on for the same reason. Is today’s white Lesbian being oppressed by the same White, Christian majority that is oppressing Sri Lankans? Of course. The former is being oppressed for her perceived threat to a familial status quo, the latter for their ethnicity.

    But here, you had ethnic discrimination on both counts. One visible, the other slightly less so (and s’iz geven a mazel that Madame C. J. Walker came up with her hot straightening comb just in time for all those curly Jew-fro’s arriving from Europe!) — both being oppressed by the same group in power. You’re being prohibitively obtuse, IMO.

  7. DK

    1/8/2008 at 6:41 pm

    Y-Love, you are being absurd. Blacks were enslaved. Jews were not allowed into country clubs. It just wasn’t the same thing in any way, shape, or form. And you and plenty of other Jews have to stop pretending that the American Jewish experience was oppressive like it was for African-Americans. This is seriously not the case. It is an egregious comparison, grossly unfair to the African-American experience.

    “Is today’s white Lesbian being oppressed by the same White, Christian majority that is oppressing Sri Lankans? Of course. The former is being oppressed for her perceived threat to a familial status quo, the latter for their ethnicity.”

    This is not an oppressive country like that. Not today, not compared with most places.

    I have white Christian friends, and they are great. They do not oppress me, and I seek no alliance against them. If someone or some group jerk is being a jerk, I would consider an alliance against that SPECIFIC group or person, but no racial.ethnic against whitey generally.

    I would advise all Jews of Conscience to follow suit.

    I am not sure what the JPPPI thing you are referencing stands for, but it sounds like I kicked your ass.

  8. WEVS1

    1/8/2008 at 6:47 pm

    Y, I have a different perspective. I think the Daily News reflects a liberal/left bias especially compared to its rival, The New York Post. There are some pretty radical writers at the Daily News. For example, Juan Gonzalez is the co-host of “Democracy Now” on Pacifica Radio and he regularly pens articles for the paper. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the program but he and co-host Amy Goodman regularly denigrate the “Zionist apartheid state,” if you catch my drift.

    As to the specifics of the comments, they are hateful and ignorant. No question. If you are interested, here is a place where you can read tons of similar opinions of African-Americans:

    Jewish Task Force
    jtf.org

    However, rather than focus on extremists, I think it is more important to examine why so many mainstream liberal Jews were involved in the Black freedom struggles (i.e. civil rights) during the 1950s and early 1960s and, in turn, why so many of these same Jews (and their children) were turned off by the increasing radicalism—and anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism—of the New Left. I think much of the distancing between the two communities—and least from the Jewish side of things—emerged as more and more of the “black community” seemed to be adopting the stance and ideology of black nationalism rather than that of MLK, Jr. and Bayard Rustin. I’m interested in your comments.

  9. Y-Love

    1/8/2008 at 6:49 pm

    I’m going to suggest that you read “Kike!” by Michael Selzer which details much of the anti-Semitism you apparently don’t know about during the early 20th and late 19th century in America.

    Blacks used bleaching cream; Jews went to speech therapists and plastic surgeons.

    Blacks used straightening combs and relaxers; Jews used straightening combs and relaxers.

    Blacks, in the words of Nina Simone, collectively said, “you promised, if I start talking like a lady, you’d stop calling me” a number of epithets; Jews dropped all ethnic lilts in their English language and vi’fiel Ashkenazische Yidden reden Yiddish heint? (how many Ashkenazi Jews speak Yiddish today?)

    You, my friend, are being absolutely ahistorical and are abjectly ignorant on a level which would make the average lower-working-class citizen chayav bitch slap in his neighborhood.

    Is there a side-by-side parallel with every aspect of the Black Experience? Of course not. But you’re creating divisions and imaginary chakiras where none exist.

  10. DK

    1/8/2008 at 7:00 pm

    Y-Love, you are saying that because of white Christian hegemony, everyone outside of that is a victim. Even if I grant that (and I don’t), it doesn’t mean everyone is in the same boat or in this together.

    Jews long ago were accepted as at least provisionally white. Jews absolutely enjoy white privilege, though there are certainly resentments. It just isn’t the same experience, and in my experience at CCNY, taking Marxist courses as well as other History courses, I have listened to African-American history students explain how the Black experience is quite different than the Jewish one, and quite frankly, what they say makes more sense than what you are saying.

    You are buying into a myth promoted by the Heschel fanatics. It is a myth. And you and the other Heschel constantly have to reference Heschel, because nothing before or since really validates it.

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  12. Y-Love

    1/8/2008 at 7:17 pm

    OK, so when America did a pogrom-style expulsion of all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi in 1862, this would have absolutely no relationship to Blacks being expelled from Baxter County, Arkansas in 1906, or the edicts expelling blacks from places like Pulaski, TN.

    You’re living a lie.

