Obama And Black-Jewish Relations

I guess you could see this anti-Muslim email to Jewish recipients coming. It's encouraging that many are exposing it. But the problem is deeper, according to this reader:

I wish that Cohen's column were an aberration, but unfortunately I think Obama faces a lot of obstacles with the Jews--especially older ones who've grown leery of the black community.  The anti-semitism there is real, and not just with Farrakhan, but with Jesse Jackson referring to New York as "Hymie Town" to and Al Sharpton calling Jews "diamond merchants" and Andrew Young's more recent comments about Jewish store-keepers. And these aren't isolated incidents - the hate pops out of the mouths of rappers and athletes. This is especially hurtful to a group that has traditionally espoused black civil rights.

Sadly even my mother, who lives in Florida, says about Obama, "I just don't trust him." She can't give any reasons, though she will usually mutter something about Israel.

My mother's fear is that he'll cut ties to Israel.  She's typical of the older generation and their belief that in every black person's heart, tthere is hatred toward the Jews.  And it's not just the Farrakans. Remember, too, that this generation was alive while the Holocaust was happening.  They watched as the Jews were liberated from the camps.  Anti-semitism is especially real to them.  So for my elders, Israel has become the one deal-breaker.  And it doesn't matter how many times I tell her that he hasn't said one thing to dis the holy land or Jews.  I don't know that I can budge her (though I'm desperately trying with threats of not seeing her grandchildren) before the election.  She can't be convinced.  And this from a woman who left South Africa decades ago--before it became fashionable--because she couldn't stand living in a place where blacks lived as second-class citizens.

Cohen's column is a disgrace. There is something of the "loyalty oath" about it.  But, unfortunately, it's more deeply reflective of Jewish opinion than any of us rabid Obama supporters would like to admit.  I don't know much about what Obama is doing to reach out to Jews, but he should probably be doing more of it.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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