April 2, 2020

Did Covering Up Black Nationalist Hate Lead to Kosher Market Shooting?

Recovery and clean up crews work the scene in the aftermath of a mass shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket on Dec. 11, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images

The New York Times called Black Hebrew Israelites “sidewalk ministers” who practice “tough love.” The Washington Post described them as nonviolent and their anti-Semitic “street preaching” as “commonplace, a familiar if odd accent to city life.”

That “odd accent to city life” in Jersey City came amid a hail of bullets as two supporters of the racist black nationalist hate group opened fire in the JC Kosher Supermarket. Despite initial media and authority claims that the Jewish market had not been targeted, shooters David Anderson and Francine Graham ignored passersby on Martin Luther King Drive to get to the store.

When the shooting ended, Moshe Hersh Deutsch, a yeshiva student known for his charity work; Leah Mindel Ferencz, a mother of three who helped her husband Moishe run the market; and Miguel Jason Rodriguez, a dedicated father working at the kosher market, were dead.

In online comments, Anderson, the black nationalist gunman, cheered anti-Semitic violence directed at Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. One of his favorite YouTube videos shows a Black Hebrew Israelite preacher telling a Jewish man, “The messiah, who is a black man, is going to kill you.”

The hate group believes its members are the true Jews and that other Jews are satanic imposters. Online, Anderson echoed these views and expressed his conviction that law enforcement was working for the Jews to kill black people. This conspiracy theory may have drawn him to the kosher market, which is next door to a synagogue and yeshiva.

Anderson hated cops and Jews. He killed both. After killing Det. Joseph Seals, a father of five, Anderson and Graham headed to the kosher market in their fortified U-Haul van stocked with weapons and explosives. Moishe Ferencz had just left for the synagogue next door. 

Truly standing up against racism and anti-Semitism means jettisoning partisan agendas for the truth.

First responders Officer Ray Sanchez and Officer Mariela Fernandez were wounded. But Anderson and Graham soon were under siege. Outnumbered and outgunned, they died alongside their victims.

However, the attack might never have happened if police had been prepared for the terror threat.

In 2017, the FBI warned of the rising danger of “Black Identity Extremists” (BIE). The FBI’s warning to police departments came after the ambush killing of five police officers in Dallas by Micah X. Johnson and Gavin Long’s murder of three officers in Baton Rouge, La. Anderson had praised Long as having seen “an injustice that needed to be corrected, and he obeyed the commandments of TMH [The Most High] God.”

The FBI’s warning was shut down by progressive media outlets, activist groups and politicians who claimed black nationalist groups weren’t violent, that the term “Black Identity Extremism” was racist and a problem didn’t exist. A New York Times op-ed had warned of “The F.B.I.’s Dangerous Crackdown on ‘Black Identity Extremists.’ ” The actual danger lay in the failure to crack down on these domestic terrorists.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), despite representing a partially Jewish district, attacked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the FBI and other officials over the BIE category. “I don’t believe black identity extremists exist, and I believe the FBI should retract the document and send out a document throughout law enforcement saying that black identity extremists do not exist,” she insisted.

This year, under pressure, the FBI jettisoned the BIE term — just in time for the kosher market shooting.

The FBI report helps law enforcement officers like those shot and killed in Jersey City prepare for coming threats. By killing the BIE classification, Rep. Bass and the media may have cost lives. On Twitter, Bass responded to the shooting by stating, “The creeping rise of anti-Semitic crimes and violence throughout this country must be identified, confronted and ultimately stopped.” But it was her own actions that helped cripple the FBI’s ability to identify the Jersey City killers.

And behind this defense of racist and violent black nationalist hate groups were progressive politics.

Earlier this year, a confrontation between Covington (Ky.) Catholic students at a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C., and Black Hebrew Israelite protesters led to media articles whitewashing the hate group. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has her own history of anti-Semitism, claimed the students were “taunting five black men,” instead of standing up to five bigots.

The New York Times equivocated that members of the hate group “use blunt and sometimes offensive language, and gamely engage in arguments.” The “offensive language” and argumentative style of the Times’ favorite hate group was shouting anti-Semitic slurs at Jews.

A YouTube playlist by Anderson focused on these anti-Semitic incidents. In one video, a Black Hebrew Israelite preacher shouts, “Satan is in you!” at a Jewish man. “You stole our history. You are pretending to be us.” A preacher in another video calls a Jewish teen a member of the “Synagogue of Satan.”

“We want our book back and we want our land back,” he demands. “Go back to Russia.”

You can see why Rep. Ilhan Omar  (D-Minn) might have felt called to defend the racist hate group.

Some incidents have been even uglier. A video that doesn’t appear on Anderson’s playlist showcases a Black Hebrew Israelite preacher shouting, “The Holocaust is a damn joke! Heil Hitler!”

KKK leader Tom Metzger has described the Black Hebrew Israelites as “the black counterparts of us.”

Why, then, did the media and politicians such as Rep. Bass fight so hard against identifying them as racists? The New York Times concluded its whitewash of the hate group with a quote by a UCLA professor: “To many black people, Hebrew Israelites are a harmless part of their communities.” To many white people, so were the Klan. Racists mostly are a problem for people of other races.

A father of five with a badge, a mother of three running a grocery store, a man working to support his daughter and a young man known for his kindness did not have to die. If the FBI had been allowed to tell the truth about the Black Hebrew Israelites, they might be alive today.

Truly standing up against racism and anti-Semitism means jettisoning partisan agendas for the truth. After the attack, Americans Against Anti-Semitism uploaded a video of ugly reactions at the scene.

“I blame the Jews. We never had a shooting like this until they came,” one resident bellows.

“My children are stuck at school because of Jew shenanigans.”

“Four of y’all are dead, right? That’s great,” a man says.

“Get the Jews out of Jersey City!” someone else shouts.

This is the everyday hate we don’t talk about. If you want to understand why children are beaten on Brooklyn streets and why a kosher supermarket was shot up, it’s because some kinds of anti-Semitism are politically incorrect and other kinds are politically correct.

Evil needs silence and complicity to succeed. The cover-up of black nationalist terrorism accomplishes both.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.