    I’m sure you have listened to African-American history students who were trying to accent points of departure. European heritage is a point of departure whose equal need not even be searched for. Still, the commonalities are rife — and we ARE in the “same boat” whether or not your nano-scopic horizons will allow your colonized brain to believe such — throughout both communities, and how you don’t see such even after reading such ridiculous documentaries as “the Hidden Language of the Jews”, see the similarities to the ridiculous paranoia which plagues white suburbia vis-a-vis blacks even until today….

  13. DK

    1/8/2008 at 7:34 pm

    1) First of all, the “pogrom-style” expulsions were apparently not quite as intense nor as frequent as, say, the actual pogroms in Russia, which Jews fled en masse to…oh, that would be here, now, wouldn’t it?

    2) The main contention for African-Americans was not that they were expelled as they were from Baxter, as the Jews were in TN, but shockingly, they are more upset that they were brought here in chains to be slaves.

    I am inclined to agree with their priorities in terms of dissatisfaction, but as we know, I am “colonized.”

    Additionally, others reasons Yiddish went out of style (though not for me!) among American Jews besides oppressive white hegemony was partially because they no longer needed it, they weren’t switching countries as often, and partially because Hebrew became victorious. For instance, the Modern Orthodox and the B’nai Torah also stopped speaking Yiddish in Israel, and not because of domestically oppressive white Christian hegemony.

    So too here to some extent.

  14. DK

    1/8/2008 at 7:46 pm

    I would strongly caution all readers to take Y-Love’s characterization of the singular unfortunate order of 1862 with a grain of salt. Lincoln canceled that order, and Grant rehabilitated himself. Please see the Jewish Virtual Library’s article on this, and decide if this was really 1) a regular occurrence or a one time travesty and 2) really a pogrom.

    jewishvirtuall...

    As a descendant of Jews who fled the pogroms of White Russia and Russia proper, I strongly disagree with Y-Love’s overreaching assessment, and quite frankly, believe it is slanderous to both the Union Army and especially to Lincoln in terms of exaggeration.

  15. Jack

    1/8/2008 at 8:09 pm

    Calm down DK… And why do you refer to the ancient Jewish Kingdoms as ‘commonwealths?’

  16. themiddle

    1/8/2008 at 8:29 pm

    Kelsey, you are over-reaching as is Y-Love. The difference is that his conclusions are more accurate. There certainly are differences between the two groups, but we do share victimization and irrational bigotry as our mutual history. Jews were not only excluded from posh country clubs but were also excluded from professions, suffered from quota limits at numerous institutions, were generally on the receiving end of sufficient bigotry that Philip Roth could write a novel with a credible alternative history to mid-20th Century treatment of Jews in the US. The civil rights movement was supported strongly by Jews because they were victims but also because we instinctively seek justice and an end to discrimination after having been victimized as a minority for centuries.

    Yes, as a community the Jewish community has thrived in the US, but that doesn’t change the fact that there was discrimination and this society had to overcome it, just as it continues to confront bigotry against the black community.

  17. froylein

    1/8/2008 at 8:30 pm

    Hmmmm, it’s 2:15 in the morning, and I can’t sleep anymore, so I may as well post a few lines: Yiddish “went out of style” in the US as many native speakers stopped speaking it in analogy to many frum people becoming secular in response to the horrors of the Holocaust. Yiddish experienced a revival during the hippie era with its interest in folk music. (Contact me for information on Yiddish pop music and sultry love songs prior to WW2.) Vice versa, there were previously secular folks that turned religious and started speaking Yiddish. As a friend of mine from Monsey noted, his grandparents never lost the Hungarian accent (to them Hungarian was the language of the horrors they had suffered). If you want to hear really good Yiddish, talk to a native of Antwerp. I don’t quite see how Y-Love was calling out against Christians rather than racists and racism among Jews (which I’ve experienced more than once among my mostly Chasidishe friends over there). Ah, and I don’t know whether this matters to anybody, but one of my profs (cultural studies US, UK, Australia) noted that when the Pilgrim Fathers and Founding Fathers talked about “men” and their rights, they meant white, Protestant males.

  18. WEVS1

    1/8/2008 at 8:36 pm

    DK is on point historically. There were no pogroms here in the United States. Jews have faced discrimination but never on par with that of European anti-Semitism.

    But that’s not to say anti-Semitism was not a factor in Jewish identity. After all, discrimination went far beyond “country clubs” and included institutions of education, hospitals, etc.

    In short, discrimination can be a tie that binds communities together but it is seldom *enough* to keep them together. Witness the increasing rifts between Latino and African-Americans in the U.S.

    Communities need to feel a sense of interconnection and mutual self-interest to get involved in each others social, political, and economic struggles. When that mutual self-interest does not exist, you can expect alliances will fail to develop, no matter how nice and well-meaning you are.

  19. DK

    1/8/2008 at 10:41 pm

    “And why do you refer to the ancient Jewish Kingdoms as ‘commonwealths?’”

    Okay, fine. The first and second Zionist Entities.

