The Not So Secret Relationship Between Jews and the Slave Trade
The Polemical Dimension
Harold Brackman© Harold Brackman/Simon Wiesenthal Center 1997 - Reproduction interdite sauf pour usage personnel - No reproduction except for personal use only
The year of the Persian Gulf War, 1991, also marked the eruption of another, ongoing conflict which might be called the Black-Jewish «history war» over responsibility for the Atlantic slave trade. In July, 1991, one month before the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn was rocked by three days of anti-Jewish violence after a Hasidic motorist accidentally killed a black child, Professor Leonard Jeffries of the African American Studies Department of the City University of New York delivered a rambling speech at the Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival in Albany. In addition to exposing a supposed Russian Jewish/Italian Mafia «conspiracy planned and plotted and programmed out of Hollywood… for the destruction of Black people», he indicted «rich Jews» for financing the slave trade1. Though Jeffries never authored serious published scholarship on this any other subject, he had hinted for years that he was working on a ten volume history of Jewish slavetrading. But before he had the opportunity to offer the profession and the public this still much anticipated work, his thunder was stolen by Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. In October, 1991, two months after the Crown Heights riot, the NOI's anonymous Historical Research Department published The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews. Billed as «Volume 1» of a promised — or threatened — three volume work, The Secret Relationship also had multiple historical targets. These included Jews who, allegedly, poisoned Indian blankets with small pox, originated the opium traffic, and pioneered the prostitution industry2. Behind all these conspiracies loomed the murderous role of Jews who were «key operatives» bearing «monumental culpability» for the Atlantic slave trade. The guilt of slavetrading merchants was shared collectively by the Jewish community which was «disproportionately» involved and has been «conclusively linked to the greatest criminal endeavor ever undertaken against an entire race of people — the Black African Holocaust.»3 This is the central thesis permeating the 334 pages and 1275 footnotes that make up The Secret Relationship.
This Farrakhanite historical bible, for which Jeffries served as a kind of John the Baptist, both reflected and reinforced the current deterioration in Black-Jewish relations. The false charge of Jewish slave trade «domination» seemed novel — and in some ways was. The charge was certainly not a staple of traditional black antisemitism vilifying Jews as «Christ killers» and ghetto exploiters4. And the innovative marketing strategy — including an «800» number and a promotional tabloid — which the Nation of Islam used to catapult The Secret Relationship into an underground best seller was also unprecedented. Yet scrutinized closely, this canard about Jews and slavetrading emerges as a repackaging for African American consumption of a much older libel. With deep roots in the history of antisemitic polemic, it originated many centuries before the voyage of the first slave ship from Africa to the Americas.
The slave trade may not be the oldest — or even second oldest — profession, but it was a venerable as well as a disreputable institution. The defamatory linkage between Jews and slavetrading is also very old. Not so old as the deicide accusation5, but prior in time and almost as influential as the medieval obsession with the Jew as parasitic usurer6. Jewish slaveownership, viewed as incompatible with the degraded status of a people collectively guilty of killing Christ, was the initial target of Christian emperors and churchmen, from Constantine and Augustine in the fourth century, and incorporated in harsh provisions of the Theodosian and Justinian Codes as well as the canon law7. St. Augustine's doctrine, that «the Jew is the slave of the Christian», was embraced by Popes from Gregory the Great in the sixth century to Innocent III in the thirteenth century, with the usual corollary that Jews should not liberate their slaves but instead surrender them to Christian masters including the Church itself8. For a Jew to subject a Christian or a pagan bondsman to circumcision, defined as «the Jewish mark of infamy», was punished as a capital offense in the Byzantine Empire9. The Frankish and Visigothic successor kingdoms in Western Europe were much slower to adopt and enforce draconian legislation10. Yet all of medieval Christendom was fixated on the threat of conversion and corruption posed by Jewish slaveholders in a way that never became typical of the Islamic world where prohibitions were usually both lax and limited to Jewish ownership of Muslim, not Christian or pagan, slaves11.
Regarding slavetrading by Jews, Pope Gregory I combined a professed horror at the practice with a pragmatic willingness to accommodate it. He sanctioned a legal loophole whereby Jewish dealers could maintain possession of Christian slaves for up to forty days and pagan slaves for up to ninety days while finding a Christian buyer12. In the ninth century, however, Archbishop Agobard of Lyons, who accused Jews of kidnaping Christian children to sell across the Pyrenees into Muslim Spain, became the first in a series of crusading churchmen who focused popular wrath on Jewish slavetraders. As Wolfgang Seifirth put it, Agobard «especially deplored the slave trade that extended over the entire Mediterranean… [and] confessed that Christians were also involved as buyers and sellers, but he seemed to lay the blame exclusively on Jews.»13 According to Salo Baron, later historians were taken in by the «fulminations of churchmen» on the basis of which even the distinguished Charles Verlinden «vastly exaggerated» and «far too glibly accept[ed] the view that the Jews dominated the international slave trade» during the early middle ages14. Let me quote at length from a passage from James Parkes's 1934 classic, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, which is both symptom and analysis of the tendency which Baron criticized:
The main charge of the modern writer is always the slave trade, and it was also one of the main preoccupations of the ancient Christian legislators. It is often assumed that the Jews possessed a monopoly of this unpleasant traffic. All our references to slave traders are to Jews.… We can do no more than hint at the probability of slave traders who, being Christians, raised no issue which needed legislation. That they [Jews] were the main slavers at the end of the period under discussion is probable,… . But though we may reprobate them altogether for indulging in a trade against which we revolt, we must realize that the sixth century saw only a religious issue, the exclusive possession of one whom Christ had redeemed by one of those who had slain Him15.
The great paradox was that the mythical Jewish slavetrader loomed ever larger in the medieval Christian imagination at the same time as the commercial reality of Jewish slavetrading was drying up. On the one hand, the Jewish merchants called «Rhadanites» (probably from a Persian word meaning «knowing the way») disappear from slave trade annals as Eastern Europe is Christianized, the Jewish Khazar Kingdom in Central Asia is destroyed, and the Black Sea/Crimean slave exports become a specialty of Venetian and Genoese Christians16. S. D. Goitein's study of the Cairo Geniza around the year 1000 found not a single Jewish professional slave trader active either in Egypt or in Indian, African, or Mediterranean waters17. In medieval Spain, where Christian-Muslim warfare created a significant local slave supply, Jewish merchants continued to participate longer, but their role sharply diminished during the eleventh and twelfth centuries in response to restrictions imposed by both Jewish and non-Jewish authorities18. There is also no evidence of Jewish slavetraders importing black slaves into Andalusia19.
But on the other hand, this is the same period when, as David B. Davis puts it, Christians increasingly «became obsessed with alleged Jewish plots to enslave, convert, or sell non-Jews.»20 Davis sees the decreasingly real Jewish slavetrader as a convenient scapegoat for an aggressively self-confident, crusading society committed with new intensity to the notion «that only Christians could righteously enslave others, for the purpose of saving their souls.»21 Gavin I. Langmuir sees the same phenomenon as a case of «blaming the victim» by a new antisemitic consensus, beyond traditional anti-Judaism, that legally reduced Jews to a status of «perpetual servitude» without even the protections accorded to serfs22. John Boswell sees a classic case of projection on to Jews of the guilt Christians felt over medieval society's epidemic of child abandonment23.
