Representatives John Lewis and Martin Frost address the growing rift between Jewish and Black Democrats in today’s Washington Post. The article establishes the "fact" of the "Jewish-African American partnership" by referring to the group’s common history of oppression. After this somewhat distasteful opening, the article makes a "concession":
Make no mistake, some leaders within our communities -- elected or otherwise -- have differences of opinion, and they deserve respect for the sincere, thoughtful positions they take. They also deserve the freedom to express themselves without being forced to bear the burden of speaking for an entire group.
For instance, some African Americans and Jews have approached recent debates on the Middle East from different perspectives. Of course, there is a long and distinguished tradition of nonviolence in the African American community. Jews should recognize that when some black elected officials advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East, it does not necessarily make them anti-Israel. And a secure peace is what all of us ultimately want most of all.
This is white-washing of the worst kind. The rift he is referring to has been caused by the likes of Cynthia McKinney and her anti-semitic father. This is not a mere difference of opinion: McKinney sent a letter to Saudi Prince Talal apologizing for the fact that Giuliani returned his gift of $10 million, after Talal suggested that America shared responsibility for the 9/11 terror attacks because its policy toward Israel. One of her aides suggested that Jewish members of Congress should not sit on House International Relations Committee because they have dual loyalties. Then there was her father’s blaming the loss on the J-E-W-S.
Let’s be clear: this is not a mere difference of opinion. This is anti-semitism, and in its face the Democrats have offered a combination of silence and revisionism as artfully illustrated by Lewis and Frost’s article. It should be remembered that Republicans were (and continue to be) blasted as racist because David Duke attempted to run as a Republican, even though the Republican party made clear that there was no place for the ideas or person of Duke in the party. Yet the Democrats believe that they can remain silent and still be the party for Jewish voters. Jewish voters aren’t likely to buy this. Until the Democrats are willing to denounce members in its ranks like Cynthia McKinney, and until they are willing to seriously reassess their policy on the Middle-East, expect the rift to continue.