There is a lot of commentary floating in mainstream and social media about Kanye West’s repeated anti-Semitic comments, and whether he represents much of Black America, right-wing America or the Black entertainment industry. Authors pull an example here and there to make generalizations but no one has done a deeper dive into the matter.
Many of the statements being made are true but are far too narrow. Yes, there are many Black entertainers, athletes and politicians who espouse Jew hatred. Blacks are not immune from the scourge, any more than any racial or ethnic group.
The Kanye comments are vile and should be condemned, as are many others like Washington, D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) who said that the Jews control the weather so they can get rich. However, a more detailed analysis is important to consider if there is an overall trend of Blacks attacking Jews, and to evaluate the underlying reason.
I have analyzed two decades of FBI Hate Crime statistics. To summarize:
- Black people account for 24% of annual hate crimes on average from 2015 to 2020, for situations where the offender’s race or ethnicity is known. That is up from a 20% annual average from 2004 to 2014. These percentages should be considered against the fact that Blacks account for roughly 13.4% of the population, meaning that they are committing a disproportionately high number of hate crimes.
- Most Black hate crimes are against the LGBT community. Blacks commit many fewer religion-based crimes.
- Black anti-religion hate crimes did jump significantly in the 2010-2019 decade compared to the 2000-2009 decade. Black hate crimes against Jews jumped by 60% and against Muslims by 50%. That compared to White anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim crimes declining by 24% and growing by 39%, respectively.
- Much of the shift away from White hate crimes began in 2015. From 2004 to 2014, Whites committed an annual average of 78% and 85% of total hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes, respectively. Since 2015, that has dropped to about 67% and 77% on average, respectively. The difference comes from the growth in attacks being made by the Black community (first bullet above) and the Hispanic community, growing from about no hate crimes to roughly 6% and 5% of the total and anti-Jewish crimes, respectively. An undisclosed non-Hispanic ethnic group is accounting for an increasingly very large percentage of hate crimes as well – it is likely that many of these are Muslims, Arabs and people from southeast Asia (Pakistan and Asia) which are normally categorized as Asian in the United Kingdom but not in the U.S..
The year 2015 did not suddenly see a growth of Jewish businessmen, media ownership, landlords or any other perceived anti-Semitic tropes to drive the change in patterns. However, that year witnessed the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO in August 2014, just as Israel’s Gaza war was concluding.
Beyond the protests against White people generally, Blacks sought allies to their cause and turned to the Hispanic and Muslim communities. Black media personalities like CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill produced a “revolutionary” video in January 2015 in Nazareth, which he falsely said was in “Palestine”, and smeared the Jews in “a land stolen by greed and destroyed by hate… we stand by the people who courageously struggle and resist the occupation… From Ferguson to Palestine, the struggle for freedom continues.” A few years later, Rep. Rashida Tlaib would pick up this theme “From Gaza to Detroit“, that Jews in the U.S. and Israel are racist profiteers hiding “behind the curtain” and making a profit off of Black and Brown bodies.
In March of 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before a joint session of the U.S. Congress asking them to not proceed with the Iranian nuclear deal which created an existential threat for the Jewish State. Leaders of the Black community considered it a racist affront disrespecting the Black president, Barack Obama, as opposed to a desperate plea. The Black Democratic members of congress boycotted the speech.
With this backdrop, the Black Lives Matter movement drafted a manifesto with the assistance of Nadia Ben-Youssef of Adalah, a group dedicated to fighting Israel. The BLM platform singled out Israel and America’s relationship with the Jewish State as “complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people…. Israel is an apartheid state…. Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall.”
Progressive politicians argued that the militarization of U.S. police forces occurred because of training exercises with Israel, although the nature of the training and whether it led to the deaths of any Black people had been discounted for any who bothered to read past the headlines. Regardless, the perception that the Jewish State may have been connected to the deaths of Black Americans was often repeated by Blacks, Muslims and anti-Zionist progressives.
The Southern Poverty Law Center assimilated the narrative. Even though Jews suffered more hate crimes per capita than any other group, SPLC highlighted attacks against Blacks and Muslims, and those committed by Whites. Jewish victims were a small footnote.
The BLM narrative continued to churn whereby it was determined that Black people could not even be considered racist as they lacked power, and any actions taken against White people was simply “punching up.” Hate speech and actions by minorities was thereby given a clean bill of health, a double-“O” license for racism. The power afforded by that twisted reasoning became so ingrained, that SPLC openly stated that it objected to FBI’s Hate Crime numbers for Black people, since “Black separatism was born out of valid anger against very real historical and systemic oppression…. Black separatism is a response to white supremacy and white nationalism,” and therefore could not be counted as a hate crime. SPLC contended that the FBI’s calling out Black racism was “used to justify the over-policing and surveillance of communities of color,” and they would therefore not highlight it.
When Jews were killed in Jersey City, NJ, a Black member of the school board said that the Black killers had a point in killing Jews since they were “brutes” aggressively moving into the neighborhood. Black community leaders rushed to her defense when she was lambasted for her anti-Semitism about murdered Jews. SPLC also tried to come to the defense of the Black killers. And then, with the gas-lighting complete, the city’s un-murdered Jews appallingly handed out gifts to the Black residents of the city on Christmas, apologizing if their blood dirtied the local streets.
Amidst the attacks on Jews, the Democratic Socialists of America called for demonizing Israel and singling it out as a litmus test for endorsement. Not Iran, China, Saudi Arabia or North Korea – but the one liberal and Jewish state in the middle east and north Africa region. The DSA principally endorses non-White and non-Jewish candidates, with the exception of their champion Bernie Sanders, who is completely secular and an anti-Zionist.
So Blacks gather even more allies to the BLM movement. Muslims, progressives and anti-Zionists who all feel victimized by “pushy” White Jews. Validating their victimized status, they can no longer be accused of anti-Semitism or racism, and demand reparations.
This is the storm of Jew hatred that weighs on the Black-Jewish relationship today. The BLM movement and intersectional approach have taken aim at people they perceive as privileged and racist. For them, no group encapsulates having more than their fair share, stealing the fruits of others, than White Jews – both in the U.S. and Israel – in a warped worldview that has infected way too much of the Black community.