Black Americans and Israel

In an atmosphere of growing racial tension and facing up to pockets of racism within our own community, it is great to see some people doing something about both problems. No strangers to creating kiddush Hashem, the Maccabeats have teamed up with a black a cappella group, Naturally 7, to revive a James Taylor tribute to Martin Luther King.

We don’t have to remind our readers about Dr. King’s favorable attitudes towards Israel. What some of us may not have bothered to figure out is that the number of black Americans who support Israel exceeds the number of American Jews who do the same. According to a 2013 Pew report there are about 4.2 million Jews in America, or as many as 5.3M if you count those who consider themselves “Jews with no religion.” Alas, we know that some of this group is rather cool to Israel – without even counting the traitor and turncoat JVP types. On the other hand, there are 41.7M African-Americans. According to a different Pew report, some 15% of them belong to black evangelical churches, where support for Israel is extremely strong. That yields a potential 6.25M supporters of Israel. Now, it might be that not all of them are enthusiastic Israel boosters – although on the other hand they very well may. So cut the number down somewhat. Then look at the historically black non-evangelical churches. They amount to 59% of the black population. Many of these churches are conservative in values, and conservative in their politics. They include 6% Pentecostal (and you have to look pretty hard to find Pentecostals who are not Israel supporters – that yields some 2.5M right there!) and 40% Baptist (where you are sure to find at least many supporters.)

Do the arithmetic.

Strong black support for Israel doesn’t offset a different phenomenon – the much higher than average rate of black anti-Semitism. But it doesn’t make sense to focus only on the bad news, while ignoring the good.

Meanwhile, enjoy the music – and the great message.

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5 Responses

  1. lacosta says:

    i believe this ignores the difference in older vs younger , non-college educated vs attendees at said leftist institutions, blacks of Muslim persuation , and followers of the Democratic party—the home of Palestine, anti-colonialism , and zionist-entity-is-apartheid.   there should be little doubt that the socialist agenda of black society outways their old-timer’s religious beliefs, and that in general there is declining hope for support for an occupying power gaining traction  of the mainstream leftists that the increasing peoples-of-color-party is becoming.


    [other than the welfare lifestyle that has become the mainstream haredi derech, at least in the mandatory  kollel years,  it is unclear how a Party whose morals and politics is so counter a torah and jewish mehalech , is the permanent home of so much of haredi society… i guess that’s what ‘kesef metaheir mamzeirim’ means….]

    • Sam says:

      lacosta makes some good points. The bracketed response likewise brings up valid points but it in no way responds to the lacosta. Just because chareidi society does what the inner-city antisemitic black community does, does not make it ok.

  2. CityBoy 516 says:

    Dear Rabbi Yizchok

    I think that your first paragraph said it all. Why the need to be “machshir” Dr. King or black Americans through reference to their love of Israel or any other matter. Surely the fact that we share a city, country, planet with them is reason enough to try to work peaceably together. The unfortunate fact that there remain pockets of racism only strengthens the need for this type of project.


  3. Bob Miller says:

    This is strictly anecdotal:

    One Shabbos, I was walking along the side of the road to Shul.  An Indianapolis city bus driver who was black stopped, opened his door, announced “The G-d of Israel is the true G-d!” and sped off.

    [On the other hand, from the time in the 1960’s when Black Power activists began to evict Jews from the civil rights movement, Jews have faced real hostility from the black Left.  This has not abated whatsoever.  The black Left also has close ties to the likes of Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Sharpton.  Malcolm X was never our pal.]



  4. Reb Yid says:

    This ignores the invidious institutional racism that continues to plague African-Americans in all aspects of their lives.  If we ask them to support Israel in the way that King did–and we should–then portions of the American Jewish community need to be much more sympathetic to and supportive of the primary victims of our society’s ills.

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