Sunday, 17 November 2013

A friend of mine from Dublin emailed this to me: Watching Jonathan Ross show I taped last night Oprah Winfrey & Forrest Whitaker were on. I never knew that white Jews stood alongside Black people in the 60's v KK Klan!
During the 1950s and 1960s, Jews and African Americans were closely allied in the civil rights movement, and, indeed, Jews played a prominent role in the leadership of most, if not all, of the major civil rights organizations. As noted earlier, Stanley Levinson, a Jewish attorney, was Dr. Martin Luther King's chief advisor. Kivie Kaplan, a retired Jewish businessman from Boston, served as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was, as well, one of Dr. King's major fund-raisers and financial contributors. Marvin Rich, another Jewish attorney, was the chief fund-raiser and key speech writer for James Farmer, head More than half the white lawyers who made their services available to civil rights demonstrators in the South were Jews. Between half and three-quarters of the contributors to civil rights organizations - including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), CORE, and Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Con- ference (SCLC) - were Jews. More than half the white freedom riders were Jews. Almost two-thirds of the whites who went into the South during the Freedom Summer of 1964 were Jews including, of course, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who, along with their black colleague James Chaney, were murdered by racist thugs in Mississippi.
Jewish intellectuals and the journals of opinion that they controlled, including Commentary, spoke out forcefully on issues of civil rights. Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League provided financial, legal, and organizational support for civil rights groups. In the civil rights struggle, Jewish morality and Jewish interests pointed in the same direction. Morality dictated that Jews support the efforts of African Americans to free themselves from the apartheid system. To a generation of liberal Jews this was a supreme moral imperative. At the same time, however, many Jews and Jewish organizations, in particular, also recognized that they had an interest in supporting the civil rights movement. First, the goal of a society in which discrimination based on race was outlawed served the interests of Jews as much as - perhaps even more than - blacks. In the absence of discriminatory legislation and practices in such areas as education and employment, Jews had every reason to believe that they could compete successfully and rise to the very top of American society. By supporting African Americans in the cause of civil rights, Jews were eliminating the barriers that stood in their own way as well

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