Some People Get it!

Some People Get it!

© David Burton 2020


NOTE: Bold text in directly quoted material indicates my emphasis and not by the originators of the quotations.


     There was a time when the most prominent group supporting African-Americans demands for racial equality in America was American Jewry. American Jews even gave their lives in the civil right struggle of America’s Blacks. But now, some six decades later, America’s Jews are appalled to find they are being subjected to a growing and often violent wave of anti-Semitism by leaders and supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

     Much of America is beginning to feel duped by the Black Lives Matter movement. “As BLM’s violence spreads, attacking innocent people in the streets, extorting business, and killing cops, they become more popular with celebrities and leftists who are fighting hard to start a race war in the US.
     “Each week, as BLM thugs have pillaged cities, corporations {were} kowtowing to the mob to show their support for the movement. But now that the BLM is clarifying their racist position toward Israel and the Jewish people, corporations that once praised the mob are now trying to dissociate from it.
      - - -
     “It didn’t take long for the most recent Black Lives Matter march in Washington DC to become anti-Semitic as protestors began accusing the Jews and shouting them out. The march . . . reveals that there is more to the BLM than meets the eye. They are a destabilizing force operating outside the rule of law, manipulated by bad actors . . . to be used as a paramilitary operation against the American republic and the rule of law.
     “. . . Approximately two hundred demonstrators gathered in DC, marching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol building as they shouted anti-Semitic remarks against the Jewish people. . .” (Ref. 1)


     What many of today’s Americans, including Blacks, don’t know, or have forgotten, is the significant role played by Jews in working for many years to help African Americans gain equal rights in American society. Some even gave their lives in the long and bitter struggle for racial justice and equality. Today’s erupting anti-Semitism in the current Black Lives Matter movement is thus a bitter repayment for the efforts and sacrifices of numerous American Jews who manned the trenches along with Blacks in the early civil rights movement.

     “Judaism teaches respect for the fundamental rights of others as each person's duty to God. ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor’ (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a). Equality in the Jewish tradition is based on the concept that all of God's children are ‘created in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27). From that flows the biblical injunction, ‘You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizen alike: for I, Adonai, am your God’ (Leviticus 24:22).
     “American Jews played a significant role in the founding and funding of some of the most important civil rights organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1909, Henry Moscowitz joined W.E.B. DuBois and other civil rights leaders to found the NAACP. Kivie Kaplan, a vice-chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), served as the national president of the NAACP from 1966 to 1975. Arnie Aronson worked with A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins to found the Leadership Conference.
     “From 1910 to 1940, more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools and twenty black colleges (including Howard, Dillard and Fisk universities) were established in whole or in part by contributions from Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. At the height of the so-called ‘Rosenwald schools, ’nearly forty percent of southern blacks were educated at one of these institutions.
     “During the Civil Rights Movement, Jewish activists represented a disproportionate number of whites involved in the struggle. Jews made up half of the young people who participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. Leaders of the Reform Movement were arrested with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964 after a challenge to racial segregation in public accommodations. Most famously, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched arm-in-arm with Dr. King in his 1965 March on Selma.
     “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were drafted in the conference room of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, under the aegis of the Leadership Conference, which for decades was located in the RAC's building. The Jewish community has continued its support of civil rights laws addressing persistent discrimination in voting, housing and employment . . .” (Ref. 2)

     One prominent advocate of Black civil rights was Kivie Kaplan, a Jewish American businessman and philanthropist, who served as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1966 until his death in 1975. I remember Kivie Kaplan from my early twenties, when it first seemed strange to me for a Jew to be president of an organization devoted to working for "colored people". I soon realized the problems facing America's Blacks and the work being performed by Kaplan. As a result, I became a member of the NAACP.

     Kaplan joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1932 and was elected to the National Board in 1954. In 1966, he was elected its President and held that post until his death. As president, Kaplan spoke throughout the United States on the organization's behalf and sought financial contributions. Kaplan was a trustee of two black colleges, Lincoln University and Tougaloo College, and treasurer of The Crisis magazine. He and his wife Emily fought in support of civil rights for all. He was one in a long line of American Jews who held a leadership role in African American civil rights groups.[3]

     Kaplan was a civil rights leader and he was a fierce activist and advocate. He spent nine years as the president of the NAACP, and in 1965, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. They were jailed together several times, and during the Freedom Summer, he went to Mississippi to register black voters. He was an organizer who traveled the country selling lifetime NAACP memberships. By the time of his death in 1975, membership had gone from 221 to 53,000. Kivie kaplan believed firmly in the Jewish idea that we were all created in God’s image, and so, at the age of 28, he joined the NAACP to help promote equality for all. [4]

     Jews and Blacks worked together, arm-in-arm to gain equality for Blacks. Two Jews - Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman – along with African-American James Chaney were killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob near Meridian, Mississippi. On 21 June 1964. The three young civil rights workers were working to register black voters in Mississippi, thus inspiring the ire of the local Klan.

