Nathan Glazer here continues the discussion inaugurated by Earl Raab’s "The Black Revolution & the Jewish Question" (January) and Milton Himmelfarb’s "Is American Jewry in Crisis?" (March). Mr. Glazer is currently teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His books include Beyond the Melting Pot (with Daniel P. Moynihan), The Lonely Crowd (with David Riesman and Reuel Denney), and American Judaism.
I THINK it is all for the best that Earl Raab and Milton Himmelfarb have raised as sharply as they have in the pages of COMMENTARY the issue of black anti-Semitism-its extent, its sources, and its dangers. I do not think it for the best that this issue has made the cover of Time, the front pages of the New York Times, and the local television stations in New York City. Now this is a strategic judgment based on my own tentative answers to the following three questions: First, are Jews actually threatened by black anti-Semitism? Second, is there an alliance, or a potential alliance, developing between black militants and the WASP Establishment? Third, if indeed there is a threat to Jews, whether it in- volves an alliance between the black militants and the WASP Establishment or not, how can it best be countered? My view as to the type of publicity and discussion which is now needed de- rives from my judgment on these three points.
And my conclusion is that we need a good deal of discussion and education within the Jewish com- munity; that we need a good deal of discussion between Jews and whatever Negro leaders we can reach; but that we do not need mass publicity.
To begin with the question of anti-Semitism among Negroes, I suspect that the various studies and polls indicating that Negroes are no more anti-Semitic than other Americans, and perhaps even less so, probably do not reflect Negro opinion today: opinion among Negroes on many issues, after all, has been very volatile and has been changing very rapidly. Studies still show most Negro opinion to be "moderate"; but whatever the case may be with regard to the Negro popula- tion as a whole, I would argue that what should concern us is not so much the general level of anti- Semitic feeling in the ghetto as the dramatic in- crease in expressions of anti-Semitism among some Negro-or at this point I should say black-leaders.
Jews surely have nothing to complain about when it comes to the position of Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and other such figures within the Negro community.
Indeed, these men have, in one form or another, taken stances that have opened them to attack by other black leaders, that have certainly reduced 33 their appeal to young blacks, and that have even placed them in physical danger.
But of course these older national leaders, who have a long experience of working with Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in the fight to pass civil-rights, anti-discrimination, and anti-poverty legislation, are now supplemented by a newer breed of national leader-people like Stokely Car- michael, Roy Innis, LeRoi Jones, Eldridge Clea- ver, and Wilfred Ussery. The new breed are at- tached to smaller organizations-sometimes so small as to be almost nonexistent-or no organiza- tions at all. They have built their reputations on varying combinations of militant rhetoric, the emphasis on Black Power, the denunciation of whites and white racism, the demand that Negroes build up their own institutions, the demand that the holdings of whites in the ghetto be liquidated, the demand for revolution and for the total trans- formation of the social, economic, and political structure of the country.
Leaders of this stamp would not dream of op- posing themselves to expressions of anti-Semitism in the black community; they have, on the con- trary, sometimes given the lead to these expres- sions, justifying and legitimizing them. They have generally encouraged what to my mind is a quite irrational analysis of the Negro situation in the United States, and while they have sometimes fos- tered programs of some value, they have also helped to embed these programs in a context of vituperative language and violent feeling that all but vitiates their positive effects. Programs for black control of business and land in the ghetto, for local control of schools, for making the police responsible to the community, for the election of black candidates-all these are good programs, and certainly improving the position of blacks in this country will depend to some extent on their suc- cessful implementation (which is not to say that other types of effort are not also necessary). But when programs like these are put forward in such a way as to cast anyone who opposes them in the role of a racist or of a repulsive animal, the good that might come from instituting them cannot eas- ily be divorced from the evil that certainly follows upon the legitimation of hatred. A self-excul-34/COMMENTARY APRIL 1969 pating and other-denouncing interpretation of all one’s troubles is always an available option for human beings; to choose or overemphasize this option in connection with the situation of the American Negro is undoubtedly to create deep divisions in the country, and to disseminate ideas among Negro youth which are not only objective- ly false but which will make it all but impossible for them to change the conditions that govern their lives.
