“Jews often become convenient stand-ins as the purveyors of the structures of systemic racism that continue to plague Black America.”
Tema Smith, The Forward, 2019
As remarked in “Aspects of Black anti-Semitism,” it’s clear that visible and occasionally violent Black hostility towards Jews presents the latter with an objective problem in terms of their (publicly expressed) self-concept as a people and the received wisdom regarding the nature of anti-Semitism (now given quasi-legal standing in many countries via the IHRA definition). In general terms, Jews have tended to avoid any sense of responsibility for anti-Semitism by creating and promoting narratives in which they are passive victims of a phenomenon that is the result of fundamentally irrational bigotry. This is often accompanied by the insistence that anti-Semitism has its origins in what are seen as pathological elements in European Christianity and that anti-Semitism is little more than a set of ideas that act as a viral psychosis among Whites.
Since the early twentieth century, this understanding has been augmented with a variety of modifications, many derived from Marxism and psychoanalysis, but the essential argument that anti-Semitism is a White pathology has survived, and has been very widely disseminated in Western cultural, political, and educational spheres. In fact, it has been challenged in significant terms only by the rise of anti-Jewish hostility in the Middle East, but even in that instance it has been characterized by Jewish historians like Bernard Lewis as being influenced by Europeans. Within the West, and omitting anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants, the periodic spike in anti-Jewish hostility among American Blacks represents perhaps the only persistent Western challenge to the received wisdom that anti-Semitism is a White problem, rather than a problem that originates with Jewish behavior. Black anti-Semitism also problematizes notions that Jews have been selfless and valuable allies to Blacks and other minorities, something that has been a key aspect of Jewish propaganda campaigns for pluralism in Western nations. As such, Jewish rhetorical and legal responses to Black anti-Semitism are of interest to White advocates, and to all peoples concerned with Jewish/Zionist group influence and behavior.
Victims of White Systems
One of the most prominent Jewish strategies when discussing Black anti-Semitism is the attempt to preserve both Jewish and Black senses of victimhood, and thus preserve the idea of an alliance against an allegedly oppressive White society. On the most basic level, this strategy involves denying any specificity to Black complaints against Jews and essentially involves an entrenchment of the idea that anti-Semitism is a White pathology. Black socio-economic grievances are radically downplayed or even ignored entirely in this framework, and the locus of all discussion tends to be on vague, putative historical contexts of Jewish victimhood (e.g. “This is another sorry chapter in the history of the Longest Hatred”), rather than on serious thinking about perpetrator motivation.
An excellent example in this regard is Tema Smith’s Forward article “How to talk about Black anti-Semitism.” Smith attempts to preserve both Jewish and Black senses of victimhood by arguing that “Jews often become convenient stand-ins as the purveyors of the structures of systemic racism that continue to plague Black America.” This is really a fascinating statement given that it comes in the aftermath of Black attacks on Jews involving everything from “fists and stones to machetes, automatic weapons, and explosive devices.” Despite very clear dynamics of targeted hostility, the victimhood of both peoples is preserved and asserted since the putatively passive Jews are merely “convenient stand-ins,” and Blacks are themselves “plagued” by “the structures of systemic racism.” In other words, antagonistic Jewish behaviors are either non-existent or ultimately irrelevant, while Blacks can’t be fully condemned for their attitudes and behavior because they’ve essentially been fooled by an exploitative racist system. Thus, in a context in which a disproportionately vast numbers of Hasidic Jews exploit their tenants and accumulate hundreds of building violations through sheer greed and disdain for those living in their properties, and in the process making life hell for many Blacks, the real villain of the story is somehow the White man — a figure, curiously enough, that is almost totally absent from all “Worst Landlord” lists.
