Black-Jew Rift Widens After Southern Primaries
September 18, 2002 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Black-Jew Rift Widens After Southern Primaries WASHINGTON — Participants in this month's Congressional Black Caucus conference say the defeat of two black House members in bitter primaries not only suggests a widening rift with Jewish Democrats, but trouble within the Democratic Party itself. I have long considered the Democrats in trouble: one of their charms. A Black loses to another Black and it is the fault of the Jews? Reparations? Assuming there had been a strong lobby at work to get the Jewish vote to come out against these candidates, is that un-American? Don't we vote for those we feel best serve our interests? Odd that he Protocols of Zion not mentioned.
posted by Postroad (26 comments total)

 
The outcomes of the two races in question (Hilliard and McKinney) were certainly influenced by the contibutions of pro-Israel, out-of-state supporters. But I don't think it signifies that a huge rift exists between Blacks and Jews in the Democratic party. McKinney was too much of a loose-cannon and had said stupid things before and after 9/11; Hilliard was officially reprimanded by the US House for using campaign funds for his personal use.

I am pretty ticked off by the following sentence from the article: "At the same time, [Galen] said, Democratic Jews may be wondering where the party was when black lawmakers were making statements against Israel." You know, the era of blindly supporting Israel is over. Neither Palestine nor Israel is the good guy in this conflict, and our elected officials shouldn't be afraid to speak out and occassionally criticize Israel for fear of retaliation by the pro-Israel lobby.

So no, it's not un-American to support the candidates you feel best represent your interest. But it's very sad that so many people fear speaking their mind when it comes to Israel, lest they be branded un-American. Criticize Israel at all...and you're skewed as being in bed with the terrorists.
posted by jennak at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2002


obviously, the Jews are anti-black when they're straterigizinating to defeat a black candidate in a primary by supporting another black candidate.
posted by tolkhan at 7:59 AM on September 18, 2002


and damn those Jews for always doing everything en masse
posted by tolkhan at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2002


This is why one of the incumbents mentioned was defeated. How can they spin this into a racial issue?
posted by pallid at 8:09 AM on September 18, 2002


FOX News... anyone else reporting on this or can we assume its more dung from FOX?
posted by Fuka at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2002


Actually, I think it's quite clear that some Jewish organizations lobbied and funded to affect these election outcomes. Why shouldn't they? Interest groups (black, gay, Jewish, gun-owners, women's rights, manufacturers) do this all the time. This group just happens to not want anti-Zionists on Capitol Hill.

Also, I see you have linked Fox News, so I found some alternate versions:

Washington Post story: "Ira N. Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said of McKinney's defeat: "One of the most antagonistic persons -- if not the most antagonistic person -- to the U.S.-Israel relationship is gone." He said the political consequences "remain to be seen" and that he is concerned about "tension between some in the black caucus and the Jewish community. But their long-term interests are together."

The Forward story (July): "Like the Alabama runoff, in which Birmingham attorney Artur Davis drew national Jewish support in his successful bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Earl Hilliard, the Georgia race will pit two African Americans against one another, with Jewish money likely flowing to a challenger seen as more supportive of Israel."

And the National Review.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2002


It's a personality thing, not a race thing as Fox would like to portray it as.

Postroad, I don't know what the hell reparations has to do with it.

Kind of telling what issues Fox chooses to spotlight with the (admittedly somewhat loony) Congressional Black Caucus and what it doesn't.
posted by owillis at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2002


Where does it say that not supporting Israel is un-American? It is merely a statement by a Republican strategist designed to highlight that his party has typically been more pro-Israel. A political party using ideology to compete for the hearts and minds of voters is about as American as it gets. I do wonder why they have a Republican comment on the infighting in the Democratic party. Maybe so Fox came have the doom and gloom "It all ends up spelling trouble for Democrats" in the story.
posted by chris24 at 8:29 AM on September 18, 2002


How the hell did this thread turn into a FoxNews bash-fest? Fox didn't make this a racial issue - Cynthia McKinney's father did: Asked about his daughter's ailing campaign the day before her defeat in the Aug. 20 primary, Mr. McKinney said, "Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-E-W-S."