N LOCAL communities throughout the country, moderate and militant leaders compete for attention and support. In every black neighborhood of every city, there have arisen spokesmen who have been intemperate and un- restrained in their attacks on whites, on the "power structure," on policemen, teachers, social workers, landlords, businessmen, and-where these are Jews-on Jews. These local militants, helped along by television, have tended to drown out the more rational voices, but it is important to bear in mind that (with the one major exception of Adam Clayton Powell) elected representatives of Negro communities-the by now hundreds of congressmen, state legislators, mayors, city coun- cilmen, and so on-have by and large not shared in the trend toward the working up of hatred and hysteria. Thus, so far as I can recall, of all the anti-Semitic statements which have recently been publicized by the mass media, not a single one has come from an elected representative of the black community. This is a startling fact, and one we should not forget. It provides a basis on which Jews and Jewish groups could well build their strategy for trying to prevent anti-Semitism among Negroes from rising to epidemic propor- tions-a danger I do not by any means consider negligible but which I do not believe is already upon us.
Not only have elected Negro leaders generally avoided the most inflammatory rhetoric; even leaders outside the circle of regularly elected offi- cials-those involved in area poverty programs and in the newly developing model city programs -have in many cities tended to be somewhat less fevered in attitude and statement than their more widely publicized fellow militants. Once again, I think there is something here we should ponder.
The poverty programs, after several years of near chaos and permanent conflict, are in many places achieving a degree of stability, thanks to the final settlement of the "constitutional" issues (how the governing boards should be set up, what role the mayor should play, what kind of local elections should be held, etc.). Those of us who watched the workings of this process with some dismay, and with the apprehension that the most irration- al sections of the community would be elevated to leadership and spokesman status, must now admit that in a significant number of cases this has not happened. That it has not happened, of course, is in itself a testimony to the radicalization of black communities-the radicals of three or four years ago have now found new radicals rising to their Left. But the "older" radicals will not give up their positions so easily, and many see them as stepping stones to the elective opportunities that have opened up everywhere for Negroes.
I want, then, to emphasize these sources of sta- bility and moderation in Negro communities throughout the country: the opinion of ordinary Negroes of all kinds, the majority of whom are probably not even as yet anti-white, let alone anti- Jewish; the opinion of national Negro leaders who speak out against anti-Semitism and other vicious tendencies; and, most important, the opinion of local leadership, elected and appointed, which tries to resist the most extreme forms of violent expression, which tries to develop programs that have a realistic chance of improving the position of Negroes, and which sees its own future as best assured in an increasingly tolerant and integrated American society. And all this is based on the reality of growing numbers of Negroes who hold stable jobs, whether middle-class or working-class, who do have something to lose from the fire and the flood, and who are certainly at least ambiva- lent about releasing destruction on the entire society.
That is the first important point. The second- it has been made by many Negro leaders-is that to focus on anti-Semitism alone, understandable as this may be for Jews, is to mistake the devel- oping trend of opinion within the black commun- ities. Anti-white expressions-expressions of anger, of hatred-are daily becoming more open and more extreme in the ghetto. They are taught in the new black theater and black arts movements, they are taught in the new black-controlled schools, they are spread through the new televi- sion programs controlled by black militants. Black pride, of course, is also taught in all these new forums-though it unfortunately tends more and more to be tied to black anger and black hatred.
But the object of these emotions is still primarily the white society (the word "honky" derives from the derogatory "bohunk") and not the Jews.
So far it is only in New York City that anti- white feelings take on a predominantly anti- Jewish tone, owing undoubtedly to the promi- nence of Jews among teachers, businessmen, land- lords, social workers, and most of the other pro- fessional and occupational groups (except for the police) who come into direct contact with Negroes. But almost everywhere else anti-whitism reigns, and becomes differentiated into animosity against Poles, Italians, or Irish, as the local ethnic mix may determine. The anti-Semitic deviation of anti-whitism has become so prominent in our minds partly because two-fifths of the Jewish pop- ulation of the United States lives in New York, and partly because the headquarters of the mass media are located there. (I doubt that TimeBLACKS, JEWS S& THE INTELLECTUALS/35 would have done a cover story on Negro-Jewish tensions if it were published from Chicago, for ex- ample.) Of course Jews are far more sensitive to anti-Semitism than Poles, Italians, or Irish are to expressions of prejudice against them. Jews have good reason to be sensitive-they are still, despite the loose way in which the word genocide has come to be used, the only people (along with the Gypsies) who have been subjected, and as recently as twenty-five years ago, to the effort of a great power to wipe them off the face of the earth: an effort that was, for Europe at least, in large meas- ure successful. And the Jewish state in Israel is still the only one in the world, aside from Biafra, which has good reason to fear that genocide is the aim and policy of its unreconciled enemies. Neverthe- less, for most American Negroes there is as yet no reason to equate anti-whitism with anti-Semitism, though an intense concentration by the mass media on black anti-Semitism might well succeed in iden- tifying the two in the minds of many Negroes.