In this reaction, therefore, Jews and their behaviors dissolve into the abstraction of imagined social systems—specifically “racist” systems that are part of a putative White power structure. Smith continues:
What is remarkable, though, is that a single factor underlies every attempt to diagnose a unique form of Black anti-Semitism: systemic racism. In analysis after analysis, antisemitism in the Black community is shown to be the symptom of the structures of racism in the United States—housing insecurity, lack of access to quality education, food deserts, access to political capital, discriminatory policing, and on and on. Ultimately, the conversation about Black anti-Semitism is not actually about Blacks and Jews. [emphasis added]
This is a capable use of persuasive language, but what is truly remarkable is that Smith fails to identify the true “single factor” underlying attempts to diagnose Black anti-Semitism — the stunning avoidance of any significant confrontation with the worst aspects of Jewish behavior in Black districts. Whether or not housing insecurity, lack of access to quality education, food deserts, access to political capital, or discriminatory policing have anything to do with the specific issue of Black anti-Semitism is up for debate, but what is clearly contributing to Black anti-Semitism is the decades-old prevalence of Jews as the very worst of ghetto slumlords, pawn brokers, loan merchants, and political hypocrites. Smith doesn’t provide a single reference or footnote to any of the examples of “analysis after analysis” allegedly proving a thesis that conveniently absolves Jews of provoking Black aggression because these analyses are almost non-existent outside the ridiculous offerings of the Jewish power structure’s own self-defense bodies. In fact, when serious unbiased scholarly studies are made of Black anti-Semitism they tend to overwhelmingly conclude, in the words of Ronald Tsukashima and Darrel Montero, that “economic mistreatment [by Jews] is strongly related to heightened antipathy toward Jews.”Ronald Tadao Tsukashima, Darrel Montero, “The Contact Hypothesis: Social and Economic Contact and Generational Changes in the Study of Black Anti-Semitism,” Social Forces, Volume 55, Issue 1, September 1976, 149–165. Although more ambiguous in their representation of findings, see also, Gary T. Marx, Protest and Prejudice: A Study of Belief in the Black Community (New York: Harper and Row, 1967) and Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979).
One study that concedes economic mistreatment of Blacks by Jews, but insists that Whites and their “racist system” are still responsible for the situation, is the ADL-sponsored Anti-Semitism in America (1979) by Harold Quinley and Charles Glock. In the fourth chapter of this text, “Anti-Semitism Among Black Americans,” the authors concede their findings “are consistent with a theory that black anti-Semitism is economically based,” and that having business contacts with Jews “was associated with a sharp rise in anti-Semitic responses.”Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979), 57. In particular, it was found that Jewish credit practices were one of the “principle areas in which blacks are exploited. They often end up paying exorbitant prices for inferior goods.”Ibid., 66.
(Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979), 57.) Remarkably, however, in summarising their conclusions the authors move away radically from the specificities of Black-Jewish interactions, instead abstracting into discussion of systems of racism. In essence, they replicate the process of Jews dissolving into Whiteness. For example, they assert that “it is largely as members of the oppressive white majority that blacks seem to react to Jews.”Ibid., 72.
(Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979), 57.) This is followed by what amounts to absolution of both Blacks and Jews, and a condemnation of Whites:
Prejudice should be deplored wherever it exists and for whatever reason. At the same time, prejudice toward the oppressor is not to be equated with prejudice toward the oppressed. The prejudice of blacks is in part a response to circumstances which white-dominated culture has imposed on them. The opposite does not apply with respect to the prejudice of whites.
The rhetorical pattern is thus replicated that negative Jewish behavior is either non-existent or irrelevant, that, in a sense, Black violence is excusable, and that the real enemy of both is White people and their culture.
The Judeo-Bolshevik Inflection
Part of the “systems” apologetic, but worthy of analysis in its own right, is the Jewish-Marxist treatment of Black anti-Semitism. A good example of this approach was published last month at Jacobin, in the form of Aaron Freedman’s article “To Defeat Antisemitism, We Must Defeat Capitalism.” It’s long been my opinion that a significant element of historical Jewish support for Marxism is that Marxism is itself a kind of “escape into systems.” Jews have for centuries been noted as particularly negative forces within capitalism, and it would appear that Jews have much to gain by advancing the idea that it is the system of capitalism, rather than Judaism and Jewish approaches to capitalism, that is inherently bad. It is indeed a curio of history and contemporary economics that Jews have heavily accumulated, and often dominated, in those economic areas widely seen as exemplifying the worst of capitalism: usury/high interest loans, including the modern payday loan; sub-prime mortgages; tax farming; vulture funds; monopoly; fraud; Ponzi schemes; slumlordism; tax avoidance; internet gambling; and malicious bankruptcy. I’ve tackled the Marxist critique of anti-Semitism in great detail in relation to the ideas of Slavoj Zizek (who later referenced the “true anti-Semitism” of my essay at RT but—rather tellingly—offered no rebuttal, refusing even to answer the question he quotes). But here I want to discuss it specifically with reference to the issue of Black anti-Semitism.
