Dreams defended and deferred: the Brooklyn schools crisis of 1968 and Black Power's influence on Rabbi Meir Kahane.
In these volatile times, it was Black Power politics, "Black is Beautiful" affirmation, and Black-Jewish conflict that pushed Kahane to found the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in 1968 as an answer to Jewish assimilation and victimization, and he bequeathed to the world the still-current slogan "Never Again." Kahane explicitly modeled his "Jewish Panthers" on the Black Power movement, especially the Black Panthers, even as he ironically targeted Black Power activists and organizations before turning his attention to Soviet and Palestinian Arab foes. Kahane adopted not only the bravado and tactics of Black Power organizations, but he also adopted the goal of instilling pride in his people. Appropriating the slogan "Black is beautiful," Kahane repeatedly proclaimed, "Jewish is beautiful," and told young audiences "be proud that you're a Jew." (2) In 1971) Kahane cited instilling pride in young Jews as his foremost accomplishment. He recounted, "there were so many young Jews who were very envious of black soul, brothers and sisters, who yearned for it. So they tried to become black or they tried to become this or that. But they're not black; they are not this or that. They're Jews." (3) When asked directly if his tactics had been influenced by the success of Black militants, he replied: "Of course." (4)
In New York City the long simmering racial tensions centering on residential integration and desegregation of local schools in the 1960s had a series of broad-ranging and long-lasting effects. The Ocean Hill-Brownsville schools controversy of 1968 launched Kahane into political activism, first as the founder of the Jewish Defense League in Brooklyn, and later as a rightwing ultranationalist in Israel. The racial crisis in Brooklyn in the late 1960s fueled the Jewish settler movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the rise of the neoconservative movement in the United States. Kahane even instigated the firestorm that doomed Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign in 1984, and provoked Louis Farrakhan into making a series of antisemitic statements that made the leader of the Nation of Islam nationally notorious. Hence, the racial politics of the Civil Rights and Black Power eras in New York City's Jewish communities had lasting impacts for decades to come, and have lasted long after Kahane himself was slain by an assassin's bullets in 1990. (5)
There is a need for more thoughtful analysis of Kahane's ideas and influences. As Shaul Magid points out, Kahane admired Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and other Black Power icons, and like Malcolm X was slain by an assassin, but he is seldom studied in Jewish Studies programs, in contrast to Malcolm X's popularity in African American Studies courses. (6) Always an embarrassment to most American Jews, Kahane became a pariah to liberals when he moved to Israel, wrote a 1981 book advocating ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs entitled They Must Go, got his Kach party banned from the Israeli parliament in 1988 for inciting racism, and became increasingly messianic and apocalyptic. Unlike icons like Malcolm X or Che Guevara who were cut down in their prime, Kahane outlived his own peak in popularity and his reputation has suffered accordingly. With the ensuing lack of scholarly attention, few have noticed just how important the Black Power movement was to the formation of Kahane's "Jewish Panthers." (7) Drawing from newspaper accounts, archival research, and diverse secondary literatures, Kahane's rise was part of overlapping histories that are seldom considered together: the rise of spatial segregation in postwar New York City; thwarted struggles for educational integration; the Black Power movement, and the domestic racial tensions that led to the growth of Jewish militancy and neo-conservatism, both in the U.S. and Israel.
Integration of NYC Schools: A Dream Deferred
New York's education crisis was part and parcel of increasing deindustrialization and racial segregation that has been chronicled so ably by scholars such as Robert Caro, Arnold Hirsch, Jonathan Rieder, and Jerald Podair. (8) Whereas New York's older manufacturing sector, scattered amongst crowded tenements in midtown and downtown Manhattan, had readily absorbed thousands of white high school dropouts and unskilled workers each year before World War II, the new employment sectors after the war demanded greater educational attainment. Partially in response, New York more than quadrupled its spending on schools from 250 million dollars a year in 1948 to 1.1 billion dollars a year in 1965, even as the size of the student population remained relatively stable. (9) But the racial composition of New York's school children changed dramatically: by 1960 there were fewer than half a million white students in New York's public schools and 600,000 Blacks and Puerto Ricans. (10) The "minorities" were now in the majority.
Although New York's laws called for educational integration, in fact the city developed a two-tier, highly segregated school system. The schools that serviced students of color were far more overcrowded and employed a cohort of far less experienced teachers who typically transferred to majority white schools at the earliest opportunity. (11) The inequalities between Black and Puerto Rican schools and their white counterparts were stark. (12) With increasing residential segregation, the separation of the races in New York's public schools actually increased dramatically after the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling of 1954, with effectively segregated schools increasing from fifty-two in 1954 to two hundred and one in 1965. Yet despite such glaring inequalities, the New York school system was slow to address the problem with effective bussing or school building programs. Integration efforts faced stiff resistance from whites, and when the school district did announce the construction of two hundred and ten new schools to go up between 1965 and 1971, it became clear that sixty-two percent of them would be either all white or all Black, all Puerto Rican, or all Black and Puerto Rican. (13) White Jews were prominent among the opponents of forced desegregation plans, but they also constituted almost all of the white supporters of such plans. (14)
The leader of the fight to desegregate the New York public schools was Brooklyn's Reverend Milton Galamison, one of the only Black Presbyterian ministers in New York and a past head of the local NAACP, who began his integration crusade in 1960. Galamison believed that full integration was a necessary component of a quality education, and thought that involuntary bussing would be necessary to achieve the goal of having every school in New York reflect the racial demographics of the entire city. Rev. Galamison organized a series of boycotts of the schools, and forced the adoption of a variety of remedies, from bussing, to redrawing district lines, to pairing white and Black schools, only to see all of them defeated by organizations of white parents and teachers. (15)
On March 27, 1963, Galamison debated Malcolm X over the desirability of integration. Although they had differing views on the issue, they gained each other's respect, and over the course of the next year, as Malcolm became more interested in grassroots political action, he became more supportive of Galamison's efforts. (16) In December 1966, Black Brooklyn parents who had been not allowed to speak at a Board of Education meeting occupied the empty chairs of the board and formed their own "People's Board of Education,' with Galamison as president. (17) Reverend Galamison's brand of grassroots mass mobilizations and boycotts around the issue of improving education for Black New York City school students became one of the prime examples of what Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton defined as "Black power." Boards of education and police departments had to be challenged "forcefully and clearly," they wrote in their book Black Power in 1967. "If this means the creation of parallel community institutions, then that must be the solution. If this means that Black parents must gain control over the operation of schools in the Black community, then that must be the solution." (18)
Ocean Hill-Brownsville: Or Does it Explode?
After more than a decade of failed efforts to desegregate New York City's public schools, Black parents and teachers were increasingly frustrated at their stymied attempts to achieve integration. They blamed Black students' poor scholastic performances on white teachers' cultural insensitivity, low expectations, and sometimes, outright disrespect and even fear of Black students. By the middle of the decade, two streams of reform--decentralization and community control--came together to force a change in New York's underperforming and massively bureaucratic school system, which had 4,000 administrators at its headquarters at no Livingstone Street in downtown Brooklyn. (19)
With the failure of the Reverend Galamison's boycotts and previous efforts to achieve integration between 1960 and 1966, New York City School Superintendent Bernard Donovan, community representatives, teachers, and Ford Foundation personnel created a plan in 1967 for three experimental school districts composed of parents and local leaders with broad but poorly-defined control over curriculum, budget, and personnel. Although initially supportive, the community control plan quickly attracted the opposition of the United Federation of Teachers, which especially objected to its provisions for local control of personnel decisions. The local Ocean Hill-Brownsville planning council, which was comprised exclusively of community members, all of whom were African American, choose an administrator for the new experimental district, Rhody McCoy, a Howard University graduate who had served as a teacher and a principal in the New York public school system for the previous eighteen years. (20) McCoy also was associated with the Ford foundation, which brought down the condemnation of socialists who saw both the union and the experiment in "community control" as working against the interests of working class parents, or as being a phony" tactic that diverted attention from the community's longstanding demands for reform: more and newer schools, smaller classes, and more Black history in the curriculum. (21)
McCoy and the local Ocean Hill-Brownsville board decided it was their time to act on May 9, 1968, just a month after nationwide rebellions following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and following protests in Harlem over Columbia University's expansion plans. They sent letters announcing "termination of employment" to thirteen teachers, five assistant principals, and one principal. Many of the transferred were UFT leaders and all of whom were known opponents of community control. (22) When the transferred teachers, all but one of whom was white and most of whom were Jews, attempted to return to their old jobs on May 14, they found Black community members and teachers preventing their entry into local school JHS 271. A phalanx of police separated the two angry contingents. Superintendent Donovan prevailed upon McCoy to bring formal charges against the dismissed teachers, and their cases went into arbitration, while UFT President Shanker convinced Mayor Lindsay to provide police escorts for the teachers, who pushed their way into the schools through the human barricade of community supporters. In protest, the local board closed all the Ocean Hill-Brownsville schools, and the UFT responded by pulling all 350 of its members out of the experimental district on strike from May zz through the end of the school year. (23) In the UFT's opinion, the experimental district had violated the union's contract and undermined the civil service exam system that had provided upward mobility for so many union members. With the summer vacation, all parties had time to restock and dig in for the battle ahead. It would not be a restful break.
Kahane and the Beginning of the JDL
At the time the Ocean Hill-Brownsville conflict broke out in May 1968, thirty-five year old Meir Kahane prayed at the Orthodox Young Israel synagogue in Laurelton, Queens, one of the predominantly Jewish neighborhoods that would became mostly-minority in the next seven years. (24) His early career had been desultory. In the 1960s, Kahane earned a Modern Orthodox rabbinical ordination, got fired from several rabbinical jobs, covered the Yankees for a year as a reporter, abortively moved to Israel and returned unhappily, delivered newspapers, and wrote a column for Brooklyn's Jewish Press. He did not hit on a consistent way to make money until an old buddy from the militant, right wing Zionist youth group Betar turned him on to his contacts with the FBI and the CIA. As "Michael King," Kahane infiltrated the John Birch Society and later served as an informer against leftist groups, while also attempting to generate support for the Vietnam War among Orthodox Jews at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency. (25)
With the backdrop of the schools crisis, and with the aid of two friends, one of whom was a fellow graduate of Betar, Kahane planned the formation of a group he wanted to call the Jewish Defense Corps but settled on calling the Jewish Defense League ("given the present Jewish knee-jerk fear of anything sounding militant.") (26) These were violent, and trying times. Just after midnight on June 5, a twenty-four-year-old Jordanian named Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed leading Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy as he was leaving the stage at the Ambassador Hotel in San Francisco, apparently in retaliation for Kennedy's support for the State of Israel. Kahane held the first meeting of the Jewish Defense Corps/League on June 18, 1968 at the West Side Jewish Center, 347 West 34th Street, in Manhattan.
Kahane shaped the JDL into a direct continuation of the ideology and methods of the right wing "Revisionist" Zionist youth group Betar and its leader, the Odessa-born Jewish militant Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky (1880-1940). (27) Kahane had been born in 1932 in Flatbush, Brooklyn to a father who had been born in Safed, Palestine, part of a Zionist family that had ventured there from Galicia in 1873. (28) The Kahanes lost five members of their family in an Arab attack in Palestine in 1936, and his father Charles was a member of Jabotinsky's militant Revisionist movement. Jabotinsky himself visited the Kahane home when Meir was four years old, and his father helped to fund some of his activities. (29) Meir Kahane, who had undergone his first arrest at the age of fifteen while taking part in a violent protest with his Betar youth group, thoroughly imbibed his father's Jabotinskian ethos that Jewish lives and turf needed to be protected by militarism if necessary, even if those means appeared to violate Jewish religious ethics. (30) Kahane approvingly cited Jabotinsky's maxim that Jews had studied their religious texts for centuries, but that they now "must learn to shoot." (31)
Kahane instituted an "Affirmation" for all new members of the JDL that evoked Jabotinskian ideals, and included the Betar song, penned by Jabotinsky himself, as part of the JDL's initiation ceremonies. (32) "With love of my people and pride in my heritage," new recruits to the JDL pledged, "I hereby affirm my readiness to sacrifice my time, my energy and my very being for their defense. I affirm my total allegiance to the instrument of that defense, the JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE." The JDL's pledge reflected Kahane's intention to create a quasi-military organization, with a hierarchical chain of command. "I affirm my allegiance to the group, to my brothers and sisters and to my commanders, his followers recited. "I accept total discipline to their commands with faith in their judgment, their aims and their ability. I pledge my people to be faithful to their survival. NEVER AGAIN!" (33)
The JDL also drew inspiration by opposing Black nationalists, while imitating their rhetoric and some of their tactics. As Village Voice journalist Robert I. Friedman has put it, in its founding days the organization was little more than an anti-Black protest movement...." (34) Formed during the start of the school strikes in May 1968, the JDL's first action was against a member of the African-American Teachers Association (ATA), John Hatchett, who was fired from his teaching job for taking students to a memorial program for Malcolm X, and then became head of NYU's new Afro-American student center student center in July 1968. Hatchett had earned the ire of the JDL by writing an article in the November-December issue of Forum, the official publication of the ATA, claiming that Jews dominated the New York City school system and, along with their deracinated "Black Anglo-Saxon" collaborators, "educationally castrated" Black children. (35) Hatchett's self-defense that he was not anti-Semitic because his family's physician, dentist, and lawyer were all Jews did little to quiet the ensuing controversy. (36)
Having begun demonstrating with its protests of NYU's hiring of Hatchett, the JDL "began to throw itself seriously and concretely into the struggle to protect Jewish rights as the 1968 teachers' strike dragged New York City and the Jews through an agony of hate that in no way ended with the formal conclusion of the strike," as Kahane himself described it. (37) With their intimidating physical presence and willingness to be abrasive and confrontational, Kahane's Jewish Defense League both formed the core of the most vocal and violent opponents of the Black community control and also began its use of vigilante violence during the crisis to combat what it perceived as blatant anti-Semitism. (38)
Black Anti-Semitism & Jewish Racism
Ocean Hill-Brownsville Administrator Rhody McCoy, for his part, vowed that none of the 350 teachers who had left their posts in solidarity with their union mates would ever work in his district again, and re-staffed his schools with a mixture of experienced teachers, idealistic civil rights activists, and recent graduates of elite universities. When the classes recommenced after Labor Day, the UFT went on a series of three strikes from September 9 to November 18 that were incredibly acrimonious and polarized many New Yorkers along racial lines. When the first strike ended on September n, McCoy arranged for a "orientation session" for returning UFT teachers in the auditorium of a local school in which about fifty community members, some wearing bandoliers and carrying sticks, surrounded the teachers, threw bullets at them, and threatened to carry them out "in pine boxes." McCoy watched the scene impassively, before ordering teachers to report to their schools. At JHS 271, students attacked the returning UFT teachers, who had to be locked inside a classroom and rescued by the police. (39)