And maybe Fox could have covered the CBC event by highlighting this quote from Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, who chairs the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation,"Should we be focused on getting wealthy or helping others?" he asked. His answer: "If we don't have wealth, we can't help anyone." So their new bottom line is "We'll help you (if your black), but only after we get ours first".

Somehow I fail to see how statements like that would help the image of the CBC.
posted by schlyer at 8:34 AM on September 18, 2002


I think the larger issue here is why there appears to be so much hostility between these two minority groups. Jews were heavily involved in the civil rights movement, but since then, the distance between the two communities seems to have widened. What could the reasons be? I can't really believe this is an I/P issue.
posted by gwint at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2002


I think what the article and the news about stuff like this in general is actualyl trying to point out is the apparent shift in demographics.

Basically, the short way around these arguments leads to the hypothesis that the rising tensions in the Middle East combined with the GOP right-wing support for mass bombings of Iraq is raising the possibility that Jewish voters, long considered a Democratic stronghold in federal elections, will shift to the right.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2002


"The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!"
posted by blue_beetle at 9:06 AM on September 18, 2002


Hilliard, too, is a supporter of Palestinians

Anyone catch what President Clinton said on David Letterman on the 2nd Wednesday of September 2002. He addressed this issue, and more. But all I hear is what the republican side is saying. Hmmm, Clinton must be considered more than just an ex-President then.

Also, Al Sharp says about casting a vote of late. He felt some vote for a winning candidate only. So voters are now voting for the one they think will win the election, thus casting their vote only to that one, not the one who will do a good job for them, and still loose. Which, I took many different ways.

I guess a vote does not count unless it is for You...........
posted by thomcatspike at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2002


The fact that a lot of Jews voted against McKinney (and her father, who lost his job also...) means only that there is a rift between the Jewish community and the McKinneys. To extrapolate that into a rift between Jews and Blacks in general is ridiculous. Crazy Cindy did lose to another black woman, after all. The McKinney's are freaks, and they needed to go -- no matter what race they belong to.
posted by spilon at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2002


I think the larger issue here is why there appears to be so much hostility between these two minority groups.

The hostility is manufactured by the leadership of these groups. If the various groups agreed to a common agenda, the groups would merge (into a political party, perhaps) and most of the leadership would find itself redundant.

It's similar to company management fighting a merger, with the understanding that, should the merger succeed, the old management would be out of work.
posted by SPrintF at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2002


I think the larger issue here is why there appears to be so much hostility between these two minority groups.

As time goes on, the common interests of the Jewish and Black communities are dwindling. Back when the most pressing need was civil rights, there were many shared concerns and there was a remarkable degree of cooperation. While civil rights is still a big issue for blacks today, Jewish political power in the US has shifted more towards the US-Israel relationship. I think that what has upset some blacks is that support for Israel seems to supercede the right for a black community to elect whomever they want (even admittedly off-the-wall people like McKinney and Hilliard). Because some Jewish groups openly targeted these people, cited concern for Israel as their main motivation, and helped raise over a million to defeat politicians with long-term regional support, I'm not surprised that some blacks feel stepped on.
posted by laz-e-boy at 9:23 AM on September 18, 2002


Also, Al Sharp says about casting a vote of late. He felt some vote for a winning candidate only. So voters are now voting for the one they think will win the election, thus casting their vote only to that one, not the one who will do a good job for them, and still loose. Which, I took many different ways.

Puttingyour thoughts in English that cats and dogs can understand might be in order, thomcatspike--at least for those who think the point is in getting the point across.
posted by y2karl at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2002


Y2karl, I put, Which, I took many different ways. First I tried to find his, Rev. Al Sharpton(left the ton off) quote from last spring I believe it was so he could be the confused. Yes it is confusing. So as a dog to a cat, Aarrf Aarrf.

Al felt people vote for a winner only.
So voters are voting now to be on a winning side and only reason they picked the candidate of late.
Not all, just allot today, is how he feels.
And he wanted the public to re-consider how they are voting. And it pertained here as he felt the minority candidates were loosing elections because of this.
Again, I took this meaning different things. As one way I can say that I know people who have said, "O' why vote he is going to win anyway my vote won't help." I notice folks not voting thinking it is a No vote. Yet not voting is a negative vote for the way you feel, imho.

