Newsletter : 5fax0421.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 21, 1995, V3, #74
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
Israel Offers Help in Oklahoma City Bombing
Israel's government has offered to assist US rescue and law
enforcement agencies in dealing with the aftermath of the bombing
in Oklahoma City. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was one of
many world leaders who sent messages of condolence to President
Clinton, and offers of help.
But the prime minister's spokesman, Oded Ben Ami, says Rabin
believes Israel has something special to offer because it has so
often been hit by terrorist bombs. Ben Ami says Israel has a
special rescue unit and terrorism experts in its army and
law-enforcement organizations, which it is willing to send to
Oklahoma City if the US authorities believe it would be helpful.
Jews and Blacks Reach Out in Print
By Rodrick Murray (Washington)
A book written by a black scholar and a white magazine editor to
broaden dialogue on Jewish - black relations has just been
published. The idea of Jews and blacks uniting to fight for
economic equality has been discussed for many years. But the two
authors -- one African American, the other Jewish -- wanted to
reach a wider audience.
Cornel West, a professor at Harvard University, and Michael Lerner,
a magazine editor and publisher, have collaborated on a book
entitled "Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin."
Recently at Howard University in Washington, DC, the authors talked
about some of the thought provoking subjects they cover in their
Cornel West explained why the discussion was arranged. "Brother
Michael Lerner and I are here to engage in a dialogue that focuses
on something bigger than each and every one of us. It has to do
with suffering in America and around the world.
"We are here to attempt to be part of an on-going process that
highlights two particular groups that historically have served as
the pillar for progressive politics known for focusing on
"That people of African descent in America, people of Jewish origin
or persuasion in America, have been the two vanguard groups to keep
alive the best of a democratic tradition that claims that the most
powerful -- cooperate elites, bank elites, and political elites
that have a disproportion amount of wealth and resources and power
in America -- are in some sense rendered accountable so that the
vast majority of people can attempt to lead lives of decency and
dignity by gaining access to a job with a decent wage, adequate
health care, quality child care, educational system. That seizes
the imagination of young people rather than dampens and deadens
The authors say their book examines principles and not
personalities. The book, they say, looks at on-going oppression
and how to alleviate it instead of who is the most oppressed. The
writers say they seek a dialogue that is honest, candid, and
critical. They say no one in the discussion is at center stage.
West and Lerner say they feel that Jews and blacks should come
together because of the oppression they have had to endure for
centuries. Lerner says he believes the Jewish community will not
let African-Americans stand alone.
"From the standpoint of many liberals and progressives in the
Jewish world, we are committed to not letting African-Americans
stand alone in facing the assault on their economic situation that
is happening in America today -- the tremendous attempt to disrupt
the social support systems that have provided minimum level for
caring, minimum level for support for the African-American poor, as
well as for other poor in the society. We are determined not to
allow African-Americans to be isolated and put in this
situation where they stand alone facing a tremendous majoritorian
population that wants it to scar them."
The authors agree that in order for Jews and African-Americans to
come together and for the Jews to be able to help the African
Americans, the black community must band together against those who
speak against Jews. They describe anti-Semitic remarks from some
blacks as destructive to Jewish community support. The writers say
Jews willing and ready to help the African-American community are
meeting resistance from Jews who feel the African-American
community does not want their help.
West spoke about the effects of well publicized remarks by black
Muslim leaders and other black activists. "How does one deal with
the voices in the black community who often target Jews as a group
and link that group to black suffering? So we struggle over how do
we respond to engage in dialogue with, bring critique to bear,
Minister Louis Farrakhan, brother Leonard Jefferies, brother
Khalil Abdul Muhammad, Tony Morris? We can go on and on. How does
one engage in dialogue, how does one be honest in terms of the ways
in which they talk about Jews?"
Both authors agree on the need for the two communities to bond but
they do not agree on how it should be done. Dr. West urges frank
dialogue with the people who concentrate on the differences while
Dr. Lerner says the African-American community should protest
against anyone who makes anti-Semitic statements.
Their joint appearance at Howard University demonstrated their hope
that Jews and Blacks would work together after each group became
aware of and sensitive to the other's histories.
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