The charge that Jews bought, stole, and abused Christian children evolved and escalated from a slave trade libel into the ritual murder myth. The 150 known blood libels brought against Jews during the middle ages often reflected local conditions, but they were also typically viewed as Christian self-protection against an international Jewish conspiracy modelled on the slave trade24. The first trial in 1150 in which nineteen Jews were hanged for the murder six years before of the boy, William of Norwich, set the pattern when the monk Theobold, a converted Jew, claimed that «the chief men and Rabbis of the Jews who dwell in Spain assemble at Narbonne, where the Royal seed [resides],… and they cast lots for all the countries which the Jews inhabit» in order to pick the one country each year to target for child killing25. A generation later, the Jews of Winchester were blamed for murdering a French boy who had been sent to to them by the Jews of Rouen with a letter in Hebrew bearing lethal instructions26. The intentional Jewish conspiracy was alleged to victimize, not just individual children, but entire Christian communities like Visigothic Spain, which the Jews were said to have sold out to the Saracens in the eighth century, and Barcelona and Bordeaux, which were attacked by Vikings supposedly in league with Jews in the ninth century. Eleventh century accusations that the Jews of Orleans had instigated the Caliph al Hakim to despoil Christians and Christian holy places in Jerusalem helped fuel the First Crusade27. The ritual murder business was not only global but also «supply side» in the minds of at least a few enterprising Christians who actually offered to sell their children to Jews for purposes of sacrifice28.
Leonard Jeffries and the anonymous Farrakhanite historians29 are not unaware that there was a medieval European traffic in white slaves. Needless to say, they are sure that the Jews «dominated» it. According to The Secret Relationship, «The Jews' participation . . . incited the moral indignation of Europe's Gentile population», and resulted in their repeated expulsions30. This purported explanation is standard fare in the «classics» of European antisemitic scholarship culminating in Houston Stewart Chamberlain's Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899)31. Jeffries broke new ground, however, by suggesting that «rich Jews and the Catholic church had an alliance for hundreds of years selling white folks… into slavery in the Arab world.»32 It was probably inevitable that believers in the demonic Jewish slave trader of the middle ages would eventually revive and refurbish the blood sacrifice myth as well. This came in December, 1992, in the New York Amsterdam News, the city's leading black newspaper and a leader in Jeffries's ultimately unsuccessful campaign to regain the CUNY African Studies chairmanship of which he was stripped after his Albany speech. It ran a front page story featuring accusations that the Hasidic community of Crown Heights had tried to lure a black transient into a synagogue basement in order to murder him in retaliation for the initial acquittal of Lemrick Nelson, the black teenager tried for stabbing to death rabbinic student Yankel Rosenbaum during the 1991 rioting33.
Of course, Jeffries has only crocodile tears for the Europeans ostensibly kidnapped and — who knows? — sometimes even ritually murdered by Jews during what he calls the precursor «white slave trade.»34 His, and Farrakhan's, real indignation is reserved for the Atlantic slave trade characterized as «the Black African Holocaust.»35 But here, too, there was a tradition of antisemitic polemic, European and ultimately American, for them to use in forging an erroneous version of Atlantic slave trade history.
During the fifteenth century, Spanish Old Christians, particularly from the merchant class, forced the creation of a new Inquisition built around the doctrine of limpieza or «purity of blood.» The purpose was to thwart by means of racial stigmatization the economic and political aspirations of the Spanish New Christians who, as Benzion Netanyahu convincingly argues, were hated and feared much more than the Old Jews precisely because of their enthusiastic conversion to Christianity36. A century later, Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, Charles V's biographer, asserted as Spanish common sense a biological racism precociously reminiscent of the Nuremberg Laws:
Who can deny that in the descendants of the Jews there persists and endures the evil inclination of their ancient ingratitude and lack of understanding, just as in Negroes [there persists] the inseparability of their blackness. For if the latter should unite themselves a thousand times with white women, the children are born with the dark color of the father. Similarly, it is not enough for the Jew to be three parts aristocrat or Old Christian for one… [Jewish ancestor] alone defiles and corrupts him37.
A Portuguese scholar in 1623 put it more pithily, declaring that «a little Jewish blood is enough to destroy the world!»38 The problem for Portugal during the merger of the two monarchies between 1580 and 1640 was that it had even more New Christian blood than Spain. The Spaniards extended their racial equation by making «Portuguese» a synonym for «Jew.»39 The final addition was the Dutch whom the Spanish Inquisition was believed to have condemned en masse as heretics a generation before Amsterdam became a haven for Portuguese Jews40. Spanish propagandists and paranoids, who were often one and the same, grotesquely exaggerated the threat posed to their empire by Portuguese New Christians whom they accused of monopolizing the trade of Spanish America «from the vilest African Negro to the most precious pearl.»41 Only posing as merchants, they were really agents provocateur of la Cofradia de los Judios de Holanda, the Dutch Jewish Brotherhood which allegedly controlled the Dutch West India Company and masterminded «the grand conspiracies» in Peru and Mexico. Spanish persecution had the perverse tendency to promote the very threat that it sought to prevent, but even so the complex, nonconspiratorial reality was that the Portuguese New Christians, though active commercially as well as culturally ambivalent about their heritage, were not consistently pro-Jewish or pro-Dutch or even anti-Spanish. They may have plotted to oust Spain from Lima, but they were falsely accused of conspiring in Mexico City. They helped the Dutch establish a beachhead in Northern Brazil, but then helped oust them after Portugal regained its independence in the 1640's. And they even returned in some numbers to Madrid and Seville as agents of the Spanish Crown42. Yet Spain, which itself was pilloried by the Black Legend, managed to create a Jewish Legend about a racial fifth column of Jews and crypto-Jews trying to engross the silver, sugar, and slaves of the Atlantic economy in league with the Dutch and then the English. This legend is swallowed hook, line, and sinker by The Secret Relationship, which then takes an extra giant step by picturing Columbus himself as probably «a slave dealing Jew.»43
Ironically, the Dutch and English, though coconspirators of the Jews in Spanish eyes, had their own versions of the same legend about conspiratorial Jewish slavetrading. Relative Dutch tolerance did not translate from Old Amsterdam to New Amsterdam where Governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1661 remonstrated against «Spaniards and unbelieving Jews» for manipulating the slave trade and denying African labor to the good Calvinist burghers of his colony44. In Elizabethan and early Stuart England, Samuel Purchas defined the Marranos as «unChristian Christians, who Jewishly hate the name of Jew»; and John Donne denounced them as tinctured by Catholicism45. The slave market, where «Euery ones price is written on his backe», is the natural element of Christopher Marlowe's Barabas, The Jew of Malta, who betrays Christians to Turks, Turks to Christians, and even his fellow Jews46. The honorable Moroccan prince who protests «mislike me not for my complexion» appears, not in Shakespeare's Othello, but in The Merchant of Venice where Shylock's malignant blackness of character is subtly reinforced by a reference to his «countryman» Chus (or Cush)47. A half century later, the Protestant millenarian advocacy of Jewish readmission into England set off paroxysms in the mind of Puritan William Prynne who feared that Jews were Jesuits in disguise48.
In Georgian England, Parliament repealed the liberalizing Jew Bill of 1753 after an explosive debate during which the Duke of Bedford argued that the blacks of the sugar colonies were ultimately more assimilable to Englishness than the Jews of the home country49. Anti-Jewish, though not anti-Catholic, passions were muted in the American colonies, but the Shylock image was integral to the cultural heritage of the young American Republic where in 1794 Susanna Rowson's popular play, Slaves in Algiers, the first native drama with Jewish characters, featured a Jewish villain, named Ben Hassan, who blurred the distinction between usury and enslavement by plotting to betray American captives after stealing their money. Fortunately, his beautiful, unaccented daughter, Jessica, wishes that «some dear Christian man would fall in love with me and carry me off», and the American hero, overhearing her, declares: «I'm your man.» A variation on the same theme appears in Royall Tyler's 1797 novel, The Algerian Captive, which characterizes Jews as a «cunning race» worshipping a messiah of gold50.
Much more significant than these early stereotypes was the anti-Jewish dimension of the debate over slavery during the antebellum decades which, Frederic Jaher has recently argued, were the crucible for the formation of American antisemitism51. In my own 1977 dissertation, I drew a sharp distinction between black abolitionists, whose strong identification with the Hebrew children in Egyptian bondage usually inspired philosemitism, and white abolitionists, who more often harbored anti-Jewish attitudes. Of course, there were also Southern proslavery antisemites, but they complained about Jewish merchants undermining the institution by corrupting slave customers52. Regarding the abolitionist movement, Ernestine Rose, the Polish rabbi's daughter who in America became an agnostic and antislavery orator, decried «the pernicious example and influence of Puritanism» pervading it53. In 1853 abolitionist New York merchant Lewis Tappan of the evangelical wing complained that there were not more Jews found among «the friends of universal freedom.» He apparently did not see a causal relationship between this and the sectarian campaign by his brother, Arthur, to reorganize abolitionism as «a Christian party in politics.»54 The Garrisonian wing journeyed from religious perfectionism back to Enlightenment freethinking. This could, and in some cases did, lead toward universal tolerance — but, unfortunately, not always55. Logically, one could share Tom Paine's view (which was also Voltaire's) of the ancient Israelites as «a nation of ruffians and cut-throats» without disdaining modern Jews56. Religiously orthodox abolitionists used doctrines like the special dispersion enjoyed by the Israelite conquerors of Canaan and the progressive revelation to Christians about human brotherhood to counter Southern arguments that the Old Testament justified American slavery. 57 Such convoluted apologetics were scorned by abolitionist freethinkers like Henry Clarke Wright, author of The Bible, If Opposed to Self-Evident Truth, Is Self-Evident Falsehood, and Charles Stearns, who declared that the Bible was «no more the work of God than the Koran, or the Book of Mormon.»58 In a Christian culture, even freethinkers were tempted to cite the current degraded status of Jews as a cautionary tale about the fate of a benighted people who stubbornly adheres to outmoded ancestral beliefs59. Lydia Maria Child, for example, took this step after her 1841 visit to Shearey Hashamayim, a conservative German-Jewish synagogue in New York. «When I hear Christian ministers apologizing for slavery by the example of Abraham», she wrote,
it seems to me it would be most appropriate to have Jewish criers at the doors of our theological schools, proclaiming at the top of their lungs, «Old Clothes! Old Clothes! Old Clothes all the way from Judea!»60
The abolitionist temptation to picture Jews as emblematically proslavery became well-nigh irresistible when Southern rabbis and even Rabbi Morris Raphall of New York City, in fact, emerged as apologists for the South's «peculiar institution.»61 The potent retort — blaming the slave trade on Jews — was seized on by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was of the opinion that New England bred «better Jews than Moses could.» In The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1854), she praised the medieval Church's attack on Jewish slavetraders for producing «abundant results in favour of liberty», and singled out among Richmond's seventy slavetrading firms the Jewish Davis family, «with representatives in Philadelphia, New York, etc.», whom she erroneously identified on the word of an informant as «the great slavetraders» of the place62.
Of course, Bertram W. Korn, a century after Uncle Tom's travails, demonstrated that in the Old South «none of the major slavetraders was Jewish.»63 But Stowe's attack was even more unfair. Detestation of slavetrading was the one universal shared by the American rabbis. Citing «the appalling horrors of the slave passage» from Africa as a violation of the Pentateuchal prohibition against «man stealing», Gustav Gottheil of Manchester and then New York lamented that «the law of the Hebrew legislator had been forgotten or trampled underfoot by Christian nations professing to hold it as of divine authority!»64 Sabato Morais of London and then Philadelphia denounced «nations that boast of civilization and religious enlightenment» for «the cruelty, the barbarity, the inhumanity practiced in the prosecution of that abominable trade.»65 And Isaac Mayer Wise of Cincinnati, despite his contempt for abolitionists and Republicans, demanded that the North crush the South partly because a victorious Confederacy, in league with Spain, might reopen the Atlantic slave trade66. After the Civil War, slavery was dead, but not the spectre of the Jewish slavetrader. In another irony, the memory was kept alive by the illustrious amateur history buffs who founded the American Jewish Historical Society in 1892. Jewish slaveholding and slavetrading — far from being «kept secret» — were prominently featured. The impulse could be impartial and documentary, as in Max J. Kohler's account of «Jews . . . engaged in slave-dealing» in colonial New York who, Kohler writes, «were neither better nor worse than the Christian inhabitants» engaged in the same business67. But it was sometimes tinged with filiopietism and even «the white man's burden.» For example, Simon Wolf was a good Republican and friend of Frederick Douglass68. Yet his American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen (1895) contains this politically incorrect passage about savage Black-Jewish conflict in Dutch Surinam:
Five years later, in 1743, brave old Captain David Nassy, who had conducted thirty like expeditions against the Maroons, sallied forth for the last time to fight for his people and, according to some, to die on the battlefield the death of a hero. This time he was arrayed against the Creoles, who by reason of their more acute intelligence and culture (having been long associated with Europeans) were yet the most dangerous of all their foes. Endowed with a noble, Macabbean spirit, he fell like his ancestor Matathias, in the moment of victory. It was on the Day of Atonement that the venerable sage and warrior sallied forth to war.… Nassy, who had already passed three score and ten, fell victim to the treachery of his foes. It was told him that the negroes had poisoned all the wells in the village, so that he was compelled to turn homeward, in order to quench the burning thirst that afflicted him and his troops,… . With him died the flower of the Jewish colony, an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile69. This degree of racial insensitivity was, in fact, rather mild by the standards of the 1890's.
Much easier to accept today is the naive hope of philanthropist Oscar S. Straus, the Society's president, that his commissioning of a book highlighting (real and imagined) Jewish involvement in Columbus's discoveries «would be an answer for all time to come to antisemitic tendencies in this country.»70 Little could he know that the future held in store the Farrakhanite portrait of Columbus as «a slave dealing Jew»! During the first half or so of the twentieth century, Jewish involvement in slaveholding as well as slavetrading continued to be documented by the new breed of professional Jewish historians, from Herbert Bloom to Jacob Marcus, and also to be touched on, sometimes gingerly, in popular histories71. But the polemical implications remained muted until the civil rights movement entered a crisis stage in the 1960's. As late as 1967, Harold Cruse in his vitriolic, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, castigated Jews as exploiters of the black freedmen (citing Dostoyevsky as his authority!), but did not accuse them of «dominating» the slave trade72. Change was in the wind in 1968 with the publication of James Pope-Hennessy's The Sins of the Fathers, the first popular history of the Atlantic slave trade to play up the role of Jews. In the spirit of his title, Hennessy continued to treat the de Wolfs of Rhode Island as «Jewish slavetraders» even after they intermarried and converted to Christianity73. Coincidentally or not, 1968 was also the year of the «community control» school dispute in Ocean Hill-Brownsville when a leaflet was placed on a Jewish teacher's desk reading:
If Afro-American history and culture is to be taught to our black children it must be done by Afro-Americans who identify with and who understand the problem.… it is impossible for Middle-East murderers of colored people to possibly bring to this important task the insight, the concern, the expanding of the truth that is a must if the years of brainwashing and self hatred that has been taught to our black children by these blood sucking exploiters and murderers is to be overcome74.
In 1977 African American historian Oscar R. Williams, Jr., used the Negro History Bulletin, which Carter G. Woodson had established to reach a popular audience, to propound the thesis that the slave trade — rather than the civil rights movement — was the appropriate metaphor for understanding the history of Black-Jewish relations75. Fifty years earlier, Woodson, the godfather of African American history, had held up Jewish historical consciousness as a model to emulated:
If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as it attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is still a great factor in civilization76.
By the 1970's this positive identification, turned problematic, was being eroded by two movements: to eject from the civil rights struggle Jewish activists whose involvement David Levering Lewis attributed to «misconceived ethnic propinquity»,77 and to distance from the study of black history Jewish scholars who had contributed so much to the field78. The myth of Jewish slave trade «domination» contributed to both. Louis Farrakhan actually began propounding it around 1984, simultaneous with his notorious praise of «great man» Hitler and disparagement of «dirty Judaism», but it took his organization until the 1990's to find the right pseudo-scholarly vehicle79. The antisemitic wing of Afrocentrism, including John Henrik Clarke and Tony Martin, cultivated the same thesis, as did some fellow travelling African American journalists such as David Mills of the Style Section of the Washington Post who evoked an image of Caribbean Jewish dealers in so-called «refuse Negroes» as the used car salesman of the slave trade80.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard's Afro-American Studies Department warned us not to allow «demagogues to turn the wellspring of memory into a renewable resource of enmity everlasting» in a 1992 opinion piece in the New York Times arguing that The Secret Relationship was a political gambit by black separatists seeking to obscure and discredit the true history of interracial cooperation in this century81. This is part but not the whole explanation. The other part is the politics of competitive victimization and martyrology. The Farrakhanite claim that the Shoah does not much matter because of the «100 times worse» horror of the slave trade for which the Jews bear «monumental culpability» is a new means toward the old end of Holocaust denial. It is also endorsed by white racist antisemites such as Tom Metzger, Willis Carto, and Lyndon LaRouche, with whom Farrakhan has a mutual admiration society82. In 1979 Jesse Jackson, angered by the firing of UN Ambassador Andrew Young, described how «the chosen people came up against the master race» during the Holocaust which, he said, was historically not so special because «sixty million blacks» had been exterminated by white racism83. The Secret Relationship claimed «100 million murder victims», but Farrakhan's deputy, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, immediately upped the ante to 200 million «during Middle Passage alone» and then further inflated it to «over 600 million» at a 1994 press conference on the steps of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington84. Farrakhan himself went statistically bonkers on the question of Jewish slaveownership, claiming incredibly that Southern Jews owned 75 percent of all slaves while simultaneously denying there was even one Arab-owned slave in today's Sudan85. But the record for using grotesque multiples of six million in order to bury the memory of Hitler's Jewish victims belongs to the self-styled Afrocentrist historian Jose V. Malcioln. Explaining that «holocaust» means «hell of a cost», he offers this comparative estimate:
Hitler unjustifiably murdered approximately six million Jews and Gentiles. The slavers murdered, mistreated, mutilated, enslaved, lynched, and still exploit over six billion blacks, and other people of color86.
The slave trade numbers game goes hand-in-hand with the moral inflation of «Jewish culpability» for «the Black African Holocaust.» The Secret Relationship employs ersatz academic prose for this purpose, but S. E. Anderson's The Black Holocaust For Beginners (1995), a «Documentary Comic Book», makes the same point through drawings of Jewish slavetraders in kaftans87.
The final irony, already alluded to, is that The Secret Relationship has not really seceded from interracial politics, but merely substituted for the old alliance with Jewish progressives a new alliance with anti-Jewish reactionaries. Its thesis has been embraced by the Neo-Nazi Sons of Liberty whose own book, Who Brought the Slaves to America (1995), proves that Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence was wrong to blame George III because behind him stood the Jewish slavetrader88. The circle is completed by white Canadian Holocaust denier Michael Bradley whose Chosen People From the Caucasus (1992), published by Afrocentrist «Third World Press», argues that Russian pogroms like Kishinev were the eruption of a repressed historical memory by Christians of their medieval victimization by Jewish Khazar slave stealers89. With this demented thesis we have moved back — from black to white, from modern to medieval, and from America and Africa to Europe — to where the demonizing of Jews as slavetraders truly began.
In the 1920's, when Carter G. Woodson launched modern African American history, another zero-sum, intergroup «history war», also centered in Chicago where Farrakhan is headquartered, was fought as Mayor «Big Bill» Thompson threatened «to punch the snoot» of King George V as part of an appeal to predominately German and Irish voters angry at perceived pro-British bias in history textbooks90. This was a few years after Henry Ford had touted The International Jew, replete with libels about Jewish responsibility for the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination, as «the kind of American history that was not taught in school.»91 He might be gratified, were he still around, to see The Secret Relationship, with an unacknowledged debt to The International Jew, bootlegged into Afrocentric course reading lists at Wellesley and elsewhere92.
Whether in the 1920's or the 1990's, it was not unreasonable for Americans from a rainbow of colors and creeds and countries to demand that their distinctive histories get recognition. In the case of black history, scholars like Vincent Harding, John Blassingame, and Nathan Huggins tried unconventional approaches to reach a popular audience93. But if history is too important to be monopolized by narrow historical professionals, it is also too dangerous to be given over to political demagogues. The battle cry for «history from the bottom up» should not be betrayed by capitulation to «history from the gutter down» like The Secret Relationship with its paranoid as well as polemical thesis about «Jewish domination» of the slave trade.
Paper Prepared for Delivery at the Western Jewish Studies Association April 5-8, 1997
1. The full text of Jeffries's speech is in New York Newsday, August 18, 1991, and New York Amsterdam News, August 31, 1991. For unsympathetic analyses, see James Traub, «Professor Whiff: Leonard Jeffries's 'Black Truth' Strikes Out», Village Voice, October 1, 1991, pp. 30-41; Jim Sleeper, «The Battle for Enlightenment at City College», in Blacks and Jews: Alliances and Arguments, ed. Paul Berman (New York: Delacorte Press, 1994), pp. 239-53.
2. The Historical Research Department of the Nation of Islam, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews (Chicago: Latimer Associates, 1991), pp. 24-25, 199, 201, 232. For a refutation of these grotesque charges, see Harold Brackman, Ministry of Lies: The Truth Behind «The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews» (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1994), pp. 76-83.
3. The Secret Relationship, pp. vii, 90, 178. The NOI's claims about «Jews and the Black Holocaust» are now on the Internet. See Blacks&Jews Newspage (December 16, 1996).
4. For historical treatments of black antisemitism, see especially Leonard Dinnerstein, Uneasy at Home: Antisemitism and the American Jewish Experience (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1987), Chap. 11; idem, Antisemitism in America (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1994), Chap. 10; Louis R. Harlan, «Booker T. Washington's Discovery of the Jews», in Region, Race, and Reconstruction, ed. J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson (New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 1982), pp. 267-79; David R. Hellwig, «Black Images of Jews: From Reconstruction to Depression», Societas, 8 (Summer, 1978): 205-24; Arnold Shankman, Ambivalent Friends: Afro-Americans View the Immigrant (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1982), Chap. 5. Dinnerstein and Stephen J. Whitfield debated «The Origins of Black Antisemitism in America» in the American Jewish Archives, 39 (November, 1987): 193-202. Dinnerstein had the better of the argument, but I'm less impressed than he is by the evidence of black antisemitism prior to the late nineteenth century. See Harold Brackman, «The Ebb and Flow of Conflict: A History of Black-Jewish Relations Through 1900» (Ph.D. Thesis, UCLA, 1977), Chap. 5.
5. Jeremy Cohen, «The Jews as the Killers of Christ in the Latin Tradition, from Augustine to the Friars», Tradition, 39 (1983): 1-27.
6. R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250 (London: Basil Blackwell, 1987), pp. 84-85; Gavin I. Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 138; Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 80-85.
7. James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (New York: Hermon Press, 1974 ), pp. 328-30, 391; Marcel Simon, Verus Israel, trans. H. McKeating (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1986), pp. 292-93; Louis H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World: Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 392-94.
8. Langmuir, pp. 167-69; idem, History, Religion, and Antisemitism (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), pp. 294-95; Feldman, p. 394; Ernest L. Abel, The Roots of Anti-Semitism (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1975), p. 219.
9. Feldman, pp. 391, 393; Salo W. Baron, A Social And Religious History of the Jews (2d ed.; New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1952-1967), IV, 188.
10. Bernard S. Bachrach, Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1977), pp. 60, 92, 96.
11. M. R. Cohen, pp. 64; Aryeh Shmuelevitz, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire in the Late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Leiden: R. J. Brill, 1984), pp. 36-37; Alan Fisher, «Chattel Slavery in the Ottoman Empire», Slavery and Abolition, 1 (May, 1980): 34-35.
12. Bachrach, pp. 34-36; Edward A. Synan, The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages (New York: Macmillan, 1965), pp. 38-43.
13. Wolfgang S. Seiferth, Synagogue and Church in the Middle Ages: Two Symbols in Art and Literature (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1970), p. 62. On Agobard, see also A. Lukyn Williams, Adversus Judaeos: A Bird's Eye View of Christian Apologia Until the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1935), pp. 349-51.
14. Baron, IV, 334-36. Baron is particularly critical of Verlinden's use of dubious evidence to picture French Jews operating veritable «eunuch factories» to staff the harems of Muslim Spain. See also Eliyahu Asher, The Jews of Moslem Spain, trans. A. Klein and J. M, Klein (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973), I, 286, 289.
15. Parkes, pp. 339-40.
16. Baron, IV, 187, 210, 334, 336-38; Charles Verlinden, L'esclavage dans l'Europe medievale (Bruges, Ghent: De Temple, 1955-1977), II, 122-23, 128-29; Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, trans. Sian Reynolds (New York: Harper and Row, 1979-1984), III, 109-10.; Eliyahu Ashtor, The Jews and the Mediterranean Economy, l0th-15th Centuries (London: Variorum Reprints, 1983), Chap. 8.
17. S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1967), I, 140; Leon Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism, trans. Richard Howard and Miriam Kochan (New York: Vanguard Press, 1965-1985), II, 73.
18. David B. Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 41, 99-100; Abraham A. Newman, The Jews in Spain (New York: Octagon, 1969 ), II, 209-10.
19. Olivia Remie Constable, «Muslim Spain and Mediterranean Slavery», in Christendom and Its Discontents, ed. Scott L. Waugh and Peter D. Diehl (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1595), p. 269; Pierre Chaunu, European Expansion in the Later Middle Ages, trans. K. Bertram (Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Co., 1979), pp. 120-21, 296-98.
20. David B. Davis, Slavery and Human Progress (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1984), p. 89.
21. Ibid., p. 93.
22. Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, pp. 167-77.
23. John Boswell, The Kindness of Strangers (New York: Pantheon, 1988), pp. 352-56.
24. Alan Dundes, ed., The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook of Anti-Semitic Folklore (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin, 1991).
25. Gavin I. Langmuir, «Thomas of Monmouth: Detector of Ritual Murder», in idem, pp. 22-23.
26. Moore, p. 37; Baron, IV, 135-37.
27. Moore, p. 37; Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), p. 22.
28. Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1943), p. 125.
29. Don Muhammad is identified as «the editor of the book» in the New York Amsterdam News, December 28, 1991, p. 30. There are vague rumors about an African American graduate student, possibly in Leonard Jeffries's orbit, as the author. See Arthur J. Magida, Prophet of Rage: A Life of Louis Farrakhan and His Nation (New York: Basic Books, 1996), p. 184.
30. The Secret Relationship, pp. 9-10.
31. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Lees (New York: John Lane Co., 1913 ) I, 341.
32. Kenneth S. Stern, «Dr. Jeffries and the Anti-Semitic Branch of the Afrocentrism Movement», in Issues in National Affairs (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1991), p. 5.
33. Vinette K. Price, «Was Crown Heights Beating Victim 'Betrayed' by Hasidism?», New York Amsterdam News, December 12, 1992, pp. 1, 8. On Jeffries's legal and academic roller coaster ride, ending on a downer, see «The Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues» (New York: ADL Research Report, 1992), pp. 22-25, 42-44; Sleeper, pp. 239-53; Richard Perez Pena, «In Reversal, Court Upholds University in Jeffries Lawsuit», New York Times, April 5, 1995, pp. Al, A15; «Professor At Large», New Yorker (June 17, 1996), pp. 36-37
34. Stern, p. 5.
35. For reasoned reflections on the polemical vision of the Atlantic slave trade as «Black African Holocaust», see Laurence M. Thomas, Vessels of Evil: American Slavery and the Holocaust (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993); Seymour Drescher, «The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust: A Comparative Analysis», in Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide, ed. Alan S. Rosenbaum (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), pp. 65-86.