ow LET ME pass on to a third point which seems to me of the utmost importance for all of us who are concerned with black anti-Semitism. It is this: the expansion and inflammation of anti-Semitism among blacks, while fed by material already present at the grass roots, has largely been the work of the black intel- ligentsia-to use an unfortunately indispensable word-abetted and assisted and advised by a white, predominantly Jewish, intelligentsia. When we attack black anti-Semitism, let us be perfectly clear that we are attacking the fruits of five years of growing rage and irrationality, centered among radical college students, but encouraged by a wide range of white intellectuals, many of them of Jewish origin.
The question here is not so much whether the ideas that have been propagated so assiduously in the last five years are understandable, excusable, or even right. The question rather has to do with the effect of an increasingly powerful stream of opinion that has glorified violence-the violence of revolutionaries, of rebels, and even of simple criminals and delinquents; that has depicted all the major institutions of the society-the govern- ment, the army, the universities, business-as mad and cruel; that has relentlessly attacked the so- called "middle-class virtues" of work, diligence, punctuality, family responsibility, concern with the accumulation and maintenance of property, and so on.
To ask the question is to answer it. This stream of opinion has helped to legitimize violence, the destruction of property, the destruction of insti- tutions, the impulsive expression of emotion-and not only among the upper-middle-class youth, who still presumably had a fund of socialization that would inhibit the most extreme acting out of the teachings to which they were being subjected; it also exerted its influence on the lower-class youth. In ever growing numbers lower-class youth were drawn into the larger society-through pov- erty programs, work programs, educational pro- grams, entrance to colleges and universities; they arrived only to discover that the ideal mode of life, according to such gurus of the time as Norman Mailer and Edgar Z. Friedenberg and their followers in the New York Review of Books, the underground press, the college press, and even Playboy and Esquire, was the one they had just left behind, and that the "middle-class" society into which they were moving was racist and cor- rupt.
To be sure, there were materials for black anti- Semitism in the concrete contacts of blacks and Jews. But these materials had to be interpreted, the interpretations had to be turned into atti- tudes, the attitudes had to be spread among young whites, and through their sycophantic association with young blacks, among young blacks. And taught these attitudes were. They were taught when young white radicals, mostly Jewish, ac- cepted without argument anti-Zionist and anti- Semitic resolutions at the National Conference for New Politics. They were taught when Marvin Garson, in his underground San Francisco Express-Times, published a speech of Stokely Carmichael explaining why all blacks must sup- port Egypt against Israel, and attacking "the honky who stole a heart out of our brother and put it into another devil." They were taught when the Black Panther, supported by Jewish and other white radicals, printed anti-Semitic poems and articles. In short, if we are to learn how to fight the recrudescence of anti-Semitism, I think it is essential that we understand it as an element of the enraged nihilism that so many white and Jewish intellectuals have encouraged and sup- ported among black intellectuals-and not only intellectuals.
A recent issue of the Black Panther carries a full-page ad of the International Committee to Support Eldridge Cleaver. The distinguished sponsors of the committee include Allen Gins- berg, Herbert Gold, Norman Mailer, Paul Jacobs, Edgar Friedenberg, Marcus Raskin, Jack Newfield, Nat Hentoff, Susan Sontag, Arthur Waskow, Jules Feiffer, Robert Brustein, Maurice Zeitlin, Noam Chomsky, Richard Lichtman, Robert Silvers, The- odore Solotaroff, and others. The same issue of the Black Panther contains an admiring story about Al Fatah, which "pioneered . . . the road of armed struggle which brooks no false solutions, does not recognize the so-called peaceful solution, and knows only the gun as the sole means to achieve victory." A month earlier, the headline of anoth- er story in the Black Panther on Al Fatah read: "Palestine Guerrillas versus Israeli Pigs." The Black Panther is published by the Ministry of In- formation of the Black Panther party; the head of that Ministry, even in hiding or exile, is still Eldridge Cleaver. Now the Jewish supporters of36/COMMENTARY APRIL 1969 Eldridge Cleaver probably do not know about the stories on Al Fatah-which are rather moderate as Black Panther rhetoric goes. But they hardly need them to learn that the Black Panthers believe that the gun is the only solution to problems, that policemen are "pigs," and that to kill them is not murder (just as to kill Jewish "swine" was not murder to Nazis); Cleaver’s Jewish defenders also ought to know that the major impact of the Black Panthers on the black community is to terrorize moderates and to justify acts of violence.
