A rabbi was on the front line with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former Rep. John Lewis on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. Another rabbi spoke before King took the stage during the 1963 March on Washington. Two young Jewish civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi trying to register Blacks to vote.
Decades later, when Barack Obama became the nation’s first Black president, his support among Jewish voters was higher than from any other religious or ethnic group other than African Americans, according to exit polls.
Now, in the wake of a surge in anti-Semitic attacks U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is looking toward that long-term alliance as he takes on a major role in establishing a Black-Jewish coalition in the Senate. The move has precedence.
“There’s been a long history of Black people and Jewish sisters and brothers working together on a whole range of concerns,” said U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
“We’ve been coming together,” Booker said. He said U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only Black Republican in the chamber, has joined as well.
So has U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“We will be fighting both racism and anti-Semitism,” Blumenthal said. “If you look back at the civil rights movement, it really was one the high points in race relations. It marked a real alliance along religious and racial lines in fighting for civil rights. I think we’re in the midst of a racial justice moment and a reckoning now that could draw us together.”
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SOURCE: NJ.com, Jonathan D. Salant