Supporters of community control viewed the union's actions and their use of police power against the express wishes of the local Black community to be racist, while the union attempted to frame the issue as one of working rights and union solidarity. It did not take long, however, for Albert Shanker and the union to reach for a hot button issue in an attempt to sway public opinion: the public airing of anti-Semitic views in Black communities during the strike. In a September 16th television interview, union president Albert Shanker claimed that "some element of anti-Semitism was involved" in the dispute, noting that 18 of the 19 reassigned teachers and principals were Jews. (40) The UFT, whose members were two-thirds Jewish, got the most mileage from reproducing and distributing two different leaflets found in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville district on the same piece of paper demanding Black control of Black schools in incendiary and sometimes anti-Semitic terms. One leaflet placed in mailboxes at JHS 271 referred to Jews as the "Middle East Murderers of Colored People," and claimed that only African Americans could raise the self-esteem of Black children. The flyer accused the "So-Called Liberal Jewish Friend" of being responsible for the "Serious Educational Retardation Of Our Black Children." Jews, the anonymous author contended, were "Unfit By Tradition And By Inclination To Do Even An Adequate Job." (41)
The UFT's actions in circulating the flyers soon got the union accused of demagoguery, intentionally stirring up hysteria, and McCarthyism by Ira Glasser, the associate director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, as well as many critics on the left. "If the New York City school strike proved anything, it proved that racism within the ranks of the UFT is the problem, not black anti-Semitism," wrote Black activist Julius Lester. (42) By December, Shanker was admitting it was a mistake to circulate the flyers and astute observers were noting that the flyers were attributed to a nonexistent community council. (43) "If black anti-Semitism did not exist, it would have to be invented," Todd Gitlin wrote in the alternative press in the middle of the controversy, "so that the strike could be clothed as a holy crusade." (44) Whether genuine or merely agitation, the UFT-broadcast flyers did their damage, and the experiment in Black community control of the schools was seen as anti-Semitic by many. At the same time, critics viewed as racist the union's opposition to community control and Shanker's frequent reference to his Black opponents as "the mob" "extremists" and even as "Nazis." (45)
In the wake of the flyer controversy, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville governing board issued a statement condemning and disavowing anti-Semitism, and noted that approximately seventy percent of the replacement teachers it had hired were white, including forty percent who were white Jews. (46) Leaders and teachers in the experimental district disavowed anti-Semitism and suspended classes in observation of Rosh Hashona. (47) Whitney Young, head of the National Urban League, followed writer James Baldwin in arguing that Jews were not singled out for black antipathy because they were Jews but because they were whites, whose presence in ghetto institutions bred resentment. (48) Baldwin borrowed the title from his influential 1967 New York Times essay "Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They Are Anti-White" from a study by the Anti Defamation League, and indeed a number of studies by the ADL and the American Jewish Congress consistently showed that blacks as a whole were less anti-Semitic than non-Jewish whites. (49) A group of recently hired Ocean Hill-Brownsville teachers published an ad in the New York Times condemning anti-Semitism and declaiming any connection to the anti-Semitic literature that had appeared during the strike, while a group calling itself Jewish Teachers for Community Control called the origins of the incendiary flyers "dubious," and proclaimed that "community control is not an anti-Semitic plot." (50)
Yet as so often happens, cooler heads did not prevail. Some Black protestors called striking teachers names like "Jew pig" while Black and white teachers who crossed the UFT picket lines to teach in the community-controlled schools during the strikes received hate mail with messages like "Communist Traitor," and "Nigger Lover." (51) Despite official disavowals, small amounts of anti-Semitism and racism captured the headlines and colored perceptions of the conflict. Some Ocean Hill-Brownsville supporters carried signs that were clearly anti-Semitic, with messages such as You will all make good lampshades!" and "Jews get out of Pahstine [sic]. It's not your home anyway! Moses was the first traitor and Hitler was the Messiah!" (52)
Outer-borough Jewish opponents of community control also shocked the city with their own breaches of propriety. On October 15, Mayor John Lindsay visited the East Midwood Jewish Center in Brooklyn, a Conservative synagogue in Flatbush, and met a furious crowd of Jews who shouted him down when he discussed the school strike and said that both sides were guilty of "acts of vigilantism." The crowd was so disrespectful--the New York Times reported that their bitterness confronted the mayor "like a wall,"--that the rabbi, Harry Halpern, rebuked them, saying, "Is this the exemplification of the Jewish faith? to which they responded, to his surprise, "Yes! Yes!" (53) Photographs of the event show the grim-faced mayor, lips pursed, staring at the ground, with a large yarmulka tented forlornly on top of his head.
Three days after Mayor Lindsay escaped the East Midwood Jewish Center as the angry crowd rained down blows on his car, American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith mounted the medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics with fists raised in gloved Black Power salutes, giving the world a new iconic image of the Black rebellion. In light of the ongoing war in Vietnam, the strike in Brooklyn took on international dimensions: a writer for the radical Berkeley Barb favorably compared Blacks battling the UFT and the police in Brooklyn to the Viet Cong fighting American marines in Vietnam. (54)
The Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis and disputes over public housing, crime, and an epic garbage strike proved to be debilitating to the national political viability of one of the last liberal Republicans with an actual shot at the presidency. New York's Jewish voters in particular were said to react most strongly against what they viewed as Lindsay's "'soft' attitude toward blacks," and when Lindsay ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, he confronted "anger and resentment, from transplanted northern Jewish voters in South Miami Beach. He finished a disappointing fifth in the Democratic primary in Florida after New Yorkers heckled him on the campaign trail in Miami. (55) Although he stayed in the race for one more primary, Lindsay's electoral battering in Florida doomed his candidacy.
The schools crisis also sparked another militant movement with international ramifications. Two weeks after the show of defiance at the East Midwood Jewish Center, Kahane staged what he called his "first JDL-type action"--that is, its first use of vigilante tactics--on the night of Halloween 1968, at the old Jewish Montefiore cemetery in Springfield Gardens, Queens, a once heavily Jewish neighborhood that was progressively becoming the home of more people of color. It was there, the previous year, that a group of Black young people had partied and vandalized a number of grave markers. (56) That night a band of JDL toughs armed with sticks and knives repelled a group of Black youth heading towards the cemetery carrying bottles of wine. A new era of American Jewish militancy had begun. Coincidentally, the newer Montefiore cemetery twenty-one miles east on Long Island in the town of West Babylon was the place that Kahane's hero Ze'ev Jabotinsky was interned when he passed away while visiting a Betar summer camp in New York State in 1940. It was the very same trip when he had visited the Kahane home in Flatbush. (57) Amazingly, the cemetery where the foremost advocate of Jewish violence was buried was the extension of the cemetery where Kahane's campaign of Jewish violence was born.
The New York City teachers' strikes of the fall of 1968 came to an end on November 17 after thirty-seven days, when a New York Appellate court affirmed a lower court's ruling that the demonstration principal appointments were indeed illegal. (58) At Albert Shanker's insistence, Mayor Lindsay gave in and the school system suspended four of the eight Ocean Hill-Brownsville demonstration principals, along with the local board, whose members were banned from even visiting any of the local schools. Throughout the negotiations, neither the union nor the municipal or state officials treated the local board members as equals, and the local board lost on every issue. The Mayor's office "was now prepared to endure a race riot rather than another teachers' strike," one observer noted. "Ocean Hill's last leverage was gone." (59) Even though the crisis was over, the wounds it opened would only deepen.
On the day after Christmas at the end of one of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history, leaders of the African American Teachers Association appeared on the local radio program of Black activist Julius Lester. At Lester's insistence, one of the ATA leaders read a poem called "Anti-Semitism" written by a student, Thea Behran, which was dedicated to Albert Shanker:
Hey, Jew boy, with that yarmulke on your head You pale-faced Jew boy--I wish you were dead. I can see you Jew boy--no you can't hide. I got a scoop on you--yeah, you gonna die. (60)
The poem was adolescent, yet expressive of pure fury, both knowledgeable and contemptuous of Jewish sensitivities. The poet may have been an eighth grader, but she was acutely aware of Jewish fears. Only two decades after the Holocaust, at a time when the American Jewish community was still learning how to deal with its psychological horrors, and legacies of the Holocaust, the poet announced, "I'm sick of your stuff."