  20. Ephraim

    1/9/2008 at 2:23 am

    WTF is the matter with you, DK? Are you saying that the original Jewish kingdoms were just as illegitimate as you so obviously, by your choice of words, believe modern Israel to be?

    If so, you’re an even sicker fuck than I thought you were.

    And here I was all ready to agree with you over Y-Love’s nonsense. Why did you have to go and ruin it by reminding me again how warped you are?

  21. Y-LOVE

    1/9/2008 at 3:09 am

    OK, perhaps I did get a bit emotional with that last post but this has been one of my soapboxes since Ohr Somayach.

    I strongly urge you to look into the book “Kike” by Michael Selzer. If I didn’t read my copy so often, I’d shred it and scan it page by page just to show you what I’m talking about. (For a negative review of the book, because I’m sure you’ll be instantly looking for one, click here.)

    He lists on pages 24-25 five anti-Semitic directives given by Gen. U. S. Grant during the Civil War, for example (“the Israelites especially should be kept out” of the region south of Jackson, MI, is the first he lists, dated Nov 9 1862). By the middle of the 19th century, Selzer says on page 20, “the identification of Jews as petty criminals was already so widespread” that discrimination was commonplace. And this was before Jewish organized crime.

    Look at Rudolf Glanz’s Studies in Judaica Americana.

    I can’t believe you don’t see a parallel.

    Like I said before, the differences in the communities only come in when looking at how these things would play out. R’ Heschel (AND R’ Moshe Feinstein even though they didn’t print it in the Igros Moshe) wasn’t drawing on nothing when he walked up on that podium with Dr. King.

    Jews were “excluded from country clubs”? Is that all you think Jews in America were going through prior to World War I?

    Again, I’m not suggesting this direct lining up of the black non-Jewish and Jewish American experiences. But lack of recognition of any commonalities between the two communities? Come on.

  22. Ben-David

    1/9/2008 at 3:37 am

    This thread reeks of PC indoctrination, beginning with the original post’s giveaway line:

    I refuse to accept the validity of any apologetics for this.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … which is a classic PC-leftie ploy – using indignation to deflect attention from actual facts.

    This same pattern continues in the comments.

    Another point is the total misuse of the photo – if I remember correctly, it was used in an Israeli paper to document the infiltration of the IDF by militant skinhead anti-Semites of Russian emigre descent – who target Jews in the Jewish homeland.

    Putting this photo here to paint Jews as racist is a 180-degree spin from the truth, and worthy of Goebbels-style propaganda.

    Getting back to the facts:

    1) Almost everything said about Jewish “oppression” in America can be applied double for Irish Americans – and Catholics in general. There were “no Dogs or Irish” signs and “no Irish” taglines in want ads.

    And the Catholics had to create their own school and university systems because of the prejudice and quotas against them.

    So maybe they should be part of the “alliance”?
    No, no, no – that won’t fit in our pre-ordained PC pantheon of victims-n-oppressors. Besides, it’s much cooler to hang with blacks than with Irish.

    2) Almost everything said about “cultural affinity” applies just as much to any old-world, family-oriented culture – like, say, the Irish and Italians who shared neighborhoods with Jews for generations, or the Chinese-Americans (same work ethic and respect for parents and wisdom).

    3) What about the claims that blacks have attacked Jews? What is the reality?

    The reality is that blacks in NYC have a long record of committing the lion’s share of violent crime in the city. Study after study confirms this.

    I am sure the PC types will ufurl their carefully practices umbrage to try and avoid that last one – but if the commenters at the NY Daily News are writing out of their real experiences, who can blame them?

    WHAT IS THE REALITY?
    This is the question Y-Love seems determined to avoid throughout this thread – if you disagree with left-liberal orthodoxy about victim classes, you are a brute.

    Sorry – reality doesn’t work that way.

  23. Y-LOVE

    1/9/2008 at 4:28 am

    And DK pls stop bringing up Russia — I’m talking exclusively about experiences here in der goldener medina. What went on in Europe (from Crusades to Cossacks, from the papacy to Stalin and Hitler, from witch hunts to the Holocaust), will, G-d willing, never have another parallel.

    Also, I’m not suggesting that racism and anti-Semitism are the same prejudice. One is based on something much more visually salient (usually) and that will mean a stronger reaction to the “stimulus”. But, please, stop turning a blind eye.

  24. froylein

    1/9/2008 at 8:51 am

    I still don’t see where Y-Love even insinuated that there haven’t been oppressed groups in the US other than Jews and blacks. And there also is no anti-Christian statement by him whatsoever. In BP, I’ve heard the term “shvartze” in decidedly negatively biased contexts more than once. I also don’t see Y-Love claiming that black people don’t commit crimes. The funny thing about emancipated thinking is that you’ll find criminals on each and every end of society – just as you’ll find lots of nice, decent persons within any group of people (granted, sometimes they will just qualify as nice and decent seen in their historic context). I’m not quite sure whether a PC-leftie ploy, as BD so kindly smelled, would point out racism among Jews. And Irish are pretty fun to hang out with. But what do I know? I’m only just European…

  25. DK

    1/9/2008 at 10:24 am

    Ephraim wrote,

    “Are you saying that the original Jewish kingdoms were just as illegitimate”

    Or am I saying the third is as legitimate (at least in terms of historical ties to that land) as the first two? The Muslim radicals absolutely and categorically deny Jewish ancient ties to ancient Israel, (and other enemies if Israel just deny we are the real Jews).