36. Benzion Netanyahu, The Origins of the Inquisition in the Fifteenth Century (New York: Random House, 1995), pp. 975-1004; idem, «Americo Castro and His View of the Origins of the Pureza De Sangre», in American Academy for Jewish Research Jubilee Volume, ed. Salo W. Baron and Isaac E. Barzilay (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1980), pp. 399-457; Jose Faur, In the Shadow of History: Jews and Conversos at the Dawn of Modernity (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1991), pp. 48, 243.
37. Jerome Friedman, «Jewish Conversion, the Spanish Pure Blood Laws and Reformation: A Revisionist View of Racial and Religious Antisemitism», Sixteenth Century Journal, 18 (Spring, 1987): 16-17.
38. Ibid., p. 17.
39. H. R. Trevor-Roper, Historical Essays (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1957), p. 42; C. R. Boxer, The Dutch in Brazil, 1624-1654 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 101-02; idem, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415-1925 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1969), pp. 47-48; idem, The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695-1750 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1969), p. 370; Seymour B. Liebman, The Jews in New Spain: Faith, Flame, and the Inquisition (Coral Gables, FL: Univ. of Miami Press, 1970), p. 59; idem, The Inquisitors and the Jews in the New World (Coral Gables, FL: Univ. of Miami Press, 1974), pp. 28-29; idem, New World Jewry, 1493-1825: Requiem for the Forgotten (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1982), pp. 36-37, 62, 169. The reality underlying the sweeping stereotype was that New Christians constituted 5-10 percent of the population of both home country and colonies, and perhaps half the merchant class, during the period that Spain ruled Portugal.
40. Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition in Spain (New York: Macmillan, 1922 [1905-1907]), III, 489; Edward Peters, Inquisition (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1989}, pp. 152-53; Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1988), pp. 587-96.
41. Boxer, Dutch in Brazil, p. 102; Frederick P. Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524-1650 ( Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1974), p. 34.
42. Liebman, Jews in New Spain, pp. 221-24; idem, Inquisitors and Jews, pp. 21, 28; idem, «The Great Conspiracy in New Spain», Americas, 30 (July, 1973): 18-31; Henry Charles Lea, The Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies (New York: Macmillan, 1908), p. 229; Cyrus Adler, «A Contemporary Memorial Relating to Damages to Spanish Interests in America Done by Jews of Holland (1634)», Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 17 (1909): 45-51; Daniel M. Swetschinski, «Conflict and Opportunity in 'Europe's Other Sea': The Adventure of Caribbean Jewish Settlement», American Jewish History, 72 (1982): 212-40; Edgar R. Samuel, «The Trade of the 'New Christians' of Portugal in the Seventeenth Century», in The Sephardic Heritage, ed. R. D. Barnet and W. M. Schwab (Grendon, Northants: Gibraltar Books, 1989), pp. 100-43; Jonathan I. Israel, Empires and Entrepots: The Dutch, the Spanish Monarchy, and the Jews, 1585-1713 (London: Hambledon Press, 1990), pp. 322-23, 328-29; Stephen Haliczer, «The First Holocaust: The Inquisition and the Converted Jews of Spain and Portugal», in Inquisition and Society in Early Modern Europe, ed. and trans. idem (London: Croom Helm, 1987), pp. 7-18, Moses Orfali, «New Christians in the Trading and Banking System of Spain (16th-17th Century)», in The Mediterranean and the Jews, ed. Ariel Toaff and Simon Schwarzfuchs (Tel Aviv: Bar-Ilan Univ. Press, 1989), pp. 179-88.
43. The Secret Relationship, pp. 16-17. Long after the documents allegedly proving Columbus's Spanish-Jewish ancestry were exposed as forgeries, Salvador De Madariaga's Christopher Columbus (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1976 ) rehabilitated the thesis, partly on the basis of Columbus's «typically Jewish» fascination with «the metallic and glittering quality» of gold (p. 91). Samuel Eliot Morison's Admiral of the Ocean Sea (New York: Little Brown, 1942) heaped scorn of Madariaga's still popular «fairy tale of the Enterprise of the Indies… as a sort of Zionist movement» as «crackpot Columbiana» (I, 9, 23, 144). For a balanced assessment supporting Morison, see Jacob R. Marcus, The Colonial American Jew, 1492-1776 (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1970), I, 130.
44. Herbert G. Cone, «The Jews in Curacao», Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 10 (1902): 156; Henry H. Kessler and Eugene J. Rachlis, Peter Stuyvesant and His New York (New York: Random House, 1959), p. 37; Abraham Vossen Goodman, American Overture: Jewish Rights in Colonial America (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947), p. 95.
45. James Shapiro, Shakespeare and the Jews (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1996), p. 19.
46. Stephen J. Greenblatt, Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture (New York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 44-46.
47. Shapiro, p. 172; Leslie A. Fiedler, The Stranger in Shakespeare (New York: Stein and Day, 1972), pp. 104, 108, 170-71. Shylock also callously equates slaveholding with his own demand for «a pound of flesh.»
48. Shapiro, p. 27; David S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1603-1655 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 220-23.
49. Shapiro, p. 208; Thomas W. Perry, Public Opinion, Propaganda, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century England: A Study of the Jew Bill of 1753, Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1962), p.108; Frank Felserstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660-1830 (Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995).
50. Jacob R. Marcus, United States Jewry, 1776-1985 (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1989), I, 126, 526; Louise A. Mayo, The Ambivalent Image: Nineteenth Century America's Perception of the Jew (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1988), p. 43; Louis Harap, The Image of the Jew in American Literature (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974), pp. 205-06. A Jew turned Muslim, Ben Hassan according to Harap is «an unmitigated villain, closer to Barabbas than to Shylock», who personifies Edward Said's «Orientalism» hypothesis.
51. Frederic Cople Jaher, A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America (Cambridge; Harvard Univ. Press, 1994).
52. Dinnerstein, Uneasy at Home, pp. 86-87; Wilbur J. Cash, The Mind of the South (New York: Vintage Books, 1941), pp. 341-42; Ella Lonn, Foreigners in the Confederacy (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1940), pp. 335-37; Clement Eaton, A History of the Confederacy New York: Collier, 1954), p. 234. Parson Brownlow may have been unique in his claim that «the statutes of the Southern States are more lenient than the laws of Moses, because they protect the slaves against these Israelitish cruelties.» See Ought American Slavery to be Perpetuated?: A Debate Between Rev. W. G. Brownlow and Rev. A Payne (Miami: Mnemosyne Publishing Co., 1969 ), p. 92.