Every time I turn 'round--you pushin' my ear into the ground I'm sick of hearing about your suffering in Germany I'm sick about your escape from tyranny. (61)
Hitler's reign had lasted only fifteen years, the poet noted, whereas African slavery in the Americas lasted four hundred. The poet claimed that Jewish Israelis "hated the Black Arabs with all their might," and that Jews had come to America, "land of the free/ And took over the school system to perpetuate white supremacy." (62) The only reason European-descended Jews had "made it" in America was that they were white, according to Behran. All of this would have been infuriating to most white Jews, but there was more. According to the author of the infamous "Anti-Semitism" poem, white Jews had stolen their religion just like they had stolen the land of Israel. "Jew boy, you took my religion and adopted it for you/ But you know that Black people were the original Hebrews." (63) In the heated atmosphere of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville teachers' strike, the assertion that white Jews had usurped original Black Hebrews was part of the most powerful, and most notorious, anti-Jewish statement to be produced during the crisis. One did not have to be a Black Jew to believe this basic Black Israelite teaching. (64)
Black Power's Influence on Kahane
Kahane admired the Black Panthers above all other Black militant groups. After the first successful use of vigilantes to repel African Americans who were encroaching upon the Jewish Montefiore cemetery during the schools controversy, the JDL instituted regular patrols of older formerly majority Jewish neighborhoods, in direct imitation of the style, outfits, and tactics of Oakland, California's Black Panther Party, which began tailing police officers in 1966. Like the Panthers, the JDL wore black leather jackets and black berets, with round white buttons on their lapels and on their berets with the black line drawing of their organization--in their case, a Jewish star with a clenched first rather than a coiled Black panther, but the fist itself had become emblematic of Black Power. (65)
The JDL leader shared the most philosophically with Malcolm X. Kahane claimed that nonviolence came from Gandhi, Christianity, and Quakerism, and was therefore culturally alien to a pre-exilic Jewish identity, which he associated with ancient Israelite military feats of Massada, the Bar Kochba revolt, and Judah Maccabee--a litany of past glory that Ze'ev Jabotinsky and his followers had used to inspire contemporary Zionist militarism. (66) "I believe there is an obligation on our part to those poor Jews, to those oppressed Jews, to go and help them in whatever manner is necessary," Kahane stated in a television interview, clearly referencing Malcolm X's famous maxim that Blacks ought to achieve freedom "by any means necessary." (67)
On more than one occasion, Kahane connected the use of violence to the JDL's "mystique." "We've got the boys. And we've got the honor and the pride," Kahane said. "We have in effect got the mystique which tells the anti-Semite that if he wants to start with me or with other people or with JDL, he's really starting up with the wrong Jew." (68) Like Malcolm X and other Black Power militants, Kahane rejected the path of nonviolence as a symptom of historic oppression. "To turn the other cheek is of course in the Bible," he said wryly, "but you've been reading the wrong Bible. Jewish sources have a very definite place in the use of force. Violence is always bad, but many times necessary, and therefore I believe has a place." (69) Much as Malcolm X rejected nonviolence as part of the passive docility of the contemporary equivalent of the "House Negroes" who allegedly were slavish in their imitation of their white masters, Kahane rejected nonviolence as derived from "the horror of the ghetto with its fears, neuroses, and insecurities." (70) Just as Malcolm X spoke derisively of Uncle Toms, Kahane called Jews who wished to assimilate "Uncle Irvings" or "Uncle Jakes" or "the American Occasional Jew." (71)
The JDL emulated Black Power cultural consciousness, not only Black Power militancy. Kahane believed that it was essential to give young Jews pride in their heritage, and formulated a list of five principles with Hebrew names not unlike those of his inspiration, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, or those of the Black consciousness movement formulated by Amiri Baraka and Maulana Karenga, two advocates of Black cultural nationalism and leaders of the Black Power movement. Kahane's principals were: Ahavat Yisroel, love of Jewry, Hadar, dignity and pride, Barzel, iron, toughness, Mishmaat Yisroel, Jewish discipline and unity, and Bitachon, faith in the indestructibility of the Jewish people. (72) It was a list that overlapped, in content and spirit, with the principles that Karenga and Baraka articulated for their own movement, using Swahili rather than Hebrew concepts: Kujichagulia, self-determination, Ujima, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, Nia, purpose, Kuumba, creativity, and Imani, faith. (73) In this and other ways, Kahane looked to the Black consciousness movement as an inspiration for Jewish consciousness raising.
We [the JDL] believe, after six million dead Jews, that before you can have love you must have respect. And one does not get respect unless one has self respect. And that means that just as other ethnic groups say 'this or that is beautiful,' well, that's beautiful--Black is beautiful for Blacks. That's great. Well, Jewish is beautiful, and primary, for Jews. (74)
Opponents even called the JDL "Jewish Panthers" and "Jewish Weathermen," (which was ironic, given that Mark Rudd, founder of the terroristic Weathermen, was Jewish). (75) They were comparisons, in any case, that Kahane disputed but encouraged for public consumption in order to build the "mystique" of his organization. There was more than a little coyness in Kahane's performance in an interview with the New York Times when he claimed that it was Black militants who bestowed the title "Jewish Panthers" on the JDL. "So we have a mystique--Jewish Panthers," Kahane said. "We never deny that, even though it's not true. We don't want to deny that. If the Panthers think we're Panthers, so, beautiful. It helps Jews." (76) In an era of Jewish concern over Black militarism, the name actually hurt them with fundraising among the Jewish middle class, according to Kahane. Jewish nationalists like Kahane and the JDL shared much of the worldviews and tactics of the Black Power advocates whom they opposed; theirs was not a conflict born of miscommunication or misunderstanding.
For Kahane there was admiration as well as appropriation behind his borrowing of Black Power and Black is Beautiful philosophies and tactics. Kahane disavowed racism even though his actions were condemned by many as racist, and he counted racists among his supporters. Kahane defended Blacks' right to move into white neighborhoods, condemned Jewish racism, believed that Jews and Blacks had a common enemy among white anti-Semites, and sought to temper anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism. "The danger to the Jew in this country does not come from blacks," he bluntly declared in 1971. "That's nonsense. It comes from the whites.... I think the man who complains about blacks moving into his neighborhood is wrong." (77) When he recounted the confrontation between the JDL and CORE leader Sonny Carson, he switched over to Black slang, saying "Sonny, baby, you gonna get out? Or do we have to cut you up?" It was tough talk, backed by fifteen JDL members ready for violence, to which Sonny, allegedly, immediately responded, "Now man, now sit down, let's talk." (78) Kahane proudly portrayed himself as a jive-talking Jew.