Aaron Freedman, who lives in Brooklyn and should therefore know better, is quite unabashed in asserting that “Antisemitism endures because capitalist oppression needs a scapegoat,” which is really no more than a rephrasing of Tema Smith’s claim that Jews are merely “convenient stand-ins” for the real problem — the racist structure of White society. Freedman admits that there has been a sudden increase in Black attacks on Jews, but his first attempt at explanation can only be described as nothing less than remarkable: “A surge in white-nationalist activity since Donald Trump’s election is surely the main part of the story.”
Inserting “surely” into a sentence is a nice effort at persuasive writing, but the logical gap is so great in this instance that it resembles the rhetorical equivalent of putting a band-aid on the hull of a sinking ship. Freedman qualifies his astonishing claim only by adding “But Trump’s victory alone does not explain the spate of incidents in New York, committed in many cases by black individuals in both planned assaults and apparently random street encounters.” The confusion unfortunately escalates from there, with Freedman commenting “The Right obviously does not have an answer.” The problem here is that we obviously do have an answer for the causes of Black anti-Semitism, and like all great theses it can be summed up in a single, short sentence: “Jews have been behaving badly again.” Freedman dodges any hint at such an explanation, moving into his own breakdown of why Blacks have been attacking Jews: Capitalism.
Like all Marxist interpretations of anti-Semitism, Freedman asserts that “Its roots in the United States, by way of Europe, come from Christian discrimination against “Christ killers,” dating as far back as the 2nd century CE.” This is, quite frankly, a nonsensical oversimplification, and the dating of the origins of anti-Semitism from medieval Christendom, rather than the ancient world, is an depressingly common feature of Jewish apologetics, a tactic that typically owes much of its development to the convenience of placing the blame for anti-Semitism on early Christianity. Most significantly, it is based on the theories of Gavin Langmuir, a philosemitic scholar who by his own admission dated his discussion of the origins of anti-Semitism to the medieval period because, “I am respectably knowledgeable only about the history of the West since the fall of the Roman Empire and am most at home in the Middle Ages.” Compounding Freedman’s gross errors, the Jacobin journalist states with brazen duplicity that Jewish financial activities in the Middle Ages were “far less oppressive” than that of other peoples (again, see my commentary on the ideas of Slavoj Zizek for historical sources contradicting such assertions), and that they were only quaintly engaged in “petty bourgeois profit-seeking.” No mention of Jewish elite status. No discussion of Jewish tax-farming. No inclusion of peasant revolts against the unusually oppressive nature of Jewish finance. Jews appear in Freedman’s narrative only as “a religious other,” picked on because they were “also very vulnerable.” So vulnerable they typically had royal protection? So vulnerable that most of the oldest residential houses in England were built for Jews, their thick stone standing the test of centuries and countless reactions from the goyim?
If by now, like me, you’re wondering what Freedman has to say specifically on the matter of Black anti-Semitism, then also, like me, you’ll be frustrated with the fact he finishes the piece without mentioning anything at all about Black anti-Jewish hostility in Brooklyn. In a grand piece of diversionary nonsense, he merely recounts the standard Judeo-Bolshevik narrative of anti-Semitism, declaring Black anti-Semitism to be inconsequential to the greater story: “the specific threat of white-nationalist organizations remains the paramount one,” and “in any society in which the few rule over the many, racist and antisemitic victim-blaming will thrive.” The message is therefore more or less identical to that offered by Tema Smith — when Blacks attack Jews it has nothing to do with either Blacks or Jews, and everything to do with Whites. The situation thus presents itself that Jewish slumlords abuse and exploit their Black tenants, Blacks react by assaulting Jews, and Whites are encouraged to chastise themselves for causing it all through their evil desire for private property.
