Seymour Martin Lipset on the Black Panthers and Antisemitism

Thus Stokeley Carmichael who was a leader of both the Student Nonviolent (now “National”) Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and of the Black Panthers before abandoning the struggle in America for residence abroad, accounted for the resentment expressed toward Jews by black militants as a result of “the exploitation [of blacks] by Jewish landlords and merchants,” in an article published in The New York Review of Books in 1966. Elsewhere, he wrote: “You let just one Negro get a Molotov cocktail and throw it at some Jew’s liquor store and they call out the whole damn National Guard.” In an interview with David Frost on April 13, 1970, Carmichael declared that, in his judgment, Adolf Hitler “was the greatest white man.” He went on to say that he could not describe men like Johnson, Nixon, Truman or Churchill as “great people,” since they “were doing things against my people.”

The most overt expressions of anti‐Semitism have come generally from the most militant of the black organizations, the one with closest ties to sections of the white New and Old Lefts, the self‐described Marxist‐Leninist Black Panther party. The party goes out of its way to identify as Jews those in the Establishment who oppose it and who happen to be Jews. Thus, in the Dec. 21, 1968, issue of The Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver attacked Judge Monroe Friedman, who presided over the Oakland, Calif., trial of Huey Newton in the following terms: “If the Jews like Judge Friedman are going to be allowed to function, and come to their synagogues to pray on Saturdays, or do whatever they do down there, then we’ll make a coalition with the Arabs, against the Jews….”

The Panthers have even argued that Judge Julius J. Hoffman gave the Jewish defendants in the Chicago conspiracy trial better treatment than he gave Bobby Seale. Connie Matthews, international coordinator of the party, wrote in The Black Panther of April 25, 1970, that there was an alliance between the Jewish judge and the Jewish defendants:

“It was a Zionist judge, Judge Hoffman, who allowed the other Zionists to go free but has kept Bobby Seale in jail and sentenced him to four years for contempt charges. Bobby Seale alone stands trial again in April on conspiracy charges. With whom did he conspire? The Zionists?

“The other Zionists in the… trial [i.e., Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin] were willing and did sacrifice Bobby Seale and his role in the conspiracy trial to gain publicity.”

Now clearly Rubin and Hoffman are in no way “Zionists.” This is simply a code word for Jew, just as it has become in Eastern Europe.

Though opposed to all capitalists, the Panthers single out Jewish businessmen for attack. Thus, a statement in the May 19, 1970, issue of the party newspaper declares that they are against “Zionist exploitation here In Babylon, manifested in the robber barons that exploit in the garment industry and the bandit merchants and greedy slum lords that operate in our communities.” In describing a tenants’ action in Atlantic City against a landlord, an article in the June 13, 1970, Black Panther praises the tenants for “gathering together to form a United Front against Zionist Pig Sobel….” The article concludes with the exhortation: “ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE — DEATH TO THE ZIONIST PIGS.” And as if to prove that the reference to Sobel was not fortuitous, the paper a week later carried a story on “Substandard Housing in America” which referred to buildings “owned by a Zionist by the name of Rosenbaum.”

= = =

from Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Socialism of Fools,” New York Times, January 3, 1971, page 6.

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