Speaking of Jews and
With the publication
of the first volume of The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews in 1991 came the
revelation that before the time of Christopher Columbus and through the European expansion into the western hemisphere, Jews
were active participants in the epic racial crimes committed by the “New World’s” European invaders. An
abundance of Jewish scholarly writings provided extensive evidence directly contradicting the popular notion that Jews had
ever been the friends or allies of the suffering and oppressed Black man and woman.
Further, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,
Volume One, showed definitively
that Jews were thriving mightily in America long, long before the Statue of Liberty was
a thought in the mind of its French sculptor. In fact, ocean-bound Jewish merchants had mastered commercial trade throughout
the western hemisphere almost three centuries before the birth of the United States, ferrying African slaves and the commodities
they produced throughout the European colonial settlements in the earliest days of the “New World.” As world-renowned
merchants and traders, they were among the framers of the system of capitalism and had helped pioneer the African slave trade,
profiteering mightily from that horrific crime against humanity.
And this cruel and exploitative relationship
remained essentially unchanged after the American Civil War and the supposed emancipation of the Black man and woman. To appreciate
the Jewish attitude and behavior toward America’s Black citizens
in the post-slavery era, it is important at the outset to review the substance of the Black–Jewish relationship leading
up to that time, from Europe’s “discovery” of America
up to the Civil War.
Columbus—whose trans-Atlantic exploits initiated the brutal genocide of the Red man and forecasted the African Holocaust—was
financed by wealthy Spanish Jews and is claimed by some scholars to be a Jew himself.
merchants owned, insured, and financed slave ships and outfitted them with chains and shackles for the trans-Atlantic slave
trade. They were auctioneers, commission merchants, brokers, and wholesalers, keeping the slave economy oiled with money,
markets, and supplies.
out of ten Africans were shipped to Brazil.
Jewish scholar Dr. Arnold Wiznitzer described the early Jewish presence:
important position in the sugar industry and in tax farming, they dominated the slave trade....The
buyers who appeared at the auctions were almost always Jews, and because of this lack of competitors they could buy slaves
at low prices.
According to Jewish scholar Dr. Harold
Brackman, during the 1600s “slave trading in Brazil became a ‘Jewish’ mercantile specialty in much the same way it had been in early medieval Europe.”
In fact, wrote scholar Jonathan Schorsch,
“Jewish merchants routinely possessed enormous numbers of slaves temporarily before selling them off.” The Jewish Encyclopedia adds that “Jewish commercial activity”
in this time included a “monