Kristina King on Who Are the Jew-Hating Black Hebrew Israelites?

Emergency personnel and investigators work at the scene the day after an hours-long gun battle with two men around a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S., December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lloyd Mitchell

The strange revelation that the two shooters at the kosher deli in Jersey City were part of a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites have many wondering who these people are and why they hate the Jews.

The Black Hebrew Israelites are one of several fringe American subcultures that promote a race-based nationalist identity. They believe they are the true Israelites and that “white Jews” are imposters whose “European” features betray their Khazar origins. What we all call Jews today are really remnants of an Turkish tribe that converted to Judaism in the ninth century.

In a recent national survey commissioned by the Philos Project on attitudes of African Americans toward Israel and the Jewish people, over 20% of respondents self-identified as, or agreed with, the core teachings of the Black Hebrew Israelites. This surprisingly high number does not, however, represent the millions of African Americans who reject anti-Semitism and fondly remember the history of black-Jewish unity.

“All of my life I have cherished the relationship the African American community has enjoyed with the Jewish American community,” says Rev. Horace Sheffield III, CEO of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations, “whether it was because of their acts of defiance against restrictive covenants in Detroit by selling their homes to us, or as witnessed by their commitment to the Civil Rights Movement and sacrifice of substance and life to insure its success.”

Black-Jewish Relations culminated during the civil rights movement when the two groups shared common cause in the struggle for racial equality. Both were denied full access to American society for generations solely because of their ethnicity. I am reminded of signs that read, “No niggers, no Jews, no dogs.”

Following the success of the civil rights movement, the strong bond between the two communities has frayed over issues like affirmative action and socioeconomic disparity. Some African Americans see Jews as beneficiaries of white privilege despite their minority status. And of course there is always controversial topic of Israel.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Kristina King

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