Author: Ralph Leonard

Black or White, It’s the Same Old Anti-Semitic Pathology

Last year closed with a number of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York City area—including the killing of three people at a Jersey City kosher market by two shooters who had expressed interest in the fringe Black Hebrew Israelite movement, and a machete attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, NY by a suspect who appears to have referenced the same anti-Semitic hate group in his rambling manifesto. Unlike the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooter or the 2019 Poway synagogue shooter, the suspects in these attacks weren’t white supremacists. Black Hebrew Israelite ideology is an exclusively black movement, whose various sects typically preach that black people are the true descendants of Biblical Israelites, and that today’s (actual) Jews are frauds. The Black Hebrew Israelites do not constitute a mainstream religious group, and certainly do not represent the views of ordinary American blacks. Nevertheless, the possibility that these crimes may be connected to Black Hebrew Israelite beliefs has elicited an uncertain reaction from public officials and commentators, who are more familiar (and comfortable) with discussions that center …