In “Aspects of Black anti-Semitism,” I noted that,
A fascinating feature of coverage of the Winter 2019/2020 attacks on Jews by Blacks in New York has been the total absence of media enquiry into why the assaults took place. Like so much historiography on European anti-Semitism, there is simply no room for the question Why? As in Kiev, or Odessa, or the Rhine Valley, or Lincoln, or Aragon, or Galicia, the assaults on Jews in Brooklyn apparently emerged from the ether, motivated by some miasmic combination of insanity and demonic aggression. NBC New York reported bluntly on a “spree of hate,” but had nothing in the way of analysis of context other than a condemnation of “possible hate-based attacks” — one of the most remarkably opaque pieces of analytical nomenclature I’ve ever come across.
Mirroring media neglect of context, some Jewish reactions have consisted of feigned ignorance and bafflement at what might have caused Black anti-Semitism. In a December 2019 article for the Daily Beast, Brooklyn-based Jay Michaelson attempts to explain “What’s Behind the New Wave of Anti-Semitic Hate?” What his article in facts consists of is a series of mystifications of what is really a fairly straightforward story. For Michaelson, “speaking as a Jewish parent who lives in Brooklyn, I can tell you that it’s terrifying. It is also confusing. [emphasis added]” The only thing Michaelson seems sure of is that “hate” is involved, but he courageously probes deeper by asking: “Hate, yes, but what kind of hate?” His conclusion? “The answer is not simple.” Michaelson does concede that some of the anti-Jewish actions of recent decades contain “glimmers of ideology” — “the Crown Heights riot of 1991 was in part about city resources, housing, gentrification, policing and political power”—but he follows this by insisting that “These attacks say nothing about African-Americans or anti-Semitism in black communities. … To eradicate anti-Semitism, we must understand it—and right now, when it comes to this devastating new wave of attacks, we don’t.”
Other than blank confusion, then, does Michaelson suggest that anyone at all is blameworthy for the recent outbreaks of Black anti-Semitism? After much confusion, the fog settles and the real perpetrator comes into Michaelson’s view: Donald Trump. Michaelson unveils the villain of the story as follows:
While conspiracy-mongering exists on the left and the right, there is no left-wing or African-American equivalent of President Trump, who has freely traded in anti-Semitic stereotypes, sometimes in a joking way. … Indeed, Trump’s contribution to our conspiracy-fevered culture is broader than specifically anti-Semitic conspiracies. For example, regarding the 2016 election alone, Trump has claimed, baselessly, that it was rigged (even though he won anyway), that millions of people voted illegally in it, that Ukraine (not Russia) interfered with it, and that there are still important email servers floating around out there that we have to get our hands on. When you play with fire like this, vulnerable populations get burned. Especially Jews.
The real reason for Black attacks on Jews is thus unveiled with crystal clarity. According to Michaelson, it all began when Donald Trump made some jokes that some Jews perceived to refer to “canards” about Jews and money. The situation was compounded further when Trump complained about Hillary Clinton keeping state business on a private email server. Unable to control themselves in light of Trump’s jokes, and rendered paranoid by talk of Ukrainian meddling and the security protocols of email servers, the Blacks of Brooklyn rose up in violence against the “vulnerable population” in their midst—the entirely innocent, passive and wealthy Hasidic landlords who owned their slums and debts. Right.
The Material Reaction
It often pays to observe what Jews do rather than what they say. Steven Gold, writing on the Jewish response to growing Black anti-Semitism in 1940s Harlem, comments:
Being well organized, Jewish communal associations took note when Jewish merchants were accused of inappropriate behavior. When African-American journalists or activists complained about the exploitative behavior of ghetto merchants, Jewish spokesmen often resisted accepting responsibility and instead labeled accusers as anti-Semites for referring to the merchants’ religion. Contending that Jewish merchants treated Blacks no worse than other Whites did, they objected to being singled out.S. Gold, The Store in the Hood: A Century of Ethnic Business and Conflict (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 75.
