May 24, 2019

We Need a New Approach to the Black-Jewish Alliance

“THIS WEEK IS the 54th anniversary of the Selma march, in which Jewish religious leaders and activists joined with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to demand the right for African Americans to vote in the Jim Crow South. But few are celebrating. The recent accusations of antisemitism directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar are only the latest indicator that the illusory Black-Jewish alliance is dissipating, leaving apathy and hostility in its wake.

Since the Civil Rights Movement, the Black and Jewish communities of the United States have theoretically built and sustained a natural alliance against bigotry and discrimination. But in practice, this relationship has been fraught with denial about the reality of racism in America, and its inadequacies have never seemed more obvious.

And yet, the death of the so-called “Black-Jewish alliance” could be a positive and necessary development in the quest for true solidarity. At the very least, the faulty expectations and assumptions that have plagued it from the beginning would die with it.”

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