How Blacks & Jews Collaborate to Hide the Jewish Role in Slavery

Dr. Ralph A. Austen of Harvard University candidly described how Black and Jewish scholars schemed to disguise the true nature of the historical Black–Jewish relationship. He and Black historian John Hope Franklin gave a talk to the Jewish student group Hillel in 1994 on the topic of the Jewish community in the nineteenth-century South. Austen describes the open deception of the Jewish students:

“After the formal presentation, a member of the audience asked a question about Southern Jewish participation in the debate on slavery. As I remember it, Franklin replied that he did not know too much about the subject. I recall very clearly one of the Hillel regulars remarking that since many of the early Southern Jews were Sephardim who had fled Spanish and Portuguese persecution, they must have been sympathetic to the plight of Black slaves.

“I remember this statement because it was allowed to pass without comment, although John Hope Franklin and I (we discussed it afterwards) were both aware that Sephardi Jews in the New World had been heavily involved in the African slave trade. Why did two professional historians in a university setting hesitate to provide our colleagues with such an important piece of information? I cannot answer for Franklin but I, as a Jew sitting in a Jewish institution that was entertaining an African-American guest, felt that pointing out the role of Jews in the history of Black slavery would, in this context, have constituted something of a betrayal. I did not want to undermine the sense of solidarity between the two communities which had been reinforced by Franklin’s very presence, as well as through his references to our common confrontation with white Gentile Southern bigots.

“Franklin and I, in effect, were condoning a benign historical myth: that the shared liberal agenda of twentieth-century Blacks and Jews has a pedigree going back through the entire remembered past. Avodim hayinu! [We were slaves to the Pharaoh of Egypt!] We, the Jews, had also experienced history on the side of the enslaved and always cried out in anguish against the oppression of the enslavers.

“For better or worse, it is no longer possible to maintain that this myth has any but the most abstract bearing on the facts of our pre-emancipation relationship with Africans and their New World descendants. Jewish students of Jewish history have known it was untrue and, over several decades, have produced a significant body of scholarship detailing the involvement of our ancestors in the Atlantic slave trade and Pan-American slavery. Until recently, this work remained buried in scholarly journals, read only by other specialists. It had never been synthesized in a publication for a non-scholarly audience. A book of this sort has now appeared, however, written not by Jews but by an anonymous group of African Americans associated with the Reverend Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.”*

Read The Secret Relationship Between Blacks & Jews :

*Source: Ralph A. Austen, “The Uncomfortable Relationship African Enslavement in the Common History of Blacks and Jews,” Tikkun, March/April ’94, pp. 66-68 and 86.