NEW YORK (Dec. 3)
Israelis were urged not to exaggerate the problem of Black anti-Semitism by an American Jewish leader she is also the national lay president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Kivie Kaplan of Boston, a vice-chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said that “at meetings with Israeli leaders last week they made inflated statements regarding Black anti-Semitism, the role Blacks play in New York and other metropolitan school controversies and in inner city crime.” He just returned from Israel where he represented the UAHC as part of the delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Kaplan, who has been the lay president of the NAACP since 1966, reported to the UAHC Board of Trustees meeting here this weekend, “the time has come to place this in proper context. Only a tiny minority of Blacks are bearers of the cancer of anti-Semitism. The major reservoirs of anti-Semitism in this country are still white Christians.”
He cited a recent study by the Anti-Defamation League which showed that Blacks are less anti-Semitic than American white Christians and Jews are less anti-Black than Americans generally. The Jewish leader further asserted that “the racial dimensions of both crime and school problems in the U.S. were being misrepresented and inflamed.” He believed Israelis were “making a grave error in generalizations regarding Blacks, since most Blacks are favorable to Jews and Israel, and Blacks represent a major public opinion resource for Israel.”
Kaplan said that while Black anti-Semitism may be growing, so is anti-Black prejudice among Jews, and “both of these problems must be addressed and attacked.” He felt that most Blacks admire “Israel’s tremendous record of achievement and help to African nations, but all Blacks should not be blamed for the negative action of a small group. Every religious and ethnic grouping has its cancerous cells but that doesn’t make the entire body sick.”
Kaplan stated that he was proud of Israel’s achievement in becoming the “eighteenth country in the international listing of gross national products” observing, “that’s quite a record for a twenty-five-year-old country.” The Jewish lay activist has been a frequent visitor to Israel and works on behalf of numerous philanthropic causes. Thirty years ago he assisted in the formation of the American Christian Palestine Committee, headed by his late friend. Dr. Ralph Harlow.