by Nadene Goldfoot
Along with Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s racist problems in the United States are the problems I see of antisemitism.
The first thing I notice is from a recent report from The Anti-Demfamation League (ADL)’s October 2007 national telephone survey that found that 32% of African-Americans hold strong anti-semitic beliefs, which is three times more than the 10% for whites. This has been shown from castigations by Al Sharpten, Farrakhan, and even Pastor Jeremiah Wright himself. Jews make up only 1.7% of the American population. We certainly do get a lot of hatred from our fellow Americans who complain about racism in America.
I salute Sammi Davis Jr who not only was a Black entertainer, but chose to convert to Judaism. Instead of a double mitzva,"good deed' he took upon him a double surrus 'trouble'.
It was found that 18% of men hold strong anti-semitic views. 13% of women do.
29% of foreign-born Hispanics living in America hold hardcore anti-semitic beliefs.
15% of Hispanics born in the U.S. are anti-semitic.
21% of Americans with high school degrees or less hold strong anti-semitic views.
10% of college graduates are anti-semitic.
8% of the post-graduate degreed are anti-semitic.
By 2007 the ADL found that 15% of Americans are anti-semitic. That’s an improvement from 1992 which found 20% of Americans were anti-semitic. What is the complaint of Americans?
27% believe that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. They hold it against Jews of today.
31% of Americans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America.
15% of Americans believe that Jews have "Too much power in the U.S."
20% of Americans believe Jews have "Too much power in the business world."
18% of Americans believe Jews have "Too much control/influence on Wall Street."
In other words, they find Jews very influential in the business world.
Our sermons in synagogues are not about damning the USA for hurts, but doing good deeds. We were the first liberals interested in the good of all. We believe in education. Our parents sacrificed by pinching their hard earned pennies so that their children could gain not only an education, but an outstanding education. Jews have had to run for their lives so often that they have learned the hard way that the thing most prized to take with you are your brains. That’s what’s needed for survival. So many of our few Jews are well educated and become lawyers, doctors, educators and businessmen in their communities. I imagine we are noticed and envied by others.
In the 60's some Jewish young adults worked very hard on racist problems in the South with their Black friends. A few even died in the cause. Then I believe the Black leadership felt the Jews were running their organization and asked them to leave it. I fear that stymied the relationship between the two groups. It must continue at some level.
Whether or not Obama becomes the president of the USA, it seems to me that we have more repairing to do between the Jewish and the Black Community. My thought is an interchange of culture education. We’ve got to understand where each other is coming from more. We have to study the history of the 60's and find out why our Black-Jewish Alliance fell apart.
Religion has its share of responsibility to repairing the relationship between Jews and others. Damning Jews in church for killing Jesus is not helpful today. We’re on the defensive because we know we didn’t do that even though we do not accept Jesus as G-d. We feel our ancestors didn’t do it then and we wouldn’t do it today. We feel that every religion has its merits and fits that particular group of people. I would like to see respect of all religions as long as a religion is not out to hurt, maim or kill others who do not belong to it. We feel that all good people will go to "heaven." It’s not restrictive to sex, race, color or religion. It’s sad to see that religion has been the cause to divide and kill people for so long. You’d think that people would be wiser by now.
I propose a council to commence between Rabbis and Church leaders that will talk about reasons why people are anti-semitic and what they can do to rectify the situation. The same thing could happen between the Black Community and the White Community and the Jewish Community.
Where should all this start? I feel it should start with parents and their children. Children learn to hate from their parents. The environment they live in should reflect the goals of a loving community. Obama aptly showed us this with his white grandmother’s reaction to Black men on the street. A few cutting words have lasted forever in his mind and have colored his feelings for whites.
Imagine a time in the future where children learn to judge others on their merits and not on the past judgements of their family’s hatreds. Just how long will it take to reach this utopia? One generation could do it. Let’s try.
Reference: Anti-semitism in America in 2007-Anti-Defamation League surveys