So does this article show folks voting more today or voting one sided?

Meow Meow..........
posted by thomcatspike at 10:38 AM on September 18, 2002


Where does it say that not supporting Israel is un-American? -- Fox didn't. I said that if someone were to refuse to support Israel 100%, and the pro-Israel lobby would make sure s/he is painted as a suporter of terrorism, and would help his/her opponent outspend him/her 2:1.

An article in the National Review had an interesting quote from Hilliard by way of James Zogby: In a syndicated column, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and a Democratic political lobbyist, quoted Hilliard explaining the newfound kinship between blacks and Arab Muslims: "I see more and more blacks identifying with Arabs and Muslims than with Jews. They see Arabs … being profiled like we are." I'm not sure if the Democratic party is as segmented as some believe, but the quote did give me pause.

I'll say this again: although I was happy to see Cynthia McKinney go, I was sadden to see Arab-Americans lose their only advocate on the Hill. (I'm not pro-Palestine, I'm not pro-Israel; I guess I'm just pro-Peace.) I wish there were members of all sides of the fence on this issue; it's too important an issue to just have one opinion voiced.
posted by jennak at 11:02 AM on September 18, 2002


That link is just Fox crap. Fox crap is redundant, isn't it?

I see this black/jewish rift everywhere. All my black and jewish friends talk about it constantly. NOT! Why just today I was reading about another interesting instance. Worth a read. I really loved the last line: Let's hope David Duke never strikes oil.
posted by nofundy at 11:57 AM on September 18, 2002


owillis: what has reparations to do with anything?
posted by Postroad at 1:54 PM on September 18, 2002


You're the one who brought it up.

I quite enjoyed the two bar mitvahs I went to when I was young.
posted by owillis at 2:41 PM on September 18, 2002


Focusing solely on conservative Jewish money in these races may be missing a bigger point. This June 27 Nation article about how AIPAC money helped get rid of Hilliard in Alabama notes the complexities. Turns out that politicians who annoy conservative Jewish groups also tend to have positions on things like free trade and the environment that annoy conservative big business interests. Those interests jumped on board quickly once conservative Jewish money entered the Hilliard race.
posted by mediareport at 3:04 PM on September 18, 2002


" ... explaining the newfound kinship between blacks and Arab Muslims: "I see more and more blacks identifying with Arabs and Muslims than with Jews. They see Arabs being profiled like we are." I'm not sure if the Democratic party is as segmented as some believe, but the quote did give me pause."

Goodness - this is by no means "newfound". There has long been an uneasy peace between some African and Jewish Americans. Even during the civil rights days of the 1960's, there was a strong link between Islam and some black power groups (Remeber Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam & etc.?). Even in the recent past, most certainly Louis Farrakhan's brand of Islamic militancy - complete with anti-Semitic rhetoric - does not exactly cause Jewish folks to feel as though they have a common cause. While both African and Jewish Americans have both traditionally voted democratic, it is often for quite different reasons.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:44 PM on September 18, 2002


Goodness - this is by no means "newfound". There has long been an uneasy peace between some African and Jewish Americans.

But does empathy and understanding of the Arab-American position necessarily mean a rift must exist between Blacks and Jews? I say no, though there are and always will be extremist examples, as you've pointed out. What do you think, MidasMulligan?
posted by jennak at 6:22 PM on September 18, 2002


Most american jews are not hardline Likud supporters, and most african-americans have no connection to the middle east and are not muslim, let alone extreme muslims. It is natural for blacks to feel some empathy towards the palestinians, but there has also been a strong effort among jews to reach out to blacks, and on the leadership level blacks and jews get along well.

what you're basically seeing is racism. some right-wing jews support getting rid of some not-pro-israel black candidates, and some blacks are saying that 'all jews' are trying to hurt them. it is racist to judge groups on the actions of their most extreme.
posted by chaz at 7:11 PM on September 18, 2002


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