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Jews Stood on Civil Rights Frontlines, So Why the Antisemitism Now?

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Graffiti after rioting on Congregation Beth Israel in Los Angeles. Five synagogues, three Jewish schools and many Jewish-owned businesses were targeted in the riots in LA (Photo: Twitter)
Graffiti after rioting on Congregation Beth Israel in Los Angeles. Five synagogues, three Jewish schools and many Jewish-owned businesses were targeted in the riots in LA (Photo: Twitter)

Former NYPD police officer and IDF soldier Micha Danzig penned an article for the Jewish Journal on the impact intersectionality movements are having on people of faith, specifically how those movements correlate with antisemitic attacks.

Speaking out first against the disproportionate level of racial profiling, Danzig writes,

“As a former NYPD police officer and the father of a young brown-skinned man − who himself has been profiled and subject to outright harassment and unjustifiable detention by police officers based solely on the color of his skin − it pains me to no end to know that while most police officers are good, brave and fair, far too many still behave as if the color of one’s skin determines how much of a threat a person may be to them or others.

He goes on to write that the Jewish community “has suffered for millennia from the evils of racism, from the dangers of ugly stereotypes and from being ‘otherized,'” and notes “there is no community that should care more or fight more for the dream of American equality and for the blindness of Lady Justice to become a reality.”

And they have, as Danzig points out:

  • Jews were among the co-founders of NAACP
  • Jews made up the majority of American civil rights lawyers during the 1950’s  and 1960’s despite making up only 2 percent of the population.
  • Half of the “freedom riders” who galvanized the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were Jewish

Despite this history, there’s been a rising number of attacks on Jewish people in New York and New Jersey, some of which were initiated by Black Nationalists, which Danzig spoke to while appearing on One American News in December of 2019.

In recent years, traditional Jewish-Black alliances have been swept under the rug in favor of hostile narratives smearing Jews while exploiting Black suffering. Danzig points to two reason why we’re seeing this:

  1. The Nation of Islam and its leader Louis Farrakhan
  2. Far Left groups that are anti-Israel

As noted in a tweet by journalist Lisa Daftari:

The heart of Danzig’s article points to how George Floyd’s murder is being used to galvanize antisemitic hatred. Danzig urges us not to ignore it:

“The growing currency that deeply held anti-Semitic views have among too many African Americans and organizations that purport to represent African Americans, such as the ‘Movement for Black Lives,’ is not something we should or even can ignore.”

That hatred has roped in anti-Christian sentiment too, as we have seen in the “God is Dead” graffiti penned by rioters vandalizing both synagogues and churches.

Writer Daniel Greenfield also notes the civil rights heritage of Jews and his own frustration with the silence about the antisemitism of some of the protesters by parts of the Jewish community — some of whom recently ended their holiday of Shavout by cleaning hateful graffiti off synagogue walls and picking up broken glass left by Black nationalists and radical leftists:

“The same folks lecturing us on the dangers of remaining silent in the face of hate are silent when the hate is directed toward Jews. That is the sad legacy of American Jewish civil rights activism which fights anti-Semitism by joining together with anti-Semites to fight racism …

You don’t fight anti-Semitism by running away from it. And certainly not by running toward it.”

The choice isn’t mutually exclusive, as Danzig points out. Jewish Americans don’t have to choose between supporting African Americans against racism or standing against antisemitic rhetoric. They can and should be able to stand with both African Americans and against antisemitism.

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