Anti-Israel Activists Are Not The First To Try To Coopt The African American Vote
Aussie Dave has written about Students for Justice in Palestine’s delusional allegations that Israel was connected to the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson wrote in more detail about the ongoing efforts to tie Israel to allegations of serious police misconduct.
There has been a multi-year effort by left-wing and Islamist anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and openly anti-Semitic activists to hijack racial tensions in the United States and redirect that anger towards Israel….
That effort has been on overdrive since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and is accomplished through a combination of false and misleading statements regarding the militarization of domestic U.S. police departments and U.S. police training in Israel.[Legal Insurrection] demonstrated how, in Ferguson, anti-Israel activists embedded themselves in the protest crowds and ran their own protests fomenting violence…. The key is to understand that this is a long-term strategy to redirect and sometimes provoke racial tension against Israel and its supporters, not a series of isolated incidents.
This is not the first time that a far-left, illiberal movement has attempted to coopt an African American movement — and African American votes. In Black and Red: W.E.B. DuBois and the Afro-American Response to the Cold War, author Gerald Horne explains that in the immediate post-World War II era, the Communist party was alleged to be attempting to infiltrate the NAACP.
Horne discusses a 1946 article in Life Magazine by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. that claimed that the Communist party was “sinking its tentacles” into the organization. Martin Dies, the first chairman of the House Special Committee to Investigate Unamerican Activities, reportedly said in 1947 that, “Moscow realizes that it cannot revolutionize the United States unless the Negro [sic] can be won over to the communist cause.”
The Communist party joined the NAACP in opposing Jim Crow laws, and, according to Horne, on at least one occasion the NAACP’s Crisis publication “implicitly sought unity with the harried Communist party.” The organization itself is said to have expressed concern that some of its white members were communists. It’s not really clear from Horne’s account, however, how closely the groups were ever really intertwined, and reports of such infiltration were at times used in attempts to discredit the NAACP.
Those who sought an alliance between the NAACP and the Communist party were attempting to coopt the NAACP and the African American vote with a cause that was unrelated to the group’s mission and had little benefit for African Americans. Today’s anti-Israel activists do the same with Black Lives Matter. This pseudo alliance is based on misinformation about the true situation in Israel and misconceptions about Jews and Israelis. It has little to offer the African American community other than alienating allies.