    Ephraim, you have to generally chill your far-right Zionist ass out and stop always looking to demonize. You have had numerous cuddly conversations with the one hardline Kahanist commenter on this site. It’s beneath you and disgusting. So is your seething contempt for shtetl culture and power. That has nothing to do with this specific conversation, I just really wanted to throw something else at you.

    Y-Love, I brought up Russia because you brought up pogroms. I don’t think we are really as far away as we might feel we are in terms of the American Jewish experience itself, except in terms of interpreting what it means.

    Note also that my disagreement about victimology is not limited to commonality with the African-American community, but extends to a more sweeping disagreement on many preferred Jewish organizational policies, which I fear are misguided and even destructive (say, Holocaustism).

    And even if I don’t agree on commonality or the victimology that is often referenced for proof of this specific commonality, it is certainly worthwhile to build bridges to other communities, and you are fast emerging as a leader within the Jewish community to do just that. I wish you success, know you will find it even without my well-wishes, and hope you won’t personalize it when we bat heads on occasion along the way.

  26. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 11:44 am

    Ben-David has this right. Are we going to engage in a circle jerk over who’s suffered the most historical oppression? This strikes me as beneath Jewish-Americans who, to this outsider, seem to have been strikingly successful in overcoming social bias (not a hurdle unique to them) to prosper here in the US.

    As an Irish-American, I don’t burn incense in my navel for my forebears who endured the No-Nothings. It’s worth remembering. But it’s history, with no relevance to my day-to-day life.

    Here’s the other flaw in Hikind’s strategy (oh, for the good ol’ days of 1962!): the selective approach to ‘alliances’ (whatever that means) with other ethnic groups will get Jewish leadership in trouble. Remember the ADL’s embarrassing reluctance to acknowledge the Armenian genocide last year, for fear of complicating Turkish-Israeli relations?

    For Christians, our connection with Jews has much to do with the universal potency of Torah narratives of oppression and deliverance. Similarly, historians and survivors of the Holocaust have sought to broaden its lessons beyond the scope of the Jewish experience (without ignoring its largely Jewish character). Are we now to assume that Jews will selectively deploy their history for perceived short-term political gain? If some holocausts are greater than others, and still others can be ignored altogether, the moral authority of the ADLs and Elie Wiesels of the world will leach away. We’ll deem them PC-style special pleaders, nothing more.

    Finally– forget 1862. Where is the Jewish experience of discrimination-as-‘other’ exemplified in our culture today? Chances are the lady cleaning Hikind’s office trash speaks Spanish and Portuguese. He should think about ways to reach out to her.

  27. Y-Love

    1/9/2008 at 1:07 pm

    “Beneath Jewish-Americans”? I’m going to act like you didn’t just say that.

    Now I’m not even going to act like I know anything about this topic — books like How the Irish Became White talk about this, how Irish people transitioned from oppressed minority to being sort of subsumed by the group in power. I know absolutely nothing about this. I can’t really make a comment on similarities or differences in the Jewish and Irish experience.

    I do know, however, that the Jewish “transition to group in power” did not produce the same outcome as the Irish one. There is still aversive anti-Semitism, people still talk about “being Jewish” about paying bills and use the verb “to Jew” (i.e., linguistic anti-Semitism). Many of these same ignorant people — including the people Borat made famous — are also racist. Those who would discriminate against Jews “as other” would, chances are, in the White Christian majority, not feel so great about blacks either.

    Now you are a bit correct-leaning when you say that the “selective” approach to alliances is a bad thing. The reality is that anti-Semitism is rising in the Latino and some Asian communities as well. IMO, though, even if Dov Hikind were to stop right now — dayenu, this would be enough for him. He hasn’t always been so considerate of minority communities (shout out to Mobius for turning me on to THAT little tidbit) and for this to be the legacy he has would be fantastic.

    I agree with you — the alliances should not be selective, there should be many, and they should be far-reaching. I would love to see a Noach Dear-inspired Jewish-Boricua Alliance, and a Marty Markowitz-inspired Jewish-Asian Coalition, or Judios y Mexicanos Unidos. But why should there NOT be an alliance with the Black community (among others, granted)?

    And please let’s not forget that there ARE Black Jews for whom these issues of black-Jewish relations are particularly salient, and it is often racism which causes non-white Jews to de-affiliate or not identify Jewishly.

