The recent mini-pogroms — in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere — have, it would appear, been carried out in substantial part by African-Americans, including so-called Black Hebrews. Why, people increasingly wonder? The mayor of New York City, where many vicious attacks by blacks against Jews have occurred, has long favored an easy solution to the problem, which is to empty the jails. “The problem of crime,” he says. “is the disproportionate number of blacks who are incarcerated.”
De Blasio no longer aspires to take his wisdom to the White House; but the remaining Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination, with few exceptions, see crime as a problem of prejudiced and brutal police, not of ruthless criminals. Or else, as in the case of Bernie Sanders some years ago when he was shouted down by the (antisemitic) Black Lives Matter desperadoes in Seattle, a cry for appeasement. Sanders quickly complied, surrendering to the mob and canceling his speech.
The most recent assaults on Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn have not (yet) been on the scale of what historian Edward Shapiro called “the only antisemitic riot in American History” — the 1991 Crown Heights pogrom. But nearly every Democratic candidate has been eager to be photographed with the organizer of that pogrom, the race racketeer Reverend Al Sharpton.
For Elizabeth Warren, Sharpton is a paragon who “has dedicated his life to the fight for justice for all.” For (ex-candidate) Kamala Harris he “has done so much for our country.” When the Democratic Party’s “squad” of four delivered themselves of unmistakable and obscene anti-Jewish remarks, the Democratic Congress could not screw up the courage to condemn them or, for that matter, antisemitism itself.
From that political quarter, the Jews of America, whose ancestors, from 1880-1920, fled Eastern Europe, where they had to live with a constant burden of peril, can no longer expect support or protection.
Edward Alexander is professor emeritus of English at University of Washington.