Although it moved on to targeting Soviet diplomats and Arab-American agencies in New York, at its start the Jewish Defense League's primary opponents were Black Power activists. On January zz, 1969, Rabbi Kahane and the JDL successfully requested a Brooklyn State Supreme Court judge order the Board of Education to show why ATA leaders Albert Vann and Leslie Campbell should not be dismissed. (79)
Soon thereafter, Julius Lester had another radio program to discuss the controversy surrounding the previous month's airing of the poem "Anti-Semitism," and Tyrone Woods, representing a group called "Concerned Parents and Students of Bedford-Stuyvesant" used the airwaves to declare that Jewish claims to identify with Blacks were bogus, because "what Hitler did to six million Jews isn't nothing, in terms of what has been done to Black folks over hundreds of years," citing the millions of Africans killed in King Leopold's Belgian Congo or in the course of the slave trade. With a kind of flourish, he added: "As far as I'm concerned, more power to Hitler. Hitler didn't make enough lampshades out of them. He didn't make enough belts out of them." (80)
Jew vs. Jew
The ensuing controversy demonstrated the divide between liberal Jews and right wing Jews. The Jewish Defense League responded to the WBAI controversy with legal maneuvers and angry and violent protests. JDL toughs chased ATA representative Leslie Campbell and his bodyguard off the stage at an appearance at Rochdale Village, Queens, where Kahane worked as a rabbi. Like Laurelton and several other Queens neighbor hoods where the JDL found support, Rochdale Village was an integrated neighborhood that was rapidly shifting from being majority white to majority Black. (81) On January 26, fifty JDL protestors picketed WBAI while Kahane held a meeting with the station manager demanding that the station cancel Lester's show. (82) On the other hand, the president of WBAI was none other than attorney Robert Goodman, the father of the murdered civil rights worker Andrew Goodman who became, in death, one of the most famous martyrs of the Southern phase of the civil rights movement and a symbol of Jewish involvement in that cause. Even in the face of Woods' and the ATA's airing of explicitly anti-Semitic views, Goodman kept faith with his family's liberal principles and asserted that rather than silencing such views, WBAI's position was "that the practice of freedom of expression, the process of full discussion, open to all, involves some risks to the society that practices it. But the stakes are high and the risks must be run." (83)
The opposition between leftist Jews and the JDL was never clearer than when the two groups faced off in noisy protests and counter-protests outside the WBAI studios the next time that Julius Lester broadcast, on January 30, 1969, hurling insults at each. As hundreds of protestors made a noisy commotion outside the WBAI studios on the night of January 30, 1:969, Lester explained Black anti-Jewish speech without endorsing it by stating that there was a categorical difference between Middle Eastern or European anti-Semitism and "Black anti-Semitism, if it can be called that." That difference was based on Black powerlessness: "if black people had the capability of organizing and carrying out a program against the Jews, then there would be quite a bit to fear," he said. "Black people do not have that capability. Not only do blacks not have the capability, I doubt very seriously if blacks even have the desire." (84) Lester then stated, portentously, that, "in America, it is we who are the Jews. It is we who are surrounded by a hostile majority. It is we who are constantly under attack. There is no need for Black people to wear yellow Stars of David on their sleeves; that Star of David is all over us." (85) Fittingly, perhaps, Lester himself would go on to convert to Judaism.
As Lester was broadcasting these words, the police made their first arrest of a JDL member. (86) It would be the first of many to come. In coming years, the JDL's membership topped 10,000, although it declined when Kahane emigrated to Israel in 1971, taking his violent rhetoric and tactics with him, and the organization had less than 1,000 members by 1985. (87) Kahane and other lower-middle class white Jews did not concede their place as oppressed, let alone Jews, and took issue both with the idea that Blacks were powerless to systematically harm Jews or that white Jews ought to expend their energies in trying to support Black civil rights. Kahane referred to the relatively well off Jews of places like Forest Hills, Queens, whom he referred to contemptuously as "those sleek and contented ones who had turned a deaf ear to the cries of the South Bronx and Brownsville while fighting for Black rights in South Mississippi ... " (88)
On February 25, 1969, Kahane and JDL members seized control of the Board of Education's meeting room, using the exact same tactic that Reverend Galamison and Black Brooklyn parents had used in forming a "People's Board of Education" two years before. (89) On May 9, 1969, the JDL linked itself to Black militants once again by forming a bat and pipe-wielding gauntlet outside Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan and threatening to break the legs of Black activist James Forman, who was scheduled to appear to state his case for reparations from churches and synagogues to atone for Black slavery and oppression. (90) Taking another page from the rhyming militant mottos of Black Power advocates, Kahane's new slogan in 1971 was, "every Jew a .22." Reprising his hero Jabotinsky's maxim that it was time for Jews to learn to shoot, Kahane wrote that if Jewish neighborhoods were considered easy targets for criminals because Jews were thought not to own weapons, it was time for Jews to arm themselves. (91)
The schools crisis demonstrated that not only liberal, reform-minded Jews and Jewish institutions now found themselves opposing Black causes; there was also a significant Jewish backlash by more religiously-observant and more politically-conservative lower middle class white Jews--exactly the populations of Jews that lived in closest proximity to African Americans and felt themselves most economically imperiled by community control's challenge to union jobs. When liberal Reform Jews such as Rabbi Eisendrath of one of the wealthiest synagogues in New York, Temple Emanu-El, condemned the JDL's use of "goon squads" and compared its tactics to those of the KKK, Kahane replied that Eisendrath did not speak for the Jew of the troubled neighborhoods where he did not live and which he had not seen in years." (92) Those who had to endure crime and the fear of crime in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Brownsville, and Crown Heights welcomed the JDL, Kahane claimed. Eisendrath "certainly did not speak for the threatened Jewish teachers, students, and civil servants, for the little Jew, the lower-and middle-class Jews," in Kahane's phrase. (93) Instead, affluent liberal Jews lived in their own secure "gilded ghettos," Kahane alleged, insulated from the suffering of poorer communities and what he called the "nightmare of Brooklyn Jewish neighborhoods," chasing what he believed to be the vainglorious dream of assimilation with wealthy white gentiles. (94)
Kahane's perception of the classed nature of the Jewish backlash against Black Power was widely shared: Dr. Marvin Schick, a young Orthodox leader, reported that poorer Jews who still lived in or near majority Black ghettos had had personal experience with "Negro crime and juvenile delinquency." "They may be wrong, but they fear for their own safety," he concluded. (95) Class resentments permeated New York's outer borough Jewish communities, after decades of watching Black and Puerto Rican communities spread in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, and concerted efforts on the part of many middle class Jews to avoid integration with Black and Puerto Rican students in schools. As one politician remarked of wealthier Jews in Riverdale, "they can afford their liberalism. They are so far away from all the problems." (96) Such mainstream and even left wing organizations as the American Jewish Congress opposed school desegregation in the years before the decentralization battle, and the Anti-Defamation League had determined that many civil rights leaders were irresponsible "extremists" by the early 1960s: both Kahane and Shanker's rhetoric and opposition to community control had wide support in New York's Jewish communities. (97)
Tellingly, the author of the infamous "Hey, Jew boy, with that yarmulke on your head" poem had targeted not the radical Jews who had registered voters in the South and accepted positions in the community-controlled schools, but rather the poet singled out religiously-observant Jews, Jewish supporters of the State of Israel, and the Jewish narrative of suffering during the Holocaust. Black radicals' use of anti-Jewish rhetoric had semiotic and psychological rewards for Black radicals. Those who used such rhetoric wished to assert their militancy and independence from what they viewed as the paternalistic relationship between Blacks and Jews in prior years. Yet Black expressions of anti-Jewish beliefs had even greater impact for their opponents in the teachers' union and the JDL. Shanker and the UFT leveraged fears of Black anti-Semitism against the local board and rode the ensuing strike victory to local and national prominence. (98)
From the Outer Boroughs to the West Bank
The territorial struggles between African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and white Jews in Brooklyn neighborhoods in the sixties had an unlikely impact half the world away by strengthening the Israeli settler movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with settlers, smuggled arms, terrorist strikes, theological justifications, and a potent narrative of victimization. Many local Brooklyn Orthodox rabbis considered Israel's victory in the 1967 war to have been divinely ordained, and considered the idea of returning any of the seized Palestinian territory to be blasphemous, referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by their Biblical names, Judea and Samaria. (99)
Brooklyn Jews who experienced their displacement from neighborhoods such as Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Crown Heights as dispossession and victimization vowed that they would never again be displaced from territory they considered to be theirs. Some even compared the still-white neighborhoods along the south shore of Brooklyn to be geographically, racially, and strategically imperiled, as was the state of Israel, hugging the coast of the Mediterranean and surrounded by hostile neighbors. "We're finished here in Brooklyn, I tell you," one man stated. "It's like we're the Israelis. They are surrounded by fifty million Arabs, they have to fight, but there's no place to retreat. Their back is against the wall. Well the white middle class in Canarsie is up against the same wall." (100)
Orthodox Brooklyn Jews formed the backbone of the Jewish settlement movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; by one estimate, one quarter of all the American Jews immigrating to Israel in the early 1990s were Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn; many more American Jews studied in yeshivas located in the Palestinian territories seized in 1967. (101) Brooklyn Jews applied lessons in violence that they learned in New York City street fights to the exotic locales of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Hundreds of young Jews received training in martial arts and weaponry in JDL summer camps, and applied those skills first on the streets of Brooklyn, and later, in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Kahane's antagonistic attraction to African American radicals continued in Israel as in Brooklyn. Some of his first political actions in Israel were actually directed at opposing the Black Hebrews. By far the most influential of all the sixties' Black Israelite sects, the Black Hebrews, or the Original African Hebrew Israelite Nation, had grown out of the A-Beta Center on Chicago's South Side, and migrated to Liberia in 1967 before emigrating to Israel in 1969. (102) The group's leader Ben Ammi claimed that the land of Israel belonged to his group, and made incendiary statements such as, "we will push all white Jews in the lake." (103) Such intentionally provocative statements led to protests against the Black Hebrews organized by none other than Meir Kahane, who had immigrated to Israeli in 1971. Once again, in Israel as in Brooklyn, it was Black-Jewish conflict that helped to launch Kahane's activist career. (104)
Meir Kahane brought with him to Israel the confrontational style and advocacy of violence born in the pressure-cooker atmosphere and Black-Jewish tensions of the Brooklyn schools strike. He quickly founded the Kach party, which gained a reputation for advocating extreme solutions to Israel's problems, including, most notoriously, the forcible "transfer," or ethnic cleansing, of all Arabs from Israel as well as the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In 1974 Kahane called for creation of a "worldwide, Jewish anti-terror group" that would "spread fear and shatter the souls" of Israel's Arabs, forcing them to flee for their lives. (105) According to Israeli police, the following year he began to do just that, founding an underground anti-Arab terrorist network called the TNT, which staged dozens of bloody raids against West Bank Arabs in the next few years. (106) He also founded an organization in the seventies called Save Our Israel Land (SOIL), to oppose the return of any of the territory Israel seized during the Six Day War. JDL member Michael Fitzpatrick bombed a Chelsea, New York City bookstore that sold Communist literature in 1976, then became an FBI informant and infiltrated SOIL. He wore a wire and helped to make a case against SOIL and JDL member Victor Vancier, who was convicted of plotting to bomb the Egyptian Tourist Office in Manhattan and later confessed to eleven other bombings of Egyptian targets along the East Coast of the U.S. (107)
Kahane and other nationalist Brooklyn Jews continued to be involved in American politics in both overt and covert fashions. In 1979, Kahane called for the creation of another underground terrorist organization in America that would "quietly and professionally eliminate those modern day Hitlers ... that threaten our very existence." (108) In 1984, after the Anti Defamation League attacked civil rights advocate and presidential candidate Jesse Jackson as an anti-Semite, Kahane set up a front group called "Jews Against Jackson" to harass the candidate during the remainder of his campaign. In a Manhattan press conference, Kahane called Jackson "a vicious fraud" and a "Jew hater" and held noisy demonstrations outside of his campaign events, while his followers made over a hundred threats on Jackson's life. (109) On January 25, 1984, Jackson called New York "Hymietown" in an off-the-record conversation that an African American Washington Post reporter publicized. Provoked by JDL threats on Jackson's life, Minister Louis Farrakhan, who reconstituted the Nation of Islam in 1978, made a variety of provocative statements that Jews of European descent almost universally saw as anti-Semitic. The ensuing controversy effectively torpedoed Jackson's presidential campaign, and Farrakhan became one of the most divisive figures in America. (110) Meanwhile, Fitzgerald, the JDF and SOIF member turned FBI informant, spent many years in the FBI's witness protection program before emerging in 1995 as the former lover and lead witness against Qubilah Shabazz, estranged daughter of Malcolm X's and Betty Shabazz, whom a Federal jury convicted in a plot to kill Farrakhan in retaliation for the death of her father. (111) First with Farrakhan and then with Shabazz, Kahane and his JDL followers proved adept at ensnaring the associates of the very Black militant who had most inspired them: Malcolm X.
In Israel, Kahane became the most prominent advocate of religious extremist violence, and was elected to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in 1984, although his advocacy of forcibly expelling Arab residents got his Kach party banned from the Israeli parliament for advocating racism in 1988. (112) In 1990, on a visit back to New York, Kahane himself was assassinated by an Egyptian militant who was later connected to the first World Trade Center bombing plot in 1993 organized by Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman. The following year, Baruch Goldstein, a Brooklyn-born former JDL member who had become a physician, a West Bank settler, a Kach party member, and a major in the Israeli Defense Force's active reserve, killed between twenty-nine and fifty-two Muslim worshippers at prayer in the town of Hebron, a massacre that resulted in both Israel and the United States deeming Kach a terrorist group. (113)
Dreams Defended and Deferred
The squelched aspirations for racial integration of the New York City Public schools begat a schools crisis with vitriol directed at all parties from all sides. As such, the deferred dreams of African American students and parents for racial integration of public schools led to other dreams defended and deferred, as Rabbi Meir Kahane joined some of the style, rhetoric, philosophy, and tactics of Black Power militants to the militancy of Revisionist Zionism. It is highly significant that the foremost proponent of Jewish ultra-nationalist anti-Arab violence began his political movement with the backdrop of Black-Jewish neighborhood conflict and the Brooklyn schools crisis of 1968, and indeed modeled himself on the very Black Power radicals whom he saw as his opponents. In addition to suggesting the depths of fear and militancy of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis, it also provides an object lesson in how conflicts can travel unexpected paths and have surprising ramifications. The New York schools controversies of the 1960s helped transform the most popular athlete in the world from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, gave Stokely Carmichael a concrete illustration of his neologism "Black Power," birthed the Jewish Defense League and its popular slogan "Never Again!", helped marginalize the liberal wing of the Republican party, and helped produce Jewish neoconservatives and the rightward tilt of U.S. politics since. (114) It also inspired many of the rabbis and foot soldiers in the Jewish settler movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a key sticking point in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to this day. As such, the conflicts, the admiration, the enmity, and the appropriation between African Americans and Jews in 1968 Brooklyn had local, national, and global impacts that were both unforeseeable and immense, leading to dreams both defended and deferred.
(1.) Walter Goodman, "'I'd Love to See the J.D.L. Fold Up. But--': Rabbi Kahane says: ... New York Times Magazine (Nov. 21, 1971): 32, 33, 115-119, 121, 122
(2.) Goodman, " 'I'd Love to See the J.D.L. Fold Up. But'"--33.
(3.) Idem., 122.
(4.) Idem., 116.
(5.) While the Civil Rights Movement burst into national consciousness with the success of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, most scholars connect the start of the Black Power movement to the James Meredith march across the state of Mississippi of 1966. There is debate about both labels and their periodization. See, among others: Stokley Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation (New York: Random House, 1967); Peniel E. Joseph, Waiting 'Til The Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America (New York: Henry Holt, 2006), 226-7; Rhonda Y. Williams, Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (London: Routledge, 2014). On Jackson and Farrakhan, see footnote 95.
(6.) Shaul Magid, "Why be Jewish?: Intermarriage, Meir Kahane, and the Contemporary Jewish Dilemma." Lecture, New York University, New York City, May 7, 2014.
(7.) On the making of global icons, see: Jeremy Prestholdt, Icons of Dissent: The Global Resonance of Che, Marley, Tupac, and Bin Laden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
(8.) Robert A. Caro, The Powerbroker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (New York: Knopf, 1974); Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Jonathan Rieder, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985); Wendell Pritchett, Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews, and the Changing Face of the Ghetto (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2.002); Jerald E. Podair, The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).
(9.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 14.
(10.) Jane Anna Gordon, Why They Couldn't Wait: A Critique of the Black-Jewish Conflict Over Community Control in Ocean Hill-Brownsville (1967-1971) (New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2001), 32. See also: Glen Anthony Harris, The Ocean Hill Brownsville Conflict: Intellectual Struggles Between Blacks and Jews at Mid-Century (New York: Lexington Books, 2012).
(11.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 16-17.
(12.) Gordon, Why They Couldn't Wait, 32.
(13.) Idem., 34.
(14.) David Rogers, no Livingston Street (New York: Random House, 1968), 147.
(15.) Clarence Taylor, Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton A. Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 2.4-6.
(16.) It was also this televised debate that brought Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam their most prized convert: young boxer Cassius Clay, who took the name Muhammad Ali. Joseph, Waiting 'Til The Midnight Hour, 97.
(17.) Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Tower: The Politics of Liberation in America ( New York: Vintage Books, 1992), 170; Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 72;
(18.) Ture and Hamilton, Black Power, 43.
(19.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 82-86, 145-7; Gordon, Why They Couldn't Wait, 7-24.
(20.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 3-4, 85.
(21.) The Progressive Labor Party, "Racist NY School Walkout Aids Rulers," Challenge 5 no. 7 (1968), 2; Debby Israel, The New York City Teacher's Strike, ipp. in Gordon Fellman Papers, Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections, Brandeis University.
(22.) Idem., 2; Stefan M. Bradley, Harlem v. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s (Champaign, Ill.: The University of Illinois Press, 2009).
(23.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 94-108.
(24.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 91. Laurelton excluded Blacks entirely before blockbusting in the 1960s. It was still "predominantly Jewish" in the mid 1960s, but Blacks were already beginning to move in. See: Peter R. Eisenstadt, Rochdale Village: Robert Moses, 6,000 Families, and New York City's Great Experiment in Integrated Housing (Ithaca: Cornel University Press, 2010), 206; Roberta Kossoff and Annette Henkin Landau, Laurelton: Images of America (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2011), 7-10.
(25.) Podair, The Strike the Changed New York, 4, 57-82. Some of these positions were not covert. Kahane and his partner Joseph Churba self-published a polemic with a company they established for the purpose called The Jewish Stake in Vietnam (New York: Crossroads Publications, 1967). Kahane reported that the CIA had funded the book: Robert I. Friedman, The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane, From FBI Informant to Knesset Member (Brooklyn, NY: Lawrence Hill Books, 1990), 78. See also: Meir Kahane, The Story of the Jewish Defense League (Radnor, Penn.: Chilton Book Company, 1975); Janet Dolgin, Jewish Identity and the JDL (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977); Daniel Breslauer, Meir Kahane: Ideologue, Hero, Thinker (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986).
(26.) Kahane, The Story of the IDL, 91.
(27.) Breslauer, Meir Kahane, 34-35; Yaacov Shavit, Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement, 1925-1948 (New York: Frank Cass, 1988); Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001 (New York: Vintage, 2001), 79, 90-6, 118; Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), 11-9, 25, 55, 103.
(28.) Friedman, The False Prophet, 12-3.
(29.) Idem., 21-25.
(30.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 91; Shavit, Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement, 21.
(31.) Kahane called it "one of the most brilliant and prophetic writings of modern Jewish times," Idem., 131; Shavit, Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement, 208.
(32.) Anon. (Meir Kahane), "The Affirmation," p. 2, Jewish Defense League folder, Wilcox Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. Shavit, Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement, 100, 237-8.
(33.) Anon., "The Affirmation," p. 1.
(34.) Friedman, The False Prophet, 269.
(35.) John Hatchett, "The Phenomenon of the Anti-Black Jews and the Black Anglo-Saxon," Forum (New York), (November-December 1967), cited in Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 92.
(36.) John Hatchett interview with Letitia Kent, Village Voice (New York), 1968, cited in Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 93.
(37.) Idem., 105-6.
(38.) Idem., 97, 102.
(39.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 117.
(40.) Julius Lester, Lovesong: Becoming a Jew (New York: Henry Holt, 1988), 49; The figure 18 of 19 comes from: "Anti-Semitism Held An Artificial Issue," The New York Times (October 22, 1968), 35.
(41.) Bill Kovach, "Racist and Anti-Semite Charges Strain Old Negro-Jewish Ties" The New York Times (Oct 23, 1968), 1, 32; Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 124.
(42.) Julius Lester, "Nigger-Baiting Jews" San Francisco Express Times 1 no. 46 (December 4, 1968), 13, reprinted from The Guardian (New York).
(43.) Alan Adelson, "Allies No More?: Decades-Old Alliance Between Jews, Negroes Is Beset by Animosity Jewish Gifts to Civil Rights Dwindle; Black Militants See Jews as 'Oppressors' in A 'Combat Zone'" The Wall Street Journal (Dec 31, 1968): 10.
(44.) Todd Gitlin, "Will Science Support Ocean Hill-Brownsville," The Rag (Austin, TX) 3 no. 7 (December 1968), 5.
(45.) Julius Lester, "Un-Due Process," from The Guardian, (New York) reprinted in The Rag (Austin, TX) 3 no. 8 (December 8, 1968), 15.
(46.) Kovach, "Racist and Anti-Semite Charges Strain Old Negro-Jewish Ties " 32; Pritchett, Brownsville, Brooklyn, 233.
(47.) "Ocean Hill Students Get Holiday With a Lesson," New York Times (Sep 21 1968), 20.
(48.) Whitney Young, "To Be Equal: Myth of Black Anti-Semitism," Cleveland Call and Post (Sept 28, 1968), 4B. James Baldwin, "Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They Are Anti-White," The New York Times (April 9, 1967), 137.
(49.) Irving Spiegel, "Jews Troubled Over Negro Ties: Long Civil Rights Support Strained by Antagonisms," The New York Times (July 8, 1968), 1, 20.
(50.) Edith Evans Asbury, "Jewish Teachers Back Ocean Hill: U.F.T. Members in New Group See No 'Anti-Semitic Plot' New York Times (Nov 2, 1968), 24; "Anti-Semitism?--A Statement by the Teachers of Ocean Hill-Brownsville to the People of New York," (advertisement) The New York Times (November 11, 1968), 55.
(51.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 137.
(52.) Eric J. Sundquist, Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), 344.
(53.) Bill Kovach, "Racist and Anti-Semite Charges Strain Old Negro-Jewish Ties" The New York Times (Oct 23, 1968), 1, 32.
(54.) Sgt. Pepper, "What Color is a Revolution?" Berkeley Barb 7 no. 24 (Dec. 6-12, 1968), 2.
(55.) Associated Press, "Lindsay Ponders a Rerun 'on Record Utica Daily Press (December 27, 1968), 5; "Democrat Procaccino seen biggest threat to Lindsay: Summer Could Be Powder Keg," The Saratogan, Saratoga Springs, New York (April 9, 1969), 6A; Louise Cook, Associate Press, "Once Popular, John Lindsay Finds Friends Are Scarce, The Geneva Times (August 29, 1969), 3; Jack W. Germond, "Making Policies Out of Outrages," Gannett News Service, Niagara Falls Gazette (February 24, 1972), 4.
(56.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL,
(57.) The sixty-year-old militant left strict instructions not to return his body to Palestine except at the order of a Jewish government, which is what came to pass when the state of Israel reburied him with honors in 1964. Joseph B. Schechtman, "Jabotinsky, Vladimir" Encyclopaedia Judaica ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, Vol. 11. 2nd ed. (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007): 14.
(58.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 137-8.
(59.) Martin Mayer, "The Full and Sometimes Very Surprising Story of Ocean Hill, the Teachers' Union, and the Teachers' Strike of 1968" New York Times Magazine (Feb 2, 1969): 38.
(60.) Thea Behran, "Anti-Semitism" in Fred Ferretti, "New York's Black Anti-Semitism Scare," in Bracey and Meir, Strangers and Neighbors, 6 57. Reprinted from Columbia Journalism Review 8, no. 3 (Fall 1969): 18-29. The transcript makes it appear that it was ATA president Albert Vann, and not Leslie Campbell, who read the poem on the air, although all other accounts credit Campbell with having done so. See also: Pritchett, Brownsville, Brooklyn, 234; "FCC Gives WBAI OK," New York Amsterdam News (April 12, 1969), 23.
(61.) Behran, "Anti-Semitism," 18-29.
(64.) See: Jacob S. Dorman, Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
(65.) On the panther uniform, see: Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Black Power: Radical Politics And African American Identity (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 118-9; Joseph, Waiting "Til the Midnight Hour, 209; on the JDL uniform, see: Dolgin, Jewish Identity and the JDL, 116.
(66.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 100; see also: Shaul Magid, "Anti-Semitism as Colonialism: Meir Kahane's "Ethics of Violence,'" paper delivered at "The Jewish 1968 and its Legacies Conference," Stanford University, February 16, 2015.
(67.) Meir Kahane, television interview, c. 1969. The same clip shows JDL members on patrol wearing uniforms: http://www.youtube.com/watchPv3GVKsVzrN3_c, accessed on December 8, 2009.
(70.) Malcolm X with Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Ballantine Books, 1973), 2.61; Malcolm X, "Message to the Grassroots," in Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, ed. George Brietman (New York: Grove Press, 1990), 10-12; Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 99-100.
(71.) Kahane, Never Again! (New York: Pyramid Books, 1971): 52-71; Magid, "Anti-Semitism as Colonialism," 21.
(72.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 75-90. Kahane quoted Jabotinsky several times in expressing these principles, and indeed, Jabotinsky had used some of the very same language.
(73.) Scot Brown, Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2003), 70, 140, 163.
(74.) Television program, c. 1970, http://www.youtube.comAvatch?v=50uMg3YrnPo, accessed on December 17, 2009.
(75.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 120; Mark Rudd, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (New York: William Morrow, 2009).
(76.) Goodman, '"I'd Love to See the JDL Fold Up. But--'," 117.
(77.) Idem., 115.
(78.) Goodman, "'I'd Love to See the J.D.L. Fold Up, But--"'117.
(79.) Leonard Buder, "2 Teachers' Cases Sent To Donovan," New York Times (Jan 23, 1969): 1, 51.
(80.) In re Complaint of UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, NEW YORK, N.Y. Concerning Station WBAI-FM, New York, N.Y., Fairness Doctrine, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, 17 F.C.C.2d 204 (1969), RELEASE-NUMBER: FCC 69-302, MARCH 26, 1969, http://myweb.uiowa.edu/johnson/FCCOps/1969/17F2-204. htm, accessed on September 18, 2015; Tamar Jacoby, Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle for Integration (New York: Free Press, 1998), 219; "Schoolgirl's Poem Defended by Youths On WBAI Program," The New York Times (Jan 24, 1969), 94.
(81.) Eisenstadt, Rochdale Village.
(82.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 109-10; Dolgin, Jewish Identity and the JDL, 29.
(83.) UFT FCC complaint.
(84.) Julius Lester, "The Julius Lester Show," WBAI, New York, January 30, 1969 in UFT FCC complaint.
(85.) UFT FCC complaint 1969. Lester's memoir, Lovesong, led to his acrimonious departure from the Department of Afro-American Studies for the Department of Judaic Studies. See: W.E.B. DuBois Dept, of Afro-American Studies Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst, "Don't Believe the Hype: Chronicle of a Mugging by the Media" The Black Scholar 19, no. 6, (November/December 1988): 27-43.
(86.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, no.
(87.) Robert I. Friedman, "Nice Jewish Boys with Bombs: The Return of the JDL" The Village Voice (May 6, 1986): 21-26.
(88.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 123.
(89.) Idem., 112.
(90.) Idem., 100-104; Diner, The Jews of the United States, 341.
(91.) Kahane, The Story of the JDL, 133-4.
(92.) Idem., 105.
(95.) Spiegel, "Jews Troubled Over Negro Ties," 20.
(96.) Rogers, no Livingston Street Revisited, 53.
(97.) Idem., 153.
(98.) Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, 149.
(99.) Samuel G. Freedman, Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 201.
(100.) Rieder, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism, 79.
(101.) Freedman, Jew vs. Jew, 201.
(102.) On the Original African Hebrew Israelites of Dimona, Israel, see, among others: Israel J. Gerber, The Heritage Seekers: Black Jews in Search of Identity (Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David, 1977); John L. Jackson, Jr., Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013).
(103.) James Benjamin to Rabbi Levy Benjamin Levy, 13 December 1971, Hatzaad Harishon MSS, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
(104.) Pedahzur, Israeli Response to Jewish Extremism and Violence, 35.
(105.) Robert I. Friedman, "Nice Jewish Boys with Bombs: The Return of the JDL" The Village Voice (May 6, 1986): 23. See also: Raphael Mergui & Philippe Simonnot, Israel's Ayatollahs: Meir Kahane and the Far Right in Israel (London, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Saqi Books, 1987); Breslauer, Meir Kahane, 131-145.
(106.) Friedman, "Nice Jewish Boys with Bombs."
(107.) Robert I. Friedman, "Snitch Trouble: The FBI's Case Against Qubilah Shabazz Has Only Two Major Problems: The Bureau's Informant Can't Be Trusted, And Neither Can the Bureau," New York Magazine (February 13, 1995). 24-5.
(108.) Idem., 23-4.
(109.) Robert I. Friedman, "Did This Man Kill Alex Odeah?" Village Voice (July 12, 1988): 19-20; Mattias Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996), 250; The Nation of Islam, "Nation of Islam Condemns Politically-Motivated Charges of Racism," October 7, 2000, http://www.noi.org/statements/rift/default.htm, accessed December to, 2009.
(110.) Ninety-three percent of Jewish delegates at the 1984 Democratic Party convention held negative opinions of Farrakhan: Gardell, In The Name of Elijah Muhammad, 251-5.
(111.) Robert I. Friedman, "Snitch Trouble," 24-5.
(112.) On Kahane in Israel, see: Aviezer Ravitzky, The Roots of Kahanism: Consciousness and Political Reality (Jerusalem, Israel: The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, 1986); Gerald Cromer, The Debate about Kahanism in Israeli Society 1984-1988 (New York: Guggenheim Foundation, 1988); Ami Pedahzur, Jewish Terrorism in Israel (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).
(113.) The numbers killed vary widely in Israeli and Palestinian accounts. See, for example: George J. Church, Lisa Beyer, Jamil Hamad, Dean Fischer, J.F.O. McAllister "When Fury Rules," TIME Magazine (March 7, 1994), http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/o,9171,980291-1,00.html, accessed on December 10, 2009. In the first eight days after the attacks, the IDF killed another thirty-three Palestinians, with "no danger to soldiers lives in twelve of the killings, according to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. Noam Chomsky, World Orders, Old and New (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 255. On the terrorist designation for Kach: Marc Perelman, "Secret FBI Files Reveal Hoover's Obsession With Militant Rabbi," The Jewish Daily Forward (February 26, 2006), http://www.forward.com/articles/iioo/ accessed on December 10, 2009.
(114.) Irving Kristol, Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea (Chicago: Free Press, 1995), 3; Irwin M Stelzer, The Neocon Reader (New York: Grove Press, 2005).
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Dorman, Jacob S.|
|Publication:||American Jewish History|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2016|
|Previous Article:||American responses to the Holocaust: new research, new controversies.|
|Next Article:||Becoming Un-Orthodox; Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews.|