  28. Shy Guy

    1/9/2008 at 1:20 pm

    Tom Morrissey Says:
    January 9th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    As an Irish-American, I don’t burn incense in my navel for my forebears who endured the No-Nothings.

    Well, duh! Everyone knows you’re an outtie!

    🙂

  29. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 1:27 pm

    Y-Love, “ignorant people” (in your apt phrase) will, like the poor, always be with us. And the American version thereof are often equal-opportunity haters. No one would argue in favor of ignoring them. On the other hand, we shouldn’t employ the common PC strategy of using the marginal to define the mainstream: e.g., some people beat up homosexuals, therefore society is homophobic; or some “ignorant people” hate Jews, therefore society is anti-Semitic.

    The whole ‘alliance’ approach strikes me as misguided. Favoring one US ethnic/religious community over others accomplishes…. what? I can’t speak to the specific concerns of black Jews. But listen carefully to the rhetoric of Barack Obama. What’s he advocating? Good old melting-pot style assimilation, the breaking down of barriers between warring factions. I’m not necessarily a Barack fan, but this seems a far more forward-looking approach than division and selective ‘alliance-making.

  30. Y-Love

    1/9/2008 at 1:39 pm

    See, right, and IMO America in general is moving towards being more pluralistic, like the rest of the world. I would envision the utopian ideal as being a web of alliances where every community has liaison with every other community. Where no one loses any identity but everyone’s culture flourishes and America becomes a mosaic.

    When you throw every metal together in the melting pot, you end up with a worthless alloy. When every vegetable is allowed to give its full flavor in its own right, you end up with good pizza.

  31. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 2:00 pm

    Au contraire, Shy Guy… 😉

    Y-Love, I’m all for ethnic identity, but for better or worse (better, I’d argue), an American identity has emerged. And it’s gone far to subsume our old (world) ones. Maybe Jews are a bit different in this regard, with a unique connection, and opportunity to return, to Israel. As for me, I’m proud to be Irish; but I’m happy as hell my forebears got sick of pulling potatoes out of the ground and got their sorry asses over here.

  32. Ephraim

    1/9/2008 at 2:25 pm

    If you think that the “3rd jewish Commonwealth” is just as legitimate as the first two, why go out of your way to use a term of obvious opprobrium? Your comments, in general, are usually very anti-Israel and pro-gollus, so I don’t think you should all of a sudden start being all coy. It is very unseemly. And even thought the comment seems to be a non-sequitr, I don’t need you to tell me that the Arabs think we aren’t real Jews. I read the papers y’know.

    I don’t have “seething” contempt for shtetl culture, DK (I don’t know what you mean by “shtetl power”). I have contempt for tools like you who think that being a gollus Yid living in a mental shtetl is the only proper way to be Jewish. The shtetl may have been great while it lasted. But those days are gone. And why do you love the shtetl so much? Jews who lived in shtetlach were deeply religious, very traditional people. AFAIK, you aren’t. So why do you have such a thing for shtetlach?

    Not sure to which Kahanist you are referring.

  33. Y-Love

    1/9/2008 at 2:40 pm

    eh…Tom…would you REALLY say so?

    Would you say frijoles, croissants, and lo mein are all equally “American” at this point? I’d say, better — an array of “-American” cultures have formed.

    Very few African-Americans would feel at home in Benin, Ghana or Nigeria; you might not be able to find the same chow mein in a restaurant in Beijing. I once tried to pitch my hiphop to a group of Ethiopian Jews — while they were interested in my message (Judaism-wise) some of them just were turned off by the whole hiphop thing. It had nothing to do with them. But when they get their green cards, they’ll be African-American.

    “American culture” IMO doesn’t exist as a monolith, but you’re right, an Americanization of all of the “home cultures” has totally occurred. For better? For worse? IMO it’s unavoidable — especially once you start talking 3rd and 4th generations. But to say “give UP the identity of the home culture” in favor of a melting pot? In 2008?

  34. themiddle

    1/9/2008 at 2:44 pm

    Ephraim, it is possible that Kelsey uses the term “Zionist entity” tongue in cheek. I’ve learned to laugh along.

  35. Ephraim

    1/9/2008 at 3:03 pm

    Anyone else, and I would agree with you, Middle. But I think this is a case of DK doing what my father calls “kidding on the square”, pretending to joke when he’s actually serious.

  36. froylein

    1/9/2008 at 3:22 pm

    Maybe we should just all compare our belly buttons.

  37. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 3:56 pm

    There’s a sadness to belly buttons– the one orifice no one seems to care about….

  38. Y-Love

    1/9/2008 at 4:17 pm

    See, we could segue into “caring about orifices” but that’s very much NOT the point of this post 😀

  39. themiddle

    1/9/2008 at 4:22 pm

    Y-Love, you didn’t respond or address the use of the two guys doing the Hitler salute. The photo is entirely out of context.

