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January 22, 1988 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



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48

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/MEW

Israel

Blacks And Jews

Continued from Page 46

to aid Jews caught in the
European vise of the Nazi
occupation.
American blacks watch-
ed the development of the
Jewish dilemma with a
great deal of their own con-
cern, a concern that, as in
previous times, the plight
of the black man and
woman in America would
be ignored while the plight
of a non-American group
thousands of miles from
American shores would be
the focus of government
and public attention.
American blacks, compar-
ing persecution in Ger-
many and the United
States, argued that what
was happening under the
Nazis "has shamed
America before the world
for a much longer time
than persecution under
Adolf Hitler?'

Then came the period of
crisis, the march for freedom
in Mississippi in 1964 when
Andrew Goodman, James
Earl Chaney and Michael
Henry Schwerner, were
beaten to death by white ex-
tremist. Rabbi Arthur
Lleyveld of Cleveland was
badly beaten by white ex-
tremists in Hattiesburg,
Miss., also in 1964.
This period represents an
important portion of the
blacks and Jews exhibit.
The Holocaust and the
rebirth of the State of Israel
have notable importance
here. It was also the time
when Jews marched in Wash-
ington in the Freedom March
of the summer of 1963. Jews
thrilled with their black
fellow citizens to the oratory
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King supported Jewish
aspirations in Israel. In an ad-
dress to the American Jewish
Congress in 1968, Dr. King is
quoted in "Blacks and Jews:"

"My people were brought
to America in chains. Your
people were driven here to
escape the chains fashion-
ed for them in Europe. Our
unity is born of our com-
mon struggle for centuries,
not only to rid ourselves of
bondage, but to make op-
pression of any people by
others an impossibility."

Tensions ruled intermit-
tently and the appeals to
reason did not always result
in cementing friendships.
Good will was as difficult to
attain with Jews as with all
whites.
Yet there was a liberal ele-
ment that recognized the ex-
tremisms among Jews, even
in matters that evoked differ-
ing views, such as over affir-
mative action.
There was cause for regret
when the Holocaust was

treated with rebukes over
some failures to acknowledge
the recurrence of racism. The
saddening aspects and the
search for the positive evoked
definitive comments.
In some of the more recent
experiences, Dr. Peck was in-
duced editorially to comment:

Various polls in the 1980s
have shown that blacks
"appear to be the least
aware and least sym-
pathetic to the suffering
and persecutions of Jews
through the centuries.
Jews are no longer today
in the vanguard of non-
black people pressing for
integration and progress
for blacks."
But if the political winds
that are blowing through
the America of the 1980s
are to be taken seriously,
new forms of extremism
and oppression, hostile to
both blacks and Jews, are
beginning to build...
For blacks and Jews, the
issues are clear. The March
for Freedom must become
the March for Survival.

The fact-compiled catalog is
filled with the dramatic ex-
periences in this country. It is
a volume of national interest,
with specialization on the
Jewish angles in a highly-
dynamited situation.
Dr. Peck performed ad-
mirably in his research
assemmling of facts. Nothing
is hidden. The aroused con-
cern over some of the continu-
ing devleopments is idyllic.
The recent occurrences ac-
counted for here, such as the
roles of black leaders like
Jesse Jackson and Louis
Farakan, emphasize
adherence to experiences up-
dated. His Blacks and Jews is
a compelling document. It is
a chapter of great important
in American history, the
black people and the
American Jewish community.
The great task undertaken
for enlightenment in ques-
tions affecting blacks and
Jews will continue as an ex-
hibit at the American Jewish
Archives of Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of
Religion, on Clifton Avenue
in Cincinnati until Septem-
ber. It will be an immense
contribution when the exhibi-
tion's assembled facts are
made available to all com-
munities in the land for an ac-
quisition of knowledge about
many conflicts and serious
issues in American life.
Then, hopefully, there will
be a continuity of efforts and
aims to carry on the dialogues
for better relations, to cement
friendships and cooperation.
That's the way of assuring
good citizenship without ran-
cor or malice.

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