     When the desegregation movement encountered resistance in the early 1960s, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) set up an interracial team to ride buses into the Deep South to help protest. These so-called Freedom Riders were viciously attacked.
     The Freedom Riders were not dissuaded and they continued to come into Alabama and Mississippi. Michael Schwerner was a particularly dedicated activist who lived in Mississippi while he assisted blacks to vote.
     When Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, a deputy sheriff, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.[5]

     These three Freedom Riders – two Jews and a Black – struggled together for Black racial equality and the three died together.

     Why then, is it today that the Black Lives Matter movement has taken on a decidedly anti-Semitic aspect? Doesn’t anyone remember the words “United we stand, divided we fall? Doesn’t anyone get It?


     “One of the greatest basketball players of all time has given an insightful and eloquent warning that the lack of attention to anti-Semitism is helping to perpetuate racism in America.
     “Los Angeles Lakers all-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and wrote a stern warning . . . that there was an alarming connection between hatred of Jews on social media and Black Lives Matter.
     “ ‘Anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation,’ Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
     “The six-time NBA champion said he was shocked at the lack of response from people in Hollywood and the sports world who should have been highly aware of the hate comments and reacted as vociferously as they would other forms of racism.
     “ ‘We expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage,’ he wrote.
      - - -
     “ ‘After all, if it’s OK to discriminate against one group of people by hauling out cultural stereotypes without much pushback, it must be OK to do the same to others. Illogic begets illogic,’ he said.
     “The icon of excellence in basketball said recent anti-Semitic posts by rapper Ice Cube and NFL player DeSean Jackson should have been ‘laughed at by anyone with a middle-school grasp of reason,’ but he was alarmed when former NBA player Stephen Jackson agreed with DeSean Jackson.
     “Abdul-Jabbar slammed Stephen Jackson for his support for the ‘anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan,’ leader of the Nation of Islam.
     “ ‘That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed . . . George Floyd.’
     “The NBA legend also noted that others . . . have also fallen into the trap of posting anti-Jewish tropes.
     “ ‘These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country…,’ he said.‘It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.’
     “Abdul-Jabbar said apologizing was not enough: ‘Celebrities have a responsibility to get the words right. It’s not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds — and words — which have the real impact. In this case destructive impact.’
      - - -
“ ‘The lesson never changes, so why is it so hard for some people to learn: No one is free until everyone is free. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.‘ (Ref. 6)


     Blacks, Jews and all other true Americans need to remember that we are all in this together. As Benjamin Franklin famously said some 250 years ago: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. (Ref. 7)

     All Americans “would do well to recall an element of shared history that still offers inspiration, when many Jews and Blacks stood shoulder-to-shoulder — and in some cases gave their lives together — in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. When Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched next to Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama, or Joe Rauh, Arnold Aronson and Marvin Caplan lobbied behind the scenes to help pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . <>br/>      “. . . Jews sometimes saw their own story as charting a path that Blacks {could follow}. When 19 Conservative rabbis flew to Birmingham in 1963 during a series of violent civil rights protests, they taught Hebrew songs in Black churches — with one declaring, ‘Our people are your people.’ Indeed, {at that} moment, many Blacks and Jews found their commonalities more notable than their differences.
     “Today that sense of commonality must be renewed. . .” (Ref. 8)

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  1. Black Lives Matter goes full anti-Jew: Now racism is part of the terrorist organization’s manifesto,
    Lance D Johnson, Natural News, 2 July 2020.
  2. Jews and the Civil Rights Movement,, Accessed 18 July 2020.
  3. Kivie Kaplan, Wikipedia, Accesses 16 July 2020.
  4. Why Civil Rights Are Everyone’s Problem — & What You Can Do, Gabriel Sands, REFINERY29,
    18 January 2016.
  5. The KKK kills three civil rights activists,, Accessed 16 July 2020.
  6. NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Blasts Anti-Semitism in Black Lives Matter Movement, Yakir Benzion,
    United With Israel, 16 July 2020.
  7. Benjamin Franklin > Quotes > Quotable Quote, Ethan B. Katz and Deborah Lipstadt,,
    Accessed 18 July 2020.
  8. Far more unites Black and Jewish Americans than divides them, Ethan B. Katz and Deborah Lipstadt,
    CNN, 18 July 2020.

  4 August 2020 {Article 425; Suggestions?_45}    
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