  40. froylein

    1/9/2008 at 4:51 pm

    Well, I’ve got a little scar near my belly button stemming from, uhmmm, close combat, so there. 🙂

    I talked to my Jewish students of former Soviet Union origin about racism today, and they told me that they’d commonly experienced racism directed at them (some are from Russia, others from the Ukraine and Azerbaidjan) as well as racism directed at black people in their parents’ generation (many members of which have never encountered a black person in person).

  41. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 4:55 pm

    Y-Love, did you see the report the other day that Obama phoned Odinga, the alleged loser of the Kenyan election, to appeal for calm? It turns out that Obama is also of Luo tribal descent– and his father is a distant relative of Odinga’s. This ethnicity thing gets more complicated all the time….

    Another point re ‘alliances’ — when we conceive of politics in those terms, we have to see the potential for good and for ill. Ethnic alliances haven’t served the former Yugoslavia very well, for example. And the Nazis played that game, too, in Slovakia and elsewhere.

  42. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 4:57 pm

    I hear you, froylein. I never got the navel-piercing thang.

  43. froylein

    1/9/2008 at 5:13 pm

    I didn’t get it pierced. Since you’ll get the reference, I’ll just say in private settings, my Celtic blood sets the pace.

    I did have piercings though that ck knows – and sounded pretty shocked – about.

  44. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 5:33 pm

    Here’s hoping that ck shares with the rest of us….

  45. Y-Love

    1/9/2008 at 5:34 pm

    I actually picked the photo because of the two people sieg Heiling in front of Hebrew writing. A visual metaphor (“racists backing themselves up with Hebrew words”).

    “Goebbels-style propaganda” though? Dude, please. If anything, it was meant to show just how out of place racism is in Jewish contexts.

  46. froylein

    1/9/2008 at 5:56 pm

    My luck ck is currently not available. 🙂

    As to the “Goebbels-style propaganda”, uhmm, no, decidedly no; I’ve just finished preparing something for some presentation (on ritual murder accusations and their spreading throughout England through the Canterbury Tales with some general info on the deliberate use of ritual murder accusations againt Jews by certain political or religious groups) I’m giving tomorrow and happen to have got a cover of “Der Stürmer”‘s “ritual murder edition” here at hand. Doesn’t compare.

  47. Tom Morrissey

    1/9/2008 at 6:06 pm

    In its tacky/creepy quality, that pic reminds me of the one Oswald’s wife took of him dressed in black and holding his rifle in his back yard.

  48. DK

    1/10/2008 at 1:53 am

    Ephraim, my issues with Zionism are not particularly moral. Despite my deep love, affection, and emulation of Islam (especially the really frum kind), I actually don’t really stay up nights worrying about Israeli oppression in the Middle East, which as we know, is replete with many wonderful liberal democracies.. except for the Zionist Entity, of course.

    I do worry about its viability (come on, we all do), and I worry it is a target rather than a safe haven. I think part of my attraction to this strange term (Z.E.) is because it underlies my own feelings and fears of its precariousness, and Jewish vulnerability generally. The name Israel was given when Yaakov was victorious…and it seems…premature in a larger sense.

    As for your question about attraction to shtetl culture, I have mixed feelings and a certain attraction to aspects of traditional Judaism, as well as not some great feelings. You seem to feel it’s one view or the other. But it isn’t. People are not one thing, and within the Jewish community, it shouldn’t always be a “with me or against me” thing. That is not how we are really supposed to look at disagreements. A different faith does that false dichotomy better than ours does.

    The quiescent nature of traditional Judaism had some great aspects in it, quiescent in nature, and about refinement and growth, and not in measurement only (or at all, even) in terms of chumra or ideological purity. This is what I mean by shtetl culture. A gentle type of traditional Judaism, concerned with their neighbors, helping each other. This manifests itself in many different ways…and does subsist within various places to some degree even today in some people and places. It isn’t about longing for the past only, but also a longing for a Judaism that I feel is hard to find, and worse, hard to find within myself or maintain consistently or significantly.

  49. froylein

    1/10/2008 at 2:00 am

    With all due respect, DK, your concept of shtetl Judaism sounds highly romanticized to me.

  50. Ephraim

    1/10/2008 at 2:23 am

    Why, in the name of G-d, would you want to emulate something like Islam, DK? Or is that some kind of Freudian-slip typo? You seem sicker, more confused and spiritually adrift with every post you write.

    Of course I worry about the viability of Israel. Any Jew with any sense must. But is that all you think Israel should be? Just a safe haven? You really are in gollus, thoroughly. Are you afraid of everything?

    Israel represents the decision of Jews to finally stop cowering and going through life with no strategy other than hoping that the anti-Semites will just stop killing us a little. For no other reason than that, it deserves the support of every Jew who has any self-respect at all. And I speak as a dyed-in-the-wool coward. But at least I can respect real courage when I see it.

    And you don’t find Yiddishkeit like the kind you seem to be pining for. You make it.

  51. DK

    1/10/2008 at 2:29 am

    Ephraim, my note on Islam was a joke. Jesus Christ.