Let us not phrase the issue in terms of Negro against Jew-that would be unkind to many Negroes, and too kind to many Jews. Let us recall instead that Andrew Kopkind, writing in the New York Review of Books (edited by Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein), glorified the violence and destruction of the Newark riots, and called for more. Let us recall that Paul Jacobs helped establish Eldridge Cleaver at Ramparts, that Robert Scheer edited his last book, that Jacobs and Philip Shapiro lost money when he jumped bail. Let us recall that Marvin Garson publishes bloodthirsty prophecies in his Express-Times de- picting an uprising in Berkeley in which hun- dreds of policemen are killed and the Chancellor of the University is murdered before a cheering "revolutionary" tribunal, and that Max Scheer is the editor of the Berkeley Barb in which no act of violence by blacks against whites is criticized, and in which every possible act of sabotage and de- struction is looked upon with glee. If anyone thinks all this is only literature and exerts no in- fluence on what young blacks think and do, whether directly, or indirectly through its influ- ence on young whites, then he is a fool.
I do not want to deprive blacks of all the credit for the mood of violence that hangs over the country and frightens almost everyone, but we must acknowledge that white intellectuals, and that-to repeat-means in large measure Jewish intellectuals, have taught violence, justified vio- lence, rationalized violence. Anti-Semitism is only a part of this whole syndrome, for if the members of the middle class do not deserve to hold on to their property, their positions, or even their lives, then certainly the Jews, the most middle-class of all, are going to be placed at the head of the column marked for liquidation.
Once we understand this, we will see that, iron- ically, the advice black militants give to whites- "go work among your own kind"-applies to Jews too. We can work with the radical Jewish intellec- tuals who support or sympathize with such groups as the Black Panthers, and ask them to consider with us whether the ills of this society cannot be remedied in any way other than the enraging of vast parts of the population-a rage, we can point out in addition, that will do nothing to solve the problems but can do a great deal to bring every- one down, including even Jewish editors, writers, and professors.
HIS BRINGS me to the question of the alliance which Raab and Himmel- farb see developing between the WASP Establish- ment and black militants against Jews. The first major act of the alliance, it is suggested, was the attempt to turn control of the New York City schools over to local community groups-an act which resulted in the terrible teachers’ strike and the consequent exacerbation of anti-black senti- ments among Jews and anti-Jewish sentiments among blacks. There are, in my opinion, a number of serious errors in leaning too heavily on this view of the matter.
First, I think it is an illusion to see the Estab- lishment as exclusively WASP; Jews are part of the Establishment too. They may not know it or be- lieve it. But just as John F. Kennedy, even when he was President, could on occasion feel that "they" (the white Protestant bankers and indus- trialists) really ran everything and that he was only an outsider still trying to get into the central citadels of true power, so too we have this illusion among Jews. If the Establishment acts stupidly to increase race prejudice and hatred, Jews must bear part of the responsibility. For it is not only in the mass media and as intellectuals that Jews play a significant role in shaping what this country thinks and does; they also play such a role as part of the major power centers of the nation-busi- ness, government, the universities. When the Establishment does things to reward black dema- gogues and to discourage moderates, to seek out those with the most inflammatory rhetoric and to ignore those who wish to do good and productive work, then Jews are doing these things too. And if Jews are doing these things, a serious job of edu- cation must be undertaken among them.
