Behind the Headlines: Campus is New Flash Point for Black-jewish Tensions
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Behind the Headlines: Campus is New Flash Point for Black-jewish Tensions

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University campuses are the new battlegrounds for conflicts between blacks and Jews, proving havens for revisionist academicians and platforms for outside radicals’ views, according to the author of an upcoming book on the black-Jewish relationship.

Student-council funds have paid as much as $10,000 to host Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan and others in “a parade of racial extremists,” according to Dr. Murray Friedman, author of a book with the working title “African-Americans and Jews: What Went Wrong,” to be published next fall by The Free Press.

Friedman noted that the current roster of speakers addressing student groups across the country include Dr. Leonard Jeffries, director of the African-American studies department at City College of New York; former civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael, who is now known as Kwame Ture; “neighborhood rabble-rouser” Al Sharpton; and “Professor” Griff of the rap group Public Enemy.

Friedman also cited David Levering Lewis, a black historian who has described the black-Jewish relationship, in essays in historical journals, as “an apparent rather than real soul fellowship that was minimally beneficial to the Afro-Americans.”

He has also written of the “caginess” of the Jews, who, through the use of “intelligence, money and influence tried to fight anti-Semitism by remote control,” Friedman said.

Harold Cruse, now professor emeritus of Afro-American studies at the University of Michigan, is “very virulently anti-Semitic, and has a strong anti-Israel thrust,” Friedman said.

He is “the patriarch of the revisionist movement as it relates to black-Jewish history,” he said.

Included in the ranks of black-Jewish revisionists are a number of “white Marxists coming from a left-nationalist perspective,” he said.

These campus speakers and scholars “stir up hatred for Jews and the State of Israel and destroy the partnership that has existed between blacks and Jews,” said Friedman, who serves as the American Jewish Committee’s Middle Atlantic States director and was a vice chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission during the Reagan administration.


“Black intellectuals are challenging old dogmas and strategies and some are creating the emerging overt bigotry,” Friedman said, adding that they are “clearly creating additional strains.”

Campuses are particularly conducive to these messages, he said, because “the black condition had worsened, and the campus elements of the black intelligentsia were especially upset about the deteriorating condition in black America.”

Students in particular “are being targeted for some of this political and ideological garbage that is passed off as scholarly research,” according to Friedman. “A central theme of their argument is that Israel is an outpost of Western imperialism in the Middle East, a counterpart of Jewish ‘exploitation’ in black ghettos.”

And campus administrators have, in some cases, proved to be “apathetic to racism and bigotry on campus,” Friedman said.

He recalled that NOMMO, a black magazine at the University of California at Los Angeles early this year quoted approvingly from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and “The International Jew: The World’s Most Foremost Problem,” circulated by automaker Henry Ford Sr.

The magazine article “was clearly influenced by revisionist ‘Afrocentrist’ thought,” said Friedman. It defined real Semites as Africans while dismissing the Jews as “a small group of European people who have proclaimed themselves God’s chosen by using an indigenous African religion, Judaism, to justify their place in the world.”

“After months of dawdling, the administration denounced the magazine and cut off university funding” to NOMMO, Friedman said. “I’m critical of campus authorities and media who have avoided grappling with all-out bigotry out of fear of being called racist.”

In an effort to counter some of the recent black-Jewish campus problems, the American Jewish Committee, in concert with the Washington-based Joint Center on Political and Economic Studies, a black think tank, is offering to send teams composed of a black and a Jew to any campus that requests it.

Friedman presented his findings to student newspaper editors and reporters last Friday at the Council of Jewish Federations General Assembly in Baltimore.

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