  52. DK

    1/10/2008 at 2:45 am

    We are not in a good position, Ephraim. Being a tough motherfucker when you are 14 million and they are 1.2 billion is not the kind of fight you want. Oh, and more and more, they have nukes. Who are you kidding? We are so fucked. You know we counted wrong, Ephraim? Did you know that? I heard it at a Jabotinsky commemoration. The speaker said that back in the day, before you know what, they counted 18 million Jews (once correct) and 50 million Muslim Arabs. Not the other Muslims. Not even the Berbers, never mind the Pakistanis or Persians. Hell, there was no Pakistan then.

    I have no solutions, but I do think that too much bravado and macho bullshit isn’t going to help us think clearly. We saw what happens when Jews think they are in charge. There is increasingly international rage because of the role of the Jewish Neocons in selling the war.

    You want more tough talk. Well, from where I am sitting, you do what you want over there. But don’t you tell me we need more of that shit over here. We have had quite enough of that.

  53. julie

    1/10/2008 at 5:05 am

    i have nothing to add. i just love what ray charles (a”h) said: “If someone besides a black ever sings the real gut bucket blues, it’ll be a Jew. We both know what it’s like to be someone else’s footstool.”

    amen, brothah.

  54. Ben-David

    1/10/2008 at 6:24 am

    I actually picked the photo because of the two people sieg Heiling in front of Hebrew writing. A visual metaphor (”racists backing themselves up with Hebrew words”).
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Translation: holy sh*t – I got caught!

    This is a photo of Ukranian skinheads of dubious Jewish descent who attack their fellow Israeli soldiers and hate the Israeli culture that took them in.

    Both your original purpose and your half-assed exuse betray the extent to which you will distort reality to serve up an ideological message.

    That’s all there is on the web – words, and images.

    You have unethically manipulated both – and gone way beyond presenting a viewpoint, into misrepresention that you claim is “false but accurate”.

    You are corrupt, no longer trustworthy or worth debating. If I were running this blog, I’d drop you like a hot potato.

  55. Y-Love

    1/10/2008 at 11:46 am

    Okay…now it’s time to play the “go through Google and you-could-have-picked-this” game. Bro, I wrote about Israeli Nazis on thisisbabylon.... for weeks. I have their videos, I have photos. If I wanted to just put up Israeli Nazis there’s the one which adorns the Israeli Antifa Facebook group page which has way more of them sieg heiling.

  56. shmuel

    1/10/2008 at 12:18 pm

    its funny, some of us say, “its okay for us to make generalizations against X group, because SOME of them did Y to some of us”

    Just think about that line of logic.

    Even if the entire Brooklyn AA community hated Jews (which of course we know isn’t true), it would STILL be stupid to make the logical jump that this was always true of the AA community nationwide. See what I mean?

    I dont think Heschel’s civil rights advocacy had much do with a “shared history” between any groups, or even self-interest, as much as it did a sheer belief in human equality. Humanity. What a notion.

  57. Y-Love

    1/10/2008 at 12:37 pm

    Dude, PLEASE — now that I’m re-reading comment 54:

    You think I want to paint “Jews as racist”? WHAT? The majority of Jews are anti-racist. THAT graphic? I thought it was a shocking graphic which gave the effect I wanted to give off. People standing in front of Hebrew letters sieg Heiling.

    In fact, the more I think about it, the more that graphic really is a propos because think about this: those people came in under the Law of Return. Let’s say they’re not Jewish. That means these people came in because of the Nuremberg Laws, because they could have been victims of anti-Semitism potentially. They came in on behalf of Jews — whoever their relatives were.

    The people on NYDailyNews.com — same thing. Let’s say they’re not Jewish. They’re posting things on “behalf of Jews” — whoever the Jews are they think they’re benefiting by not sullying their wonderful communities with black alliances.

    Please remember to shampoo after you remove your head from wherever it’s been stuck.

  58. themiddle

    1/10/2008 at 1:06 pm

    Wait, Y-Love, there are two issues here.

    1. Your post is about racism among Jews, and you appear to support your post with an image of two men, one in Israeli military uniform, in Israel, in front of official Hebrew lettering, doing a Hitler salute. At the very least, this is confusing because it indicates that this is the face of Jewish racism. I’m sure there is Jewish racism, but that is not its face or even mildly representative of Jewish racism. I’m not criticizing, but asking your to reconsider your position.

    2. The people posting the racist shit at NYDailyNews are NOT posting on “behalf of Jews.” Where do you get that impression? One can disagree with the idea of expending community efforts and resources to ally with the African-American community without being a racist, needing racist defending on the internet and while believing that all men and women are indeed created equal and deserve to be treated as equals. I am not responsible for some idiot posting racist crap just because the topic involves me.

    Just so you know where I’m coming from, I actually support this type of initiative and believe the Jewish community should reach out to groups such as Latinos and African-Americans so that a dialogue is established and others can learn about us and our community just as we can learn about their communities.

