NEW YORK (Jan. 1)
While many Jews and Jewish organizations still work “doggedly”, for civil rights and Jews and Negroes live harmoniously in many urban centers, there has been a marked deterioration in Negro-Jewish relations during the past year, the Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page article yesterday. The Journal’s report was based on interviews with Jewish leaders and with moderate and militant Negroes and on various surveys and reports on the conflict between the black and white communities.
It concluded that the Jewish-Negro split was most evident in large urban centers, particularly New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Newark. It attributed the split to the black militant view that Jews were oppressors and to mounting Jewish concern over anti-Semitic manifestations in the black community.
The article quoted statements from Leonard Fein, a sociologist, who addressed the American Jewish Congress recently and from Rabbi Richard Rubenstein, Jewish chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh, both of whom warned against divisive forces affecting Jews and Negroes. It noted that the conflict was exacerbated in New York recently by the series of teachers’ strikes in which the antagonists were the predominantly Negro Ocean Hill-Brownsville experimental school district and the largely Jewish teachers’ union. It also cited a recent report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Rights that Jews own 39 percent of the stores in predominantly black neighborhoods of 15 big cities. It quoted the Negro author, James Baldwin, as saying the Negroes resented Jewish store-owners leaving the black neighborhoods after closing shop each day, “with our money in his pockets.”