Over the past several weeks, there has been a tense debate over the apparent rise in antisemitism among blacks in the US. The debate centered around comments that Kanye West, who has changed his name to Ye, has made, and which many regard as antisemitic, as well as Kyrie Irving’s endorsement for an antisemitic book on social media. However, there is much more to it than that. Extremists among the Black Hebrew Israelites have held marches chanting, “We are the real Jews,” which Ye also claims, and physical attacks by blacks against Orthodox Jews in New York have become an almost daily incident.
On the face of it, there should not be antisemitism among blacks. By and large, Jews have always stood by the struggle of African-Americans for equality. Most Jews also support the progressive ideology, which prioritizes mistreated communities and ethnicities at the expense of privileged ones, among which are the Jews themselves. Since Jews are, and have always been, a minority group, they tend to sympathize with other minorities.
In the case of antisemitism among blacks, however, there seems to be a new variation to the most ancient hatred. It is not the usual case where a dominant majority or the ruler turns against the Jews, but rather a group that used to be an abused minority, but has been given a voice, which it now turns against those it considers the privileged oppressors: another minority group—the Jews.
To me, it seems like this is first and foremost a case of envy. The Jews lifted themselves from indigence to affluence, and they did this on their own, despite vocal, and often institutional antisemitism. Today, many Jews occupy key positions in American society, far beyond their proportion in the US population. Naturally, not everyone likes it, especially those who feel underprivileged.
Ye’s words concerning the Jews are a good representation of these grievances, and we should pay attention to them because they not only express hatred, or at least anger, but also imply the solution to the problem. On November 30th, JNS published a piece titled “TIMELINE: Ye’s path to antisemitism.” The piece listed Ye’s words on social media and in interviews that, at least by some people, sound or feel anti-Jewish.
However, within one of the items in the list was a very interesting statement, which I think we should look at carefully. The statement read, “I respect what the Jewish people have done, and how they brought their people together.”
Unity and separation among Jews catch the eye of every non-Jew. But for people with keener awareness of the Jews, whether because they like them or because they dislike them, it is as if there is a knob that marks the level of unity or division among Jews. When the knob turns toward increased division, the dial of antisemitism shoots up. When the knob turns toward decreased division, the dial comes back down. If the knob turns toward Jewish unity, the dial of antisemitism slides to zero, and a dial of Philo-Judaism climbs up.
Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford, and Winston Churchill all noted the power of Jewish unity and related to it from their respective perspectives. Hitler, for example, feared it; Churchill treated it with reverence; and Ford advised social scientists to learn from the Jews how to build a cohesive society. While these three are notable examples, countless other known or unknown individuals have noticed, and noted the significance they attribute to Jewish unity.
When we look for ways to fight against antisemitism, we usually leave out the element of internal unity because it obligates us to reach out to our brethren, whom we often detest far more than our haters. However, we will not escape the simple truth that no measure curbs antisemitism besides internal unity. This is the only thing that earns us the world’s respect, and even sympathy, and the lack thereof is the only cause of the world’s antipathy and aversion toward us. If we do not see this, then we are in denial, and if we are in denial, the world will open our eyes the way it always has—with violence.*
*You will find elaborated explanations on the causes, history, and solution to antisemitism in my books The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, and my latest publication, New Antisemitism: Mutation of a Long-lived Hatred.