It’s Not Just Kanye: The Deep-Rooted Antisemitism in the Modern Black Community

by Laureen Lipsky

Not much unifies Jews these days, sadly, but the tweet from Kanye West on Saturday, October 8th , did just that. A world-famous celebrity with 31.5 million followers on Twitter threatened the Jewish people in a response to a fellow black celebrity, Sean Combs, and accused him of being controlled by Jews.

While the spotlight of calling out antisemitism is currently focused on Mr. West, and rightfully so, antisemitism has been prevalent in the Black community for decades. It is not an excuse for the threatening tweet, one that reached more followers than there are ethnic Jews in the world, but that Kanye and those like him, especially in the entertainment space, who
have the proverbial loudspeaker, repeat tropes that have been ingrained stemming from numerous Black churches, from certain Black hate groups, and of course from the most famous of Jew-haters who retains massive power today – Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Was it always this way, that the overarching sentiment within the Black community was anti-Jewish? Luckily, the answer is no.

During Reconstruction after the U.S Civil War, there was a strong relationship between Jews and Black people. Several prominent Jews helped build schools in the South for Black children and that led to firm ties between the two communities.
In 1960, the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) was founded; it was targeted towards younger Black people to stand up for equal rights. In its earlier years, they had great relationships with Jews and it spearheaded a greater coordination to incorporate Jews into the Civil Rights struggle. Yet, when the 1967 Six Day War against Israel broke out and Israel won, the leaders of the SNCC were already more radicalized thanks to Ethel Minor, the
Communications Director of the group, who had formed ties with the Nation of Islam, and turned on Israel.

Ethel Minor set the tone of the SNCC and that included an antisemitic voice against Israel, which meant Jews. This is when the lies began about ‘Palestinians’ being a distinct ethnicity (the KGB invented the ‘Palestinians’ in 1967, when in fact Jews were known as Palestinians since after the Romans renamed Judea to ‘Palestina’ after the Second Temple destruction). Playing into the Soviet propaganda, the lies about Jews being ‘occupiers’ started to seep out into the Black

To push back against those lies, B.A.S.I.C was formed, a group made up of prominent Black leaders – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Louis Armstrong, and numerous other prominent figures in the Black community. This group implored their community to stand against Yasser Arafat and emphatically stated that Zionism is not racism.

However, the organization was rather short lived and after the assassination of Dr. King, the group dissolved. In that vacuum, the Nation of Islam, a Black Muslim separatist group, which also prides itself on being anti-White and anti-Jewish, rose to prominence, as did other radical entities. The lies against Israel became stronger and went unchecked. Louis Farrakhan, the leader of Nation of Islam, who has called Jews ‘’termites,’ who has praised Hitler, said that Jews ‘control the media’ and railed against the ‘Satanic Jew & the Synagogues of Satan’ – among other hateful tropes – has not been relegated to the far corner of the American Black community; rather, he and his messaging have been elevated by Black Hollywood and Black media.

Farrakhan’s infamous July 4 th , 2020 speech, in which he continued on with his usual Jew hate, was broadcast by Sean Combs (P.Diddy’s) channel, Revolt TV, which streamed his speech. In attendance at the event were major Black celebrities such as Nick Cannon, Rapper TI and his wife, and former NBA basketball player Allen Iverson. Football player DeSean Jackson tweeted numerous anti-Jewish falsehoods from Farrakhan’s speeches to his 100,000 Twitter followers, and rapper/actor Ice Cube has readily shared Farrakhan’s hate-filled diatribes. Even now, popular broadcasters such as Charlemagne tha God, who heads up The Breakfast Club radio show, has on popular Black celebrities who quote and praise Farrakhan with nary a pushback. Comedian Trevor Noah had in the past televised severely skewed anti-Israel messaging, and had made
Holocaust jokes which is ironic that he is now calling out Kanye.

In conjunction with the revolting Nation of Islam, another powerful hate group has taken hold of many in the Black community – the Black Hebrew Israelites, a domestic terror group responsible for the recent 2020 Jersey City murders of Jews. One just has to visit any social media platform to see the result of their ‘handiwork.’ They influence Black people to think that ethnic Jews are not real Jews, that Jews are ‘from Europe’ and are ‘White.’ And that Black people are the real Jews. This group also hijacks the term, ‘Israelites’ to mean ancient Jews who, according to the Black Hebrew Israelites rhetoric, are not at all linked to Jews today. Though all the usual antisemitic tropes are utilized by members and followers of the Black Hebrew Israelites, its real damage is in attempting to disassociate Jews from their Jewish heritage in the minds of the Black
community. Kanye West in his most recent tweets, mirrored that messaging when he said he cannot be antisemitic because ‘Blacks are Semites.’

And then there is Black Lives Matter, a Marxist domestic terrorist group, responsible for the 2020 pogrom against Orthodox Jews in Los Angeles, and numerous marches where anti-Israel messages are prominently seen. Similar to the Black Hebrew Israelites, BLM paints Israel as ‘white’ colonizers, lies that Israel trains U.S. police forces to brutalize Black people in the U.S.,
and that Jews stole land from ‘Palestinians.’

And what article on Black antisemitism would be complete without mentioning the infamous race-bating Jew-hating Reverends: Wright, who was closely associated with Obama before his Presidency, Sharpton, who incited the infamous Crown Heights riots, and Jesse Jackson. As with attempting to rid of Arab terror groups – where one may diminish, another pops up,
antisemitism, currently, in the Black community is similar; it is not just one major influencer or one organization.

When I was a Freshman at Temple University, back in 2000, a Black hallmate asked me if it were true that Jews used to have horns. I asked her where did she hear such nonsense. Her reply should be chilling for all: at her Black church in Philadelphia.

Although, of course, not all Black people are antisemitic, thankfully, Kanye is certainly not an outlier, nor should his mental status be a consideration. There are plenty of mentally-ill people who do not espouse antisemitic notions. Let’s not kid ourselves – if Kanye went after specifically Zionists or Hassidic Jews most people in the media and on Twitter would not even shrug. If one claims to stand against Jew-hatred, stand against it in all forms.

Perhaps one day, the strong Black-Jewish relations will re-emerge to echo the times of Dr. King. One organization, IBSI (Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel) is making their best effort, but there is a lot of brainwashing, inflicted by the major groups who now hold prominence in the Black community, to overcome.

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