53. Yuri Suhl, Ernestine Rose and the Battle for Human Rights (New York: Reynal and Company, 1959), p. 221.
54. Morris U. Schappes, comp., A Documentary History of the Jews in the United States, 1654-1875 (New York: Citadel Press, 1952), pp. 78-82; Naomi W. Cohen, Encounter With Emancipation: The German Jews in the United States, 1830-1914 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974), p. 133; Maxwell Whiteman, «Introduction», to The Kidnapped and the Ransomed: The Narrative of Peter and Vina Still After Forty Years of Slavery (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1970), pp. 36-41; Carl Wittke, Against the Current: The Life of Karl Heinzen (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1945), p. 173. George B. Cheever, God Against Slavery (Cincinnati: A. M. Reform Tract and Book Society, 1857), p. 101, offered a typical religious slur by calling «Anglo Saxon» slavetraders «worse Jews… more degraded, more debased in your moral principles, than the lowest tribe of Jews who were swept for their sins from the promised land.»
55. Louis Ruchames, «The Abolitionists and the Jews», Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 42 (January, 1953): 131-55, is a lawyer's brief on behalf of Garrisonian abolitionist tolerance.
56. David B. Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1975), 526. The English Deist Matthew Tindall viewed the Israelite enslavement of Canaanites and the Spanish conquest of Mexico as both deplorable, yet was a champion of Jewish emancipation, while Voltaire loathed equally ancient and modern Jews. See Arthur Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1968).
57. Davis, Age of Revolution. pp. 532-37; Caroline L. Shanks, «The Biblical Anti-Slavery Argument of the Decade 1830-1840», Journal of Negro History, 16, 2 (April, 1931): 132-57; Forrest G. Wood, The Arrogance of Faith (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), pp. 46, 86, 108.
58. Ibid, pp. 109-10; Aileen S. Kraditor, Means and Ends in American Abolitionism Garrison and His Critics on Strategy and Tactics, 1834-1850 (New York: Vintage Books, 1969), pp. 91-94; Davis, Age of Revolution, p. 523.
59. In terms of the European context, there was striking continuity in the propensity to scapegoat Jews from a Rationalist like Voltaire to a Romantic like Michelet. See Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700-1933 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1980), p. 132.
60. Lydia Maria Child, Letters From New York (New York: Charles S. Francis and Co., 1843), p. 33.
61. Schappes, pp. 405-18, 683; Bertram W. Korn, American Jewry and the Civil War (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1957), p. 47. Raphall's sermon was more an attack on abolitionists, whom he disparagingly lumped with «the Biblical critics called Rationalists.» than a «positive good» defense of Southern slavery, which he was «sorry to say» was less hedged about with humanitarian protections than Old Testament bondage. For a convenient summary of the views of antislavery rabbis, see Philip S. Foner, The Jews in American History, 1654-1865 (New York: International Publishers, 1945), pp. 57-59.
62. Mayo, p. 55; Bertram W. Korn, Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South 1789-1865 (Elkins Park, PA: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 1961), pp. 41-42; Myron Berman, Richmond's Jewry, 1769-1976 (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1979), pp. 166-67; Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (Boston: John P. Jewett, 1854), pp. 223-24, 296-97, 472. New Englanders typically blamed their own slavetrading history on roguish Rhode Islanders without specific reference to Jews. See William Lee Miller, Arguing About Slavery (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), pp. 248-49.
63. Bertram W. Korn, «Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South, 1789-1865», in The Jewish Experience in America, ed. Abraham J. Karp (Waltham, MA: American Jewish Historical Society, 1969), III, 197-98.
64. Whiteman, pp. 58-59.
65. Ibid., pp. 94-95
66. Bertram W. Korn, Eventful Years and Experiences (Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1954), pp. 128-29.
67. Max J. Kohler, «Phases of Jewish Life in New York Before 1800», Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 2 (1894): 84. See also Kohler, «The Jews and the Anti-Slavery Movement», 5 (1897): 137-55, and 9 (1901): 45-56; idem, «Jewish Activity in American Colonial Commerce», 10 (1902): 47-64; Leon Huhner, «The Jews of Georgia in Colonial Times», 10 (1902): 65-95; George F. Judah, «The Jewish Tribute in Jamaica», 18 (1909): 149-77.
68. Simon Wolf, Presidents I Have Known From 1865 to 1918 (Washington, D.C.: Byron C. Adams, 1918), p. 274.
69. Simon Wolf, The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen (New York: Brentano's, 1895), p. 466. This passage was actually contributed to the volume by George A. Kohut. For an eerie echo of its racial gaucherie, see Manfred R. Lehmann, «Surinam's Josensavanne and Several of Its Religious Leaders», in Dutch Jewish History, ed. Jozeph Michman (Van Gorcum, Netherlands: Institute for Research on Dutch Jewry, 1993), III, 242, comparing «the beautiful prayer» by the Surinam Jews against «our rebellious and cruel black enemies» to «today's prayer for the Israel Defense Forces.»
70. Naomi W. Cohen, A Dual Heritage (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1969), p. 71. Straus invested his hopes in Meyer Kayserling's Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries, trans. Charles Gross (New York: Hermon Press, 1968 ), which did not claim to have discovered that the explorer himself had «Jewish roots.»
71. Herbert I. Bloom, The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (New York: Kennikat Press, 1969 ); Jacob R. Marcus, ed., Memoirs of American Jews, 1775-1865 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955). Among the popular historians, Anita L. Lebeson, Pilgrim People (New York: Minerva Press, 1975 ), p. 148, posed the rhetorical question: «And we ask ourselves whether a Jew who annually recited the Passover service in thanksgiving for emancipation from slavery should not have, with his brethren, made some overt gesture of understanding and compassion» toward enslaved blacks. Lee M. Friedman, Jewish Pioneers and Patriots (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1948), pp. 306-10, preferred to discuss the Rhode Island Jews' contribution to spermaceti candlemaking than slavetrading. But Morris A. Gutstein, The Story of the Jews of Newport (New York: Block Publishing Co., 1936), pp. 164-65, stood alone in his apologetic and erroneous claim that: «We have met with no instances where the Jews of Newport traded in black slaves.»
72. Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (New York: William Morrow, 1967), pp. 476-78. See also his «My Jewish Problem and and Theirs», in Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Racism, ed. Nat Hentoff (New York: Richard W. Baron, 1969), pp. 147, 160.
73. James Pope-Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers: A Study of the Atlantic Slave Traders, 1441-1807 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968), pp. 226, 234-41. The new cycle of scholarly interest in Jewish slavetraders began soon after with Stanley F. Chyet's Lopez of Newport: Colonial American Merchant (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1970).
74. Marc Dollinger, «A Different Kind of Freedom Ride: American Jews and the Struggle for Racial Equality, 1964-1975», in An Inventory of Promises: Essays on American Jewish History in Honor of Moses Rischin, ed. Jeffrey S. Gurock and Marc Lee Raphael (Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1995), p. 72.
75. Oscar R. Williams, Jr., «Historical Impressions of Black-Jewish Relations Prior to World War II», Negro History Bulletin, 40, 4 (July-August, 1977): 728-31. See also Morris U. Schappes's rejoinder, «Another Comment», 41, 5 (September-October, 1978): 890-91.