  59. Ben-David

    1/10/2008 at 1:45 pm

    Keep twisting, Y-Love. Now we know that you know squat about the Law of Return.

    Which is totally unrelated to the Nuremburg Laws.

    Nor did these creeps didn’t come to Israel “on behalf of” anyone.

    And you misused that image to equate Jews who pointed out black violence and anti-semitism with White-supremacist-style racists.

    In your own words, you chose the image because it combined Hebrew with the Nazi salute – context be damned.

  60. Y-Love

    1/10/2008 at 2:10 pm

    “We are tired of them leeching and influencing our beautiful youth”? Postings by a user named “Sabbetai Tzvi”? I’m saying, let’s say he wasn’t Jewish — “influencing our beautiful youth”?

    Talking about violence against Rabbis?

    How else should I have taken that?

    Of course, not all opponents of any political initiative share any ideology. That wasn’t the point. But these people ostensibly thought they were either voicing the opinions of Jews or speaking for Jews or something. And I was furious that it was these people who were so moved to speak and use vulgarity.

    I could see how that graphic would be out of line — overly provocative? — but it shows how out of place racism is in Jewish contexts. Just like no one should be sieg heiling in Israel, these things should never come from Jews…and unchecked! Like I said, there were very few Jewish screen names saying otherwise with the same impassioned tone.

  61. Y-Love

    1/10/2008 at 2:32 pm

    Instantly, I found three sources which show that the 1970 amendment to the Law of Return was, to quote the WZO, “adapted to include anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent (based on Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws which defined Jews in this way)”.

    You just have it set in your mind to be pissed off at me.

    If you find that graphic so offensive, I’ll remove it for you, so as to not have your BP reach lethal levels. You’ve asked me repeatedly and I’ve said the same thing. This is not “the face of Jewish racism”, this is out of place, and a visual metaphor.

    In case you didn’t see it when I wrote that the past 4x.

  62. Friar Yid

    1/10/2008 at 2:34 pm

    Here’s the other flaw in Hikind’s strategy (oh, for the good ol’ days of 1962!): the selective approach to ‘alliances’ (whatever that means) with other ethnic groups will get Jewish leadership in trouble. Remember the ADL’s embarrassing reluctance to acknowledge the Armenian genocide last year, for fear of complicating Turkish-Israeli relations?

    How about the bizarre irony that Hikind was a former JDL street thug, which, to my understanding, did little back in the day to stop the ongoing black-Jewish rift in the inner city?

  63. Yitzhakofeir

    1/10/2008 at 5:11 pm

    This is one of those “Confused Foreigner” questions more than anything.
    One of the racist terms used was “Kalif”, and I know this term in Arabic, and know what it means. (Kalif = Successor), and I’m fairly sure he didn’t mean that… So, does this have an English meaning I am not aware of?

    Also, the reason I bring up the Arabic is because English borrowed the term Kafir (Heretic, Unbeliever) from Arabic to refer to Black people, so maybe with this word it was borrowed as well?

  64. DK

    1/11/2008 at 2:44 am

    “Now we know that you know squat about the Law of Return.

    Which is totally unrelated to the Nuremburg Laws.”

    Oh is it, Ben David? Is it really “unrelated”?

  65. Ben-David

    1/11/2008 at 7:53 am

    “Visual Metaphor” = propaganda, misinformation.

    Exactly who are the “racists” backing themselves up with Hebrew words – as you describe it?

    Exactly where in the world are the army bases stencilled with signs in Hebrew – besides Israel?

    Where was it made clear that the “racists” – at least in the picture – are not Jews?

    A photo of anti-Semitic Ukranian goyim was used to represent racist Jews.

    This is misinformation. And from what you say about your selection of the photo – you knew its provenance and real story before you posted it.

  66. Chutzpah

    1/11/2008 at 10:02 am

    Y-Love …if you continue on the Ohr Somayach derech you will soon be referring to Reform and Conservative Jews as “those unfortunate children who were captured by the goyim”…and I can’t even print what you will be saying about Blacks/Hispanics/Asians…Dude…BEWARE!

  67. Y-Love

    1/11/2008 at 1:25 pm

    Dude, you’d sink in liquid silver.

    and Chutzpah ROFL… oy vey if you would have known me in 2002, i’m still doing tshuva 🙂

  68. froylein

    1/11/2008 at 3:28 pm

    Confession time? Let’s hear. 😀

  69. Pingback: JVoices » Blog Archive » Jewish Blogosphere Round Up

  70. WEVS1

    1/18/2008 at 10:27 am

    “How about the bizarre irony that Hikind was a former JDL street thug, which, to my understanding, did little back in the day to stop the ongoing black-Jewish rift in the inner city?”

    The development of the JDL was directly related to the upsurge in anti-Semitism associated with Black nationalism and the Black Power movement. It is no coincidence that the name “Jewish Defense League” is quite similar to the “Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.”

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