If Blacks are a minority and Jews are a minority, why is there such tension
One element that caused this friction is the way social interaction between Jews
and Blacks was structured in the 1960’s.
According to the book “Israel in the Black American Perspective” (1985):
In the Black community Jews were frequently associated with wealth and
“parasitism.” Under the least propitious circumstances, Blacks usually met
Jews as storekeepers and landlords–the most visible representatives of an
oppressive economic system. Such meetings were not likely to promote good will
and mutual respect. [p4]
But if Jewish storekeepers and landlords are such a significant reason for how
Blacks viewed Jews, why would that hatred seem to be so focused on Jews?
In a footnote to that paragraph, the book’s authors — Robert G. Weisbord and
Richard Kazarian, Jr. — point out that Jews were not the only storekeepers and
landlords that Blacks had contact with:
In some cities, New Orleans and Newark to mention just two, Italian-black
relations were acrimonious for similar reasons. Of late, “exploitative” Korean
merchants in Harlem have aroused the ire of Afro-Americans, some of whom have
responded with “buy Black” campaigns and organized boycotts of the Korean
And in Detroit, Arab grocers, mostly Iraqui [sic] Christians, have experienced
picketing by Blacks who denounced profiteering outsiders. Burning and looting
occurred in 1983 following the killing of a Black youth by an Arab
Antagonism to the Arabs in Detroit was rooted in the frustrations Blacks feel
when confronted by the more rapid economic progress made by first and second
Black hostility to the Iraquis [sic] in the Motor City is strikingly
similar to that directed at the Jews in Gotham and elsewhere.
Over the decades,
Race Riots were not directed only at Jews</a >:
Similar to the 1943 Detroit Race Riots that devastated the Jewish population,
and the 1967 Race Riots that left hundreds of Chaldean [Iraqi Arab Christian]
businesses destroyed, Koreans too dealt with a destructive riot in 1992 Los
The context for
the 1992 riots
is the reaction to the verdict that cleared the police officers who were
videotaped beating Rodney King, a year after a Korean store owner shot and
killed a 15-year-old Black girl because he thought she was stealing a bottle of
orange juice —
The nearly weeklong, widespread rioting killed more than 50 people, injured
more than 1,000 people and caused approximately $1 billion in damage, about
half of which was sustained by Korean-owned businesses.
Long-simmering cultural clashes between immigrant Korean business owners
and predominately African-American customers spilled over with the
Common complaints about stores predominantly owned by Muslims from Palestine,
Jordan, and Yemen, are that they only provide low-quality food and don’t take
any ownership over their role in the community. “The reality is that Englewood
is changing, and if you don’t improve your model, in time you will go out of
business,” says Gunn.
Yet despite tensions between Blacks and other groups — tensions that let to
riots — have you ever heard Farrakhan attack minorities other than Jews?</i >
Actually, he did.
The Chicago Tribune reported about:
comments Farrakhan made Friday during a television interview in which he was
quoted as saying Jews, Arabs, Koreans and Vietnamese were “bloodsuckers” who
set up businesses in the black community but never gave back to those
Not just any Arabs.
In an interview with Reuters Television aped Oct. 4 and made public Friday,
Mr. Farrakhan touched on several sensitive subjects that previously outraged
Jewish leaders and prompted accusations of anti-Semitism against him.
“When we use the term ‘bloodsucker,’ it doesn’t just apply to some members
of the Jewish community. That could apply to any human being who does nothing for another but lays
on that human being to suck the value of its life without returning anything,”
Mr. Farrakhan said in the interview.
“Many of the Jews who owned the homes, the apartments in the black community,
we considered them bloodsuckers because they took from our community and built
their community but didn’t offer anything back to our community.
“And when the Jews left, the Palestinian Arabs came, Koreans came,
Vietnamese and other ethnic and racial groups came. And so this is a type
and we call them bloodsuckers.”
Later, Farrakhan complained about the media for misreporting what he said: “It
is unfortunate that the media is taking words that were spoken out of context to
He never did make clear what the proper context for “bloodsuckers” was.
But the next day, Farrakhan did a turnaround, equating the suffering of Black
Americans with other minority groups in the US:
In an address at Operation PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., Farrakhan said
African-American men are dehumanized in the United States in the same way
Japanese, Germans, Italians and, more recently, Koreans, Vietnamese and people
of Middle Eastern descent have been treated in the U.S. during wars involving
…”We didn’t feel their pain because they were considered the enemy,”
Farrakhan said to the gathering of about 100 people. “Thanks to the media
manipulation, we are seen now as the enemy.”
To understand Farrakhan’s turnaround, you need to keep in mind:
- His original comment was on a Friday.
- His “correction” was the next day, on Saturday.
- Two days later, Monday — was his Million Man March.
Farrakhan’s statement standing up for other minorities was a cynical move to
avoid bad press for his upcoming Million Man March in Washington.
So why did Farrakhan have it in for Palestinian Arabs?
By the early 1970s,
they owned nearly 20 percent of all small grocery and liquor stores in
Chicago, most located in African American communities, although Chicago’s
30,000 Palestinians represented less than 1 percent of the city’s
population. By the 1990s, Palestinians had maintained this niche, but they also
diversified into used-car dealerships,
gas stations, auto repair shops, ethnic stores, and fast-food
restaurants, remaining, however, primarily a community of small business entrepreneurs
serving mostly “minority” communities. According to the 1990 census, more
than 45 percent of employed Palestinians in the Chicago area worked in
retail trade. The second largest concentration—some 14 percent—were
As with Jews, Arab Christians, Italians and Asian-Americans, there were
Palestinian Arabs, too, who were store owners in Black communities.
This is not to minimize the problem of race relations or deny the validity of
alleged discrimination. But the knee-jerk reaction of Farrakhan to accuse such
a varied group of immigrants of being ‘bloodsuckers’ exploiting the Black
community reveals more about Farrakhan than it does about the various ethnic
groups he attacked.
Maybe that is why Farrakhan ended up focusing his hate on one group alone —