76. Carter G. Woodson, «Negro History Week», Journal of Negro History, 11 (1926): 239.
77. David Levering Lewis, «Shortcuts to the Mainstream: Afro-American and Jewish Notables in the 1920's and 1930's», in Jews in Black Perspectives: A Dialogue, ed. Joseph R. Washington, Jr. (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Univ. Press, 1984), pp. 83-97. See also Murray Friedman, What Went Wrong? The Creation and Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance (New York: Free Press, 1995), especially Chap. 12.
78. Ibid., pp. 5-6, 223-26; Thomas C. Holt, «Introduction: Whither Now and Why?», in The State of Afro-American History, ed. Darlene Clark Hine (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1986), p. 2; August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, Black History and the Historical Profession, 1915-1980 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1986), pp. 107-09, 163-66, 184-85, 291-95; Peter Novick, That Nobel Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988), Chap. 14; Philip D. Curtin, «Ghettoizing African History», Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 1995, p. A44.
79. Magida, p. 186; Louis Farrakhan, Back Where We Belong: Selected Speeches, ed. Joseph D. Eure and Richard M. Jerome (Philadelphia: PC International Press, 1989), p. 205.
80. John Henrik Clarke, African People in World History (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1993), pp. 51-55; idem, «More Reflections on Black-Jewish Relations», New York Amsterdam News, August 29, 1992, p. 4; Tony Martin, The Jewish Onslaught (Dover, MA: The Majority Press, 1993), pp. 125-27; «Battling the 'Onslaught': Dr. Tony Martin Resists Jewish Attacks Against Black Progress», Final Call, February 2, 1994, p. 6; Marc Caplan, «Academic Bigotry: Professor Tony Martin's Anti-Jewish Onslaught» (New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1995); David Mills, «Half-Truths and History: The Debate Over Jews and Slavery», Washington Post, October 17, 1993, p. C3, maliciously employing Stephen A. Fortune's Merchants and Jews (Gainesville: Univ. of Florida Press, 1984), p. 161. The Afrocentric Clarke did not dwell on the Jewish role until recently, and — unlike the Arabcentric Farrakhan — still will not apologize for Muslim slavetraders. See «Why I Do Not Support the Million Man March», New American (New York), October 10-18, 1995, pp. 4, 19.
81. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., «Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars», New York Times, July 20, 1992, p. A13.
82. Jonathan Kaufman, «White Racists and Farrakhan's Group», Chicago Tribune, October 3, 1985, p. 11; Judith Cummings, «Klan Figure Met with Farrakhan», New York Times, 3, 1985, p. A19; Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (New York: Doubleday, 1989), p. 37; Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust (New York: Plume, 1993), pp. 14, 126. African American journalist Hugh Pearson's «Blacks and Jews View the Holocaust», Wall Street Journal, April 19, 1996, p. A12, nervously steered clear of any Shoah/slavery comparison to avoid «antisemitic» imputations.
83. Marshall Frady, Jesse (New York: Random House, 1996), pp. 347-48.
84. The Secret Relationship, p. 178; Herb Boyd, «Muslims and Afrocentrics Speak Out at African Holocaust Event», New York Amsterdam News, December 28, 1991, pp. 3, 30; Desda Moss, «Holocaust Suffering Disparaged», USA Today, April 19, 1994, p. 3A; Edward T. Linenthal, Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum (New York: Viking, 1995), p. 256. Actually, NOI Founder Elijah Muhammad first invoked 600 million black victims in his Message to the Black Man in America (Chicago: Muhammad Mosque of Islam No. 2, 1965), p. 49.
85. Steven A. Holmes, «Farrakhan Repudiates Speech for Tone, Not Anti-Semitism», New York Times, February 4, 1994, p. Al. In an unusual display of accuracy, The Secret Relationship correctly cited Ira Rosenwaike, On The Edge of Greatness: A Portrait of American Jewry in the Early National Period (Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1985), pp. 68-70, that 240 of 322 Southern Jewish families listed in the 1830 Census owned at least one slave. Farrakhan in an error he still refuses to correct inverted the statistic and made Jews owners of three quarters of all the slaves. On his apologetics for today's Arab slavers in the Sudan, see Steve Farr, «Rift Forming in Black America Over Issue of Slavery in Africa», Los Angeles Sentinel, May 25, 1995, p. A5; Paul Liben, «Farrakhan Honors African Slavers?» Wall Street Journal, October 20, 1995, p. A14; Clarence Page, «How He Can't Ignore Slaves in the Sudan», Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1996, p. 21; Askia Muhammad, «Slavery in Sudan?», Final Call, July 23, 1996, pp. 3, 9.
86. Jose V. Malcioln, The African Origins of Modern Judaism (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1996), pp. 68-69.
87. S. E. Anderson, The Black Holocaust For Beginners (New York: Writers and Readers Publishing, 1995), p. 21.
88. Richard Abanes, American Militias (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), p. 198; Nizkor Project, «Uncommon Ground: The Black African Holocaust Council and Other Links Between Black and White Extremists» (Internet, July 1, 1996). For a white racialist take on indentured servitude as «the real holocaust», see Michael A. Hoffman, II, «The Forgotten Slaves: Whites in Servitude in Early America and Industrial Britain» (Internet, 1996).
89. Michael Bradley, Chosen People From the Caucasus (Chicago: Third World Press, 1992), pp. 195-96.
90. William Hale Thompson, «Shall We Shatter the Nation's Idols in School Histories?», Current History, 27 (February, 1928): 619-25; Lloyd Wendt and Herman Kagan, Big Bill of Chicago (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953), pp. 243-302; Bethany Andersen, «Treason or Truth: The New York City Textbook Controversy», New York History, 66 (1985): 397-419; Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), pp. 485-86.
91. Poliakov, IV, 252; Leo P. Ribuffo, «Henry Ford and The International Jew», American Jewish History, 69, 4 (1980): 437-77.
92. Brackman, Ministry of Lies, pp. 35-40; Caplan, pp. 1-2; On the attempt in 1995, following Martin's Wellesley precedent, to assign The Secret Relationship at the University of North Carolina, see «Faculty Notes», Chronicle of Higher Education, March 31, 1995, p. A18. For the debate over whether both high school and college history texts are still racially insensitive, or perhaps have moved too far toward the opposite pole of political correctness, see Robert Lerner, Althea K. Nagai, and Stanley Rothman, Molding the Good Citizen (Westport, CN: Praeger, 1995), pp. 76-81; Patrick Healy, «Bias in the Curriculum?», Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 1995, pp. A23-24.
93. Novick, pp. 490-91; Meier and Rudwick, pp. 285-87; Vincent Harding, «Responsibilities of the Black Scholar to the Community», in The State of Afro-American History, pp. 277-84; Nell Irvin Painter, «Who Decides What Is History?», Nation (February 27, 1982), pp. 276-78; Jeffrey Stewart and Fath Davis Ruffins, «A Faithful Witness: Afro-American Public History in Historical Perspective, 1828-1984», in Presenting the Past: Essays on History and the Public, ed. Susan P. Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1986), pp. 326-34.
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