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1.06


Foxman, the ADL and Black-Jewish Relations

Most of what I have to report about this has already been said. In fact, Foxman's words quoted above are the right words. Different kinds of coalitions are required, and black folks can't (or shouldn't) go off to some kind of political, economic or social island. To some extent, it appears that the ADL and Foxman are only interested in one issue -- anti-Semitism. But, can you blame them? I certainly can't. Anti-Semitism is racist prejudice. How can we oppose racism against blacks only to become racists ourselves?

Nevertheless, the central issue for me is how we, blacks (including Farrakhan) and Jews move forward. Clearly, if Farrakhan is to be believed when he says he is not an anti-Semite, the NOI's rhetoric must stop. There has been some talk about a power struggle within the NOI between Farrakhan and Khalid Muhammad. I have no idea where this will end up, but to the extent Farrakhan is willing and able to moderate his views and moderate his rhetoric, that will be positive for black-Jewish relations. On the Jewish side of the ledger, it must be noted that the perception that Jews seek to control black organizations or institutions is not well-received in the black community. Frankly it's a problem that, in my opinion, increases rather than reduces black anti-Semitic opinion. Just as we ask how to turn the energy contained in black nationalist sentiment into a positive force for change within the black community, it must be asked how can we build a broader movement that permits the black community to work with whites and Jews for civil rights and other political and economic objectives on the basis of equality, mutual respect and mutual cooperation.


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Meanderings 1.06 -- June 11, 1994