The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s references to Jews as “Hymies” and to New York City as “Hymietown” was deplored by 58 percent of Blacks in the U.S., pollster Lou Harris revealed over the weekend. The remarks were condemned by 76 percent of Jews indicating that there is substantial agreement between Blacks and Jews that Jackson was “dead wrong when he made his Hymie remark,” Harris told a luncheon session of the National Commission meeting of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here.
The pollster and political analyst said his surveys reveal a “remarkable agreement” between Blacks and Jews on many political and social issues. He noted that according to one poll, 43 percent of Blacks agreed with the proposition that Jews are “more sympathetic than most other non-Black Americans with the aspirations of Blacks to achieve equality.” Only 23 percent disagreed.
Jackson, who is campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination, was strongly condemned by ADL director Nathan Perlmutter in his annual report to the National Commission. Jackson’s rhetoric, he said, has been “indistinguishable from that of anti-Semites.” Another ADL report released at the meeting found that Jackson’s close associate, Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, whose support the Presidential aspirant has refused to disavow, has a record of racism, anti-Semitism and intimidation going back 20 years.
EXPRESSIONS CALLED ANTI-SEMITIC
Perlmutter, delivering his report to some 500 Jewish community leaders, declared with reference to Jackson: “Let us say it plainly. We are dealing with a person whose recoreded expressions are those of an anti-Semite. How else view a man who when annoyed by the press, attributes it to ‘Jewish’ domination of the press? And when critical of labor, blames it on ‘Jewish’ control of labor unions? When displeased by a boxing match between a white South African and Black American, condemns ‘Jewish’ promotors?”
Perlmutter noted further that Jackson “has attributed President Nixon’s venality to his ‘Jewish’ advisers, ‘Ehrlichman and Haldeman.’ ” Neither is Jewish.
The ADL director found further cause for concern in a poll he said showed that the younger, more educated and wealthier Blacks are, the more favorably disposed they are to Jackson. While the figures do not reflect the degree of the respondent’s awareness of Jackson’s anti-Semitic statements, the fact that these groups “esteem a person with such prejudice is sobering,” Perlmutter said.
Nevertheless, he found that “many Black legislators have been supportive of Israel on important issues” and that Jews have supported Black candidates for city and state office to a far greater degree than other white voters.
BLACKS, JEWS ‘NOT FAR APART’
Harris told the ADL audience that some of the political and social matters on which Blacks and Jews agree are “perceived discrimination against both Blacks and Jews, the need to end such discrimination and the old Ben Franklin admonition that we either hang together or hang separately.”
He said his findings showed that despite Jewish concern over some of Jackson’s statement, Blacks and Jews are “not that far apart” in recognizing that Jackson is becoming an important force in politics. “Where Jews and Blacks really part company is in their overall positive/negative assessment of Jesse Jackson. What worries Jews most about Jackson is their concern that he has made remarks that appear to them to reflect anti-Semitism.”
Meanwhile, Jackson who was campaigning in California over the weekend, said in an interview published in the Los Angeles Times Friday that he identifies closely with the Jewish people and their struggles is in my bloodstream and in my religion.”
FARRAKHAN’S HOSTILITY CITED
Farrakhan, who heads the Nation of Islam, a breakaway from the American Black Muslim movement, was little known outside the Black community until his recent threats of violence to Jews if they harmed Jackson and similar threats on the life of Milton Coleman, a Black reporter for the Washington Post, who first exposed Jackson’s “Hymie” remarks.
Seymour Reich, head of the ADL’s National Civil Rights Committee, said Farrakhan’s public utterances are of concern to all Americans “because of the dangers to society when bigotry and racism are injected in to the political process.”
The ADL report cited several examples of Farrakhan’s hostility toward Jews and Israel ante-dating by many years the emergence of a Black as a Presidential hopeful. In 1972 and 1973, a bookshop run by the Nation of Islam carried “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious forgery that first appeared in Czarist Russia and the more recent book, “A History of Jewish Crimes” published in Pakistan.
During the 1970’s, according to the ADL, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda was commonplace in the Nation of Islam “Muhammad Speaks” publication. In 1972, it ran an article justifying the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics on grounds that they represented an “oppressive” society and that “cannot be regarded as innocent.”
In recent months, the report stated, Farrakhan has described Jews as “enemies” of Jackson; made several allegations about Jewish “control” of the media and told Jews that unless they accepted Jesus “then maybe the angel of death will stop at your doors and kill the firstborn out of your house.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.