Resisting accepting responsibility for exploitative and inappropriate behavior has long been the favored option of Jews, even when confronted with quite extreme and violent manifestations of anti-Semitism. In fact, one of the obvious themes of Jewish history is the persistence of negative behaviors amidst ever-intensifying efforts to entrench within the host society, often via radically increased security and associated privileges (e.g. restricted freedoms for non-Jews, harsh penalties for anti-Semitism). A constant of Jewish history is that in general Jews do not change behavior that is seen negatively by non-Jews; rather, they find ways to continue to engage in the behavior but avoid the consequences—a facet of aggression as a background trait of Jewish behavior (p. 26ff). As such, one would expect that Black anti-Semitism will not significantly change patterns of Jewish behavior in Black areas, and that we will instead witness Jewish communities enjoying very high levels of police protection and the promotion of the idea that Jews are a vulnerable, passive, and special people entirely deserving of special treatment. Additionally, despite Jewish rhetoric blaming Black anti-Semitism on Whites, one would expect a high level of suspicion of Blacks among Jews, and subtle attempts by Jews to punish Blacks for their aggressions.
Security for Jews has already vastly increased since December 2019, with the Guardian reporting that police have stepped up patrols in “Borough Park, Midwood, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg, as well as establishing community-based neighborhood safety coalitions overseen by the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. In addition, the city announced an increased NYPD presence at houses of worship and during local events. Six new surveillance towers and additional security cameras will be installed throughout the neighborhoods.” As well as increasing security on the ground, Jewish leaders last week successfully lobbied Attorney General William Barr to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for anti-Semitism at federal level. The new, harsher approach to crimes against Jews will get its first trial in the case of Tiffany Harris, a Brooklyn-based Black woman of dubious mental health who slapped three Jewish women and now, on the orders of Barr, will face federal hate crime charges which carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.
The issue of Jewish security has also called into question the putatively selfless Jewish interest in “social justice.” Having previously backed New York’s “no bail” criminal justice reforms, ostensibly intended to stop the injustice of those in poverty (mainly Blacks) spending more time in jail than those with the funds to bail their way out (mainly Whites), Jews are now rapidly turning on the policy change and demanding that “hate crime” exemptions be considered. In other words, Jews want subtle protections and subtle punishments. The Forward reports:
People are panicking, people feel frightened,” said Chaim Deutsch, a New York City councilman who represents a Brooklyn district with a large Hasidic population. “When they see someone like Tiffany Harris is released on bail, and got released only to go assault someone again, it sends the wrong message.” Deutsch is circulating an open letter to Cuomo criticizing the new criminal justice reforms. Simcha Eichenstein, a state assemblyman who also represents a Brooklyn district, plans to introduce legislation that would remove all hate crime charges from the list of crimes that judges cannot set bail for. Deutsch told the Forward he supports Eichenstein’s legislation. Concern for the repercussions of the bail reforms is growing among politicians. Cuomo has said he wants to reconsider the rules. Even progressives like Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the New York State Senate majority leader, has signaled her willingness to look at the rules again.
A policy change that has been the cause célèbre of liberal multiculturalists for years is thus forced into sharp revision solely because it has been deemed to negatively impact Jewish security.
This is the true Jewish reaction to Black anti-Semitism, devoid of rhetorical smoke and mirrors, and steeped in centuries of tradition: Deny Responsibility; Entrench in the Society; Continue and Intensify Existing Behaviors; Increase Privileges and Protections; Punish Opponents.
What a vicious and endless circle.
 Ronald Tadao Tsukashima, Darrel Montero, “The Contact Hypothesis: Social and Economic Contact and Generational Changes in the Study of Black Anti-Semitism,” Social Forces, Volume 55, Issue 1, September 1976, 149–165. Although more ambiguous in their representation of findings, see also, Gary T. Marx, Protest and Prejudice: A Study of Belief in the Black Community (New York: Harper and Row, 1967) and Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979).
 Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979), 57.
 Ibid., 66.
 Ibid., 72.
 S. Gold, The Store in the Hood: A Century of Ethnic Business and Conflict (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 75.