Secondly, let us consider the fact that if the Establishment has acted to sacrifice the interests of the lower-middle-class Jewish teachers in New York to black militants in the hope of achieving civic peace, it has acted in exactly the same way with regard to the interests of all working-class and lower-middle-class groups, Jewish and non- Jewish alike. When the Establishment calls these people racists because they want protection from criminals, it is also Jews who call them racists, who develop this interpretation and spread it in the mass media. Jews have been prominent in fighting for integrated housing, for integrated schools, for the entry of Negroes into labor unions and closed job areas. All these were and are good and worthy fights. But how often have the Jews who were active in these battles been people whose children went to private schools anyway, whose houses were in areas too expensive to be affected by integration, who did not care one way or another about the concerns of skilled labor? How often have Jews and WASPs together been in- different or insensitive to the feelings and fears of the working and lower-middle classes in this coun- try? When finally one large group of Jewish job-BLACKS, JEWS & THE INTELLECTUALS/37 holders-the New York teachers-suddenly found its security and its seniority rights threatened, there was an outcry over anti-Semitism. But in the past, when Irish or Italian or Polish working-class groups saw what they conceived to be their inter- ests threatened, it was Jewish liberals who were among the first to shout "racism" (and of course many of these same Jewish liberals also shouted "racism" at the teachers).
My argument is not that housing and school and job integration were or are unimportant causes; on the contrary, they continue to be essen- tial goals. What I am saying is that it is only with ill grace that Jews can attack WASPS for ignor- ing, or seeking security at the expense of, Jewish interests-Jews themselves have been guilty of insensitivity in relation to other people for a long time. The real issue in both cases-since the rise of the Negroes must at some point occasion seri- ous challenges to the interests of others-is what is right, and how what is right can be accomplished.
But the attack on the WASP Establishment be- comes even more ironic when we remember that the programs for which it is being attacked are after all the very programs that intellectuals and social scientists, among them many Jews, have been so busy selling to the foundations and the corpora- tions. We have all joined in the assault on bureau- crats-school bureaucrats, police bureaucrats, so- cial-work bureaucrats. We have all talked about breaking down the large structures that rob peo- ple of their freedom and deny the individual con- trol over his own fate. We have all thought up schemes by which we might return to smaller and more manageable communities and institutions.
Then, when the Ford Foundation, influenced in no insignificant measure by our ideas, decides to do something about them, we discover, mirabile dictu, that the bureaucracies, which deny to some the power to control their own lives, at the same time give a bit of that power to others-through such despised civil-service protections as examina- tions, due process, and all the rest.
After all, how do foundations and reform mayors operate? They go to intellectuals, to social scientists, and to other "experts" who are credit- ed with having the best ideas, and while it is true that they pick and choose among them, the sur- prising thing is how accepting they have been of expert opinion, and how modest in imposing the views they might have developed from business experience and a WASP cultural background. They have accepted the idea that people need not be taught to work hard, or to study in order to qual- ify, or to be judged in accordance with imperson- al and universal criteria. They have accepted the idea that they ought to support revolutionaries because revolutionaries have access to the grass roots, and they have accepted the idea that they should not support moderates because moderates are Uncle Toms whose belief in the bourgeois vir- tues cuts them off from their own people.
Conceivably there are WASPS who see in anti- Semitism an opportunity to divert black rage.
But if they are adopting this strategy on their own, it shares a good deal in common with a num- ber of other strategies that they did not devise on their own and that have been sold to them by the intelligentsia.
I NOW COME to the third question: What is to be done? I think this has already been implicitly answered in much of what pre- cedes.
In asking what is to be done, one is also asking who is to do it. The first agents I have in mind are the responsible leaders of the Jewish com- munity, in particular those who work through the national and local defense agencies. It is they who have a mandate from the Jewish community to act in these matters. But it is also perfectly clear that there is no one Jewish community, just as there is no one black or Negro community. Thus, neither groups nor individuals within the Jewish community can be prevented from taking what to the thinking of the chief Jewish defense agencies is ill-advised action, no more than ill- advised action can be prevented in the Negro communities. Negroes are often, and legitimately, angered when people talk as if they were a mono- lithic entity, or as if all Negroes were responsible for what any Negro does. We understand this well enough in the Jewish community, where we have Zionists and anti-Zionists; liberals and conserva- tives; supporters of black violence and those who are outraged by it; Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform; American super-patriots and radical op- ponents of American imperialism. Nevertheless, despite this enormous diversity, there are agencies empowered to act, agencies which the majority of Jews expect to act on their behalf. The first thing we must do-not the most im- port thing, but the first-is to refurbish our thinking on the basis of our experience with Nazism and with the lesser anti-Semitism which has existed in this country. I say this not to equate black anti-Semitism with Nazism-the comparison is of course ridiculous, since blacks, or even black anti-Semites, have neither the all-embracing ide- ology nor anything near the power to enforce it that Nazism had. I simply wish to refer to historic experience, and ask that we learn something from it. One of the things that we can learn from it, I believe, is that when we deal with relatively small movements, or with the statements of single in- dividuals, it is folly to give them the widest pos- sible circulation. Thus, when the Black Panther prints anti-Semitic articles, our aim should not be to broadcast them far and wide; our aim should rather be to inform those who sympathize with the Black Panther party and who might otherwise not know what it stands for (it is for this purpose that I describe such articles here, in the pages of COMMENTARY); our aim should be to get moral38/COMMENTARY APRIL 1969 and financial support withdrawn from the Black Panthers.
In the case of less virulent organizations and individuals, our first effort should be to contact the people concerned by having those they con- sider friends talk to them and attempt to convince them they are wrong, and that what they are doing is bad for blacks and bad for the country.
In other words, our response should be carefully proportioned to the kind of circulation that black anti-Semites can develop on their own. If they themselves can only reach a small audience, we should be sure that, in attacking them, we do not make it possible for them to reach a large audi- ence. Thus, the FM station WBAI in New York City gives time to Leslie Campbell to read an anti- Semitic poem and to Julius Lester to attack Jews, but has a very small listening audience, prob- ably made up largely of Jews. The Jewish organizations should use their weight to make strong private representations to WBAI, and to urge Jews, if these representations are not taken seriously, to discontinue their financial contribu- tions to the station.
One reason for following this course as far as possible is that the black militant leaders them- selves are in constant and fierce competition for publicity-they have little organized support, and their power is based on access to the TV news media and the newspapers. When they gain such access, their position as spokesmen or leaders is en- hanced. If they resort to anti-Semitism, we should try, as private citizens exercising our democratic right of protest, persuasion, and pressure, to deny them this access.
There is another and more difficult point to be made in this connection. A good deal of what some Jews might consider anti-Semitism is in some sense fair comment. When a Negro leader says that Jewish storekeepers exploit blacks, this may be untrue, but there are Jewish storekeepers in the ghetto, and according to the puerile but wide- spread thinking so fashionable in intellectual cir- cles today, all forms of trade involve exploitation.
To denounce the statement as anti-Semitism is to give the charge more publicity than it deserves, and to raise complex issues concerning the point at which the discussion of the Jewish role in social, political, and economic life becomes anti- Semitism. Thus, I believe the reaction to the Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue on the "Harlem on My Mind" exhibit was greatly exag- gerated. A sixteen-year-old girl wrote the introduc- tion; it was drawn from the work of a Jewish author (the present writer), though with changes; it was selected and edited by a Jewish editor, who had previously staged a sympathetic and widely admired exhibit on the Jews of the Lower East Side. At worst this was a case of poor judgment, and if the Jewish agencies had had the power to do so, it would have been better to have handled it privately, or let it pass.
These are all of course questions of tactical judgment, and I know I speak in an area in which the Jewish defense agencies have developed a good deal of professional experience. I know also that they often act in accordance with the rough guide- lines I have been suggesting. My plea is only that they resist the temptation and the pressure to for- get their own most reliable tactics.
A NOTHER job which must be done with- in the Jewish community is to edu- cate Jews who give so freely to liberal and progres- sive causes-Jews who have set up foundations, Jews who work in foundations-into the awareness that it is suicidal to support irresponsible black demagogues whose chief claim to leadership is their ability to get on television by making outrageous remarks. It is to my mind stupid-and that is the mildest term I can think of-that the Black United Front of Boston, which attacked Brandeis University as "racist" during the black student sit- in there, should have been given $300,000 by two energetic young men, one with a Jewish name, who had raised it from the businessmen of Boston as a way, they asserted, of gaining the confidence of alienated blacks. It is stupid for foundations that derive their funds from the wealth of Jew- ish families to support people whose program is to enrage blacks to the point where they consider it just that Jewish teachers should be physically threatened and Jewish businessmen robbed and even killed, or to award grants to people who cannot resist resorting to anti-Semitism. Thus, when Wilfred Ussery, national chairman of CORE, who has made anti-Semitic remarks, engages in efforts to raise funds to develop black-owned enterprises in the ghetto, Jews should use what- ever influence they have to insure that his efforts are not rewarded. There are many Negro organi- zations interested in developing black-owned enterprises in the ghetto, and of these many are led by people who realize that this country has been built upon, and that its future still depends upon, mutual tolerance among groups. It is they who deserve support.
Assuming that the strategy I have been sketch- ing is the right one for Jews in dealing with black anti-Semitism, there is still a serious problem. For so long as Jews themselves are bedazzled by an ideology which asserts that only hatred can solve the problems of blacks in this country, they will be unable to carry out such a strategy. If Jews honestly believe that their own evil deeds are sig- nificantly responsible for the position of blacks in America, or that their own "racism" makes it im- possible for them, as free citizens of a free country, to exercise their independent judgment on which public policies are best for minority groups and for the nation as a whole, then they can only accept whatever the next black tells them is the highest wisdom-even if he tells them to kill themselves, as indeed some blacks have.BLACKS, JEWS & THE INTELLECTUALS/39 Much of what I have written above will strike some people as a simple and selfish defense of Jewish interests-jobs, businesses, civil-service positions, and the rest. But that is not what it is at all. My views are based on an analysis of the causes of Negro misery and the measures needed to alleviate it. The Negro position may have been created by American race prejudice, in which Jews have of course shared, but the abolition of the last iota of prejudice-even if that were pos- sible, which it is not-would at this point make little difference. The black position in America today is a function less of the present level of white racism than of the inadequate develop- ment of various skills and abilities within the Negro population; of our failure to create in- come-maintenance and job programs that could have compensated for those deficiencies in skills and education until other programs were devel- oped to overcome them; and of certain cultural features which have grown up within the black community.
Now all these factors will be affected positively by a certain degree of autonomy-by the develop- ment of black pride, by the development, with white support where possible, of institutions that Negroes control and use. But if autonomy and pride can only be developed through hatred of other Americans, through a total refusal to con- sider one’s own responsibility to change, through romantic visions of an independent black state- if this point of view should prevail in the black community, the best we can hope for is a perma- nently depressed and resentful population, and there is scarcely a limit to the worst we can fear.
If, however, we can proceed along the path of practical programs of improvement, I believe more Negroes will enter the middle class and the stable working class, more will enter the "Estab- lishment," more will achieve power through elec- tive office, more integration will take place in many areas, and Negroes will find themselves in a position in American society similar to that of other ethnic and racial groups.
Obviously, many disagree with this assessment of the situation. There are those who feel that Negroes will only be happy in a separate society; there are those who believe, as so many young radicals do, that the successes of American society are a hypocritical sham, and that it deserves only to be destroyed. Holding these beliefs, they will of course support the black extremists. They may also feel that anti-Semitism is a regrettable and inevitable corollary of the proper political out- look for blacks. If they are Jews, they may in self- sacrificing fashion agree that Jews must suffer from the violence and destruction necessary to di- vide the country or bring it down.
T DOES NOT, however, inexorably follow from my own position that Jews will not or should not suffer as the Negroes rise. Some Jews will probably lose or be downgraded in jobs which they have gained through civil-service and seniority. Some Jewish businessmen will be dis- placed by Negro businessmen. The proportion of Jewish students and professors in the elite colleges will fall as that of the Negroes goes up. And the Jewish community as a whole will lose influence in politics as Negroes gain more.
There will be room for argument and debate within the Jewish community as to how much should rightfully be given up so that deprived Negroes may at last be permitted an equitable share. I would hope for such argument and de- bate within all groups in this country, in order that the sacrifices which all of us will have to make for the sake of social justice may themselves be justly distributed. So far as the Jewish com- munity itself is concerned, those Jews who will have to bear the brunt of the readjustment that must take place in this country will have to be helped by those Jews who are not asked to suffer.
Much of the money that now goes to black mili- tants who are doing nothing to solve problems and everything to exacerbate them might well go into such programs.
IN THE END, our response to black anti-Semitism and the nihilism that goes with it must depend on what we think of the character of American soci- ety and its possibilities. There has been built up among the youth, aided by irresponsible intellec- tuals and the sensation-seeking mass media, feel- ings of such despair and distrust and so great an ignorance of this country, that any position, re- gardless of how fantastic, now has the chance of being given wide credence. If Jews really believe that America has not changed for the better and cannot change further, that democracy is a fraud, and that intelligence and political action within the scheme of the American political system can do nothing and have done nothing to improve the condition of minorities and create a more just and more harmonious society, then they can do nothing to fight black anti-Semitism. All they can do is give the blacks guns, and allow themselves to become the first victims.