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Prominent Educators Discuss Negro-jewish Relations; Find Animosity

May 5, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A group of prominent educators and writers taking part in a conference on Negro-Jewish relations agreed here yesterday that animosity exists between Jews and Negroes but disagreed on motivations behind Negro anti-Semitism.

The conference, which was sponsored by the Conference on Jewish Social Studies, dealt with the question of whether Jews were occasionally harassed by Negroes because they were white or because they were Jews and with the role of the Jews in the Negroes’ struggle for civil rights.

Referring to the recent attack on children at a Brooklyn yeshiva by a group of 50 Negroes, Professor Horace Mann Bond, a distinguished Negro educator and dean of the School of Education at Atlanta University, said that the Jewish children were attacked because they were white and that the incident lacked “the classic elements of anti-Semitism.”

Professor Abraham G. Duker of Yeshiva University, contended, on the other hand that the attack was due to basic anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism among Negroes,” he said, “stems from the same source as white anti-Semitism, namely, Christian teaching.”

Leo Srole, professor of sociology in psychiatry at the Downstate Medical College of New York State University, said that Negroes find Jews “available objects for the hostility they bear to the white community.” Howard M. Brotz of Smith College, urged that more Negroes study and emulate the self-help projects of the Negro Jews of Harlem, which, he said, has achieved an admirable record in controlling crime and improving housing conditions among members of the group.

Bayard Rustin, Negro leader who helped direct the March on Washington last August, said that the Brooklyn incident merely expressed the frustrations of Negroes who were ready to “adopt a slogan of ‘to hell with everybody, regardless of color, race or creed.’ Harold Ribalow, Jewish author, said Negro authors like James Baldwin have been more effective than Jewish writers as spokesmen for their communities. Jews, he said do not accept Jewish writers until their works are acclaimed by non-Jews.

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