Jeffrey Ludwig
Jeffrey LudwigCourtesy
In a recent article, Jonathan Tobin analyzes and questions the support by various major American Jewish organizations for the highly charged radical programs of Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Black Lives Matter(BLM). He perceives that the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs by supporting these anti-white groups “served to provide cover for and to undermine opposition to ideas that enabled anti-Semitism, and helped demonize Israel and its supporters.” What these Jewish organizations “didn’t count on was the way this effort helped intersectional ideology, which falsely analogizes the Palestinian war on Israel to the struggle for civil rights in the United States….”

Tobin’s analysis is excellent, as usual, but ends on a weak and unsteady note. He says “Legitimizing such a movement may not have been the intention of the Jewish leaders who signed declarations supporting BLM.” But legitimizing BLM actually was their intention. By agreeing with them the leaders hoped to ingratiate themselves with the woke crowd as if to say “we Jews are not so bad—we’re on your side about racism.” It was a move to ingratiate, placate, and mollify.

These Jewish support groups, by trying to mollify the equity, diversity, inclusion movement that originates in excessive and violent grievances, demonstrate to me a lack of integrity.

Jews do not have to keep massaging the oil of agreement into every African- American group’s grievances. Jewish support of legitimate black requirements for civil rights was always given a high priority. Jews were very active in support of civil rights, especially against segregation in the South. Michael Schwerner is a famous example of a Jewish young man who gave his life in defense of black rights against the haters.

After literally thousands of years of being persecuted because of their peoplehood and religion, and especially the recent horror of the Shoah, what group could possibly be more against racial prejudice, discrimination, and oppression than the Jewish people? This is so clear. The support for integration and acceptance of blacks has been widespread among Jews throughout my life. Even David Horowitz, now a leading conservative voice, worked closely with the Black Panthers when he was younger - until he came to his senses.

I taught in an all black high school for 5-1/2 years, and many of the teachers were Jewish. During that time, two highly qualified blacks came to teach at the school which was rampant with truancy, cutting, fights, stabbings, hallways slashings, student created fires and more. Both said they wanted to help "their people." One of the two managed to last for a year before quitting. The other, a retired naval officer, packed his attaché case and walked out, never to return, after five weeks.

But the Jewish teachers hung in there year after year showing those gifts of tenacity, humor, caring, and wisdom that are hallmarks of the Jewish people. One older Jewish man even showed me a highly critical letter he had received from the principal. He showed the letter to me and asked me what I thought. "Mr. Singer," I replied, "she hates your guts." Was part of her hatred of him because he was Jewish or was it something else? I can't say. But the day after he showed that letter to me, he arrived at school by car service, used his cane to painfully walk to the side entrance, passed out and died on the steps of the school.

Another female Jewish teacher who was hired by the Jewish principal because she attended the same shul as he gave endless hours of her time supporting extracurricular activities of the black students and befriending them.

The caring and humanitarian commitments of Jews to other groups, especially the black community in the USA is, I think, unparalleled.

The leftwing Jewish leaders of the two Jewish advocacy groups noted by Mr. Tobin should have firmly and unequivocally stated their opposition to the incendiary, rabble rousing ideology and methodology of the BLM and the CRT advocates. This in addition to seeing how the support of these advocacy groups for radical black ideology, by analogy, advances an anti-Israel premise by translating the black attacks on whites to legitimize the Arab population hostility towards Israel, And this without mentioning their lack of rrecognition of Jewish efforts to end racism.

Tobin doesn’t stand firmly enough against these extremist race baiters. He ends on a vapid note - a surprise to me because of the clarity of his analysis throughout the body of this article and his other articles. He writes, “there must first be a reckoning about why these [Jewish] groups failed to stand their ground against this dangerous trend in 2020….”

But we need more than “reckoning.” We need integrity and truth. The answer is that the Jewish organizations he has referred to are too far to the left themselves and lack integrity regarding the unique claims of the Jewish people to love, respect, and dignity.

Jeffrey Ludwigis a Harvard University Master Teacher who has taught at Harvard, Penn State, Juniata, and Boston State College and written numerous articles and poems