Black Hebrew Israelites are getting the attention that they didn't when they spent decades screaming antisemitic and racist slurs in urban centers, killed four people in two separate attacks in New York and New Jersey (one that took place on Chanukah) and provoked the Covington Catholic incident.
That last one led to the New York Times defending the racist hate group as “sidewalk ministers” who practice “tough love” in “blunt and sometimes offensive language.” Examples of that include, “The Holocaust is a damn joke! Heil Hitler!” and “The messiah, who is a black man, is going to kill you”.
Going on 'The Breakfast Club', hosted by Charlamagne, a rapper who is a fan of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt referred to BHIs as "the guys in Times Square who observe in a way that's not so traditional."
Screaming antisemitic slurs is a less traditional of observing Judaism, but who can question such things.
Greenblatt, who in one sentence describes himself as "very reformed" and "conservative Jewish", is as poor a representative of Jews as could be imagined. But the theological interrelationship of Jews is as entangled on his side of the line as it is on the BHIs holding up a map of the 12 tribes with no Jews.
Liberal Jews are largely interested in a relationship with black people based on the civil rights movement. Black people have no interest in the topic unless they're being paid to appear at some event. The Jewish presence in the civil right movements has been erased from black history. A reality that hit home for Jewish liberals when Ava DuVernay's Selma movie erased Jews from the famous march with MLK.
When black people strike up a conversation with me, as a Jewish person, they want to talk about religion, not politics. It's a topic that not only Greenblatt, but most liberal Jews are uniquely incapable of discussing since they have mostly discarded the faith of their fathers in favor of a new faith in politics.
The consequences of this theological reboot is that such religion as they have is dependent on their role in the civil rights movement.
Liberal Jews have robbed their descendants... Playing Esau, they sold their birthright for a mess of political pottage, and all they have to offer their children is the civil rights movement, Ukraine and other people's struggles.
I have seen few reform rabbis feel a fraction of the passion about Moshe bringing down the word of G-d from Mount Sinai as they do when waxing righteous about Abraham Joshua Heschel with MLK.
It's not just black people. Mexican farm workers, or today Ukraine, inspire them far more than all of Jewish history. Even the Holocaust, to which they erect countless memorials, is only meaningful because it validates their membership in the pantheon of the 'Wretched of the Earth.'
And that is why the other minorities they have placed in that pantheon, especially black people, resent hearing about the Holocaust.
Traditional Jews derived their religious meaning from the Torah. The secular liberal denominations replaced the Torah with social justice. The new chosen people were the oppressed, the downtrodden and the wretched of the earth. This twisted version of Judaism, often known incorrectly as 'Tikkun Olam' derived its meaning, purpose and moral authority from the connection of its practitioners to the 'downtrodden'.
The inescapable theological reality was that black people were the real Jews. Every oppressed group were now the true 'chosen people.' Liberal Jews had contrived to theologically replace themselves.
And they have no intention of stopping because they know of no way back out of their own trap.
Reform rabbis continue to propound the story of Heschel with MLK as if it were the single most meaningful event in Judaism. A casual observer might be mistaken in thinking that the entire movement was born sometime around the civil rights movement and derives its meaning and morals from there.
They wouldn't be wholly wrong.
Black Hebrew Israelis may be trying to replace Jewish people, but liberal Jewish strains have been theologically feeding off black struggles and history. And black people are right to resent it.
This problem isn't unique to Jews.
Liberal Christian denominations abandoned much of their faith for social action. They rebuilt their theology around the 'Wretched of the Earth'. So did some elements of the Catholic Church. Liberal Jews were once again imitating the upper class American liberals they so desperately wanted to be like.
And they've mostly achieved their goal.
They've erased their history and tradition leaving little more than a hollow shell that is driven by a noblesse oblige that in the era of militant activism is easily twisted into guilt and self-hatred.
Jews don't need the civil rights movement or any particular cause or the entire absurdity of Tikkun Olam. The history, the purpose and meaning of the Jews has spread out around the world to be almost universally known, if not universally accepted.
In Israel, it drove the recreation of an ancient nation with little more than grit and determination. In America and other western nations, Holocaust survivors used it to start anew, rebuilding families and communities after incomprehensible losses and traumas. Judaism, the beliefs and history, are incredibly powerful. Abandoning them is a moral, theological and practical dead end that leads nowhere.
Every people wants to know who it is and to believe that it matters. Liberal Jews have robbed their descendants of that. Playing Esau, they sold their birthright for a mess of political pottage, and all they have to offer their children is the civil rights movement, Ukraine and other people's struggles.
That is a theological microcosm of Jewish secularism which heroically throws itself into every cause and dies for every movement except their own.
American Jews have a fundamental choice between their own history and that of the latest romantic victims who stir their otherwise numbed feelings. And if they choose the latter and embrace the latest 'Wretched of the Earth' as the chosen people, they can hardly complain when their latest victims decide to turn around and claim to be the real Jews.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.