The Political Perils of a Black-Jewish Rift Over the War in Gaza

“There’s no alliance more historic, nor more important, than the alliance between Black Americans and Jewish Americans.”

That’s what Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, said in 2020 during his organization’s Black-Jewish Unity Week joint event with the American Jewish Committee.

But, Morial told me this week, that alliance is “being tested” by diverging views about the Israel-Hamas war. And that divergence could influence the way both constituencies — both of which traditionally support Democrats — approach this year’s elections.

The relationship between these two communities is longstanding and hit its stride during the civil rights movement. But it hasn’t been without periods of friction.

Marc Dollinger, a professor of Jewish studies at San Francisco State University and the author of “Black Power, Jewish Politics,” sees a strong parallel between now and the period around the 1967 Six-Day War, in which Israel took control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem (as well as the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula), and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced.

The next year, just four months before America’s 1968 election, a Times article headlined “Jews Troubled Over Negro Ties” described one point of contention between the two communities as “Jewish resentment over the anti-Israeli stance of Black extremists who, in the parlance of the New Left, accuse the Jewish state of ‘Zionist imperialism’ and ‘oppressions’ against the Arabs.’ ”

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Back to top button