Anti-Semitism: Once Upon a Time(s)

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There has been a noted reluctance of the media, not to mention the cowardly political class in New York, to note the racial angle of the wave of anti-Semitic violence erupting recently in New York. Mayor Warren Wilhelm (“that’s de Blasio to you buster!”) naturally blames it on Trump.

That’s one reason to take in the perspective of Henry Louis Gates, a certified Harvard liberal and old friend of President Obama (remember the famous “beer summit” at the White House?), who wrote the following about the roots of contemporary anti-Semitism in the New York Times:

While anti-Semitism is generally on the wane in this country, it has been on the rise among black Americans. A recent survey finds not only that blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold anti-Semitic views but — significantly — that it is among the younger and more educated blacks that anti-Semitism is most pronounced.

The trend has been deeply disquieting for many black intellectuals. But it is something most of us, as if by unstated agreement, simply choose not to talk about. At a time when black America is beleaguered on all sides, there is a strong temptation simply to ignore the phenomenon or treat it as something strictly marginal. And yet to do so would be a serious mistake. As the African-American philosopher Cornel West has insisted, attention to black anti-Semitism is crucial, however discomfiting, in no small part because the moral credibility of our struggle against racism hangs in the balance. . .

We must begin by recognizing what is new about the new anti-Semitism. Make no mistake: this is anti-Semitism from the top down, engineered and promoted by leaders who affect to be speaking for a larger resentment. . .

The strategy of these apostles of [anti-Semitic] hate, I believe, is best understood as ethnic isolationism — they know that the more isolated black America becomes, the greater their power. And what’s the most efficient way to begin to sever black America from its allies? Bash the Jews, these demagogues apparently calculate, and you’re halfway there. . .

Gates wrote these words in the Times in 1992. I doubt the Times would run such a piece, by Gates or anyone else, today. It runs counter to the current racial justice narrative that dominates the Times newsroom and editorial suites.

If you read the whole thing, you’ll see Gates calls out for special criticism both Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam, and several popular books in Black Studies programs in universities. No wonder anti-Semitism is on the rise “among younger and more educated blacks.” Anti-Semitism is now something learned on college campuses.

What Gates singled out for censure almost 30 years ago now is still going today. Here’s a sample from Nation of Islam spokesperson Ava Muhammed, who appeared recently at Cal State Long Beach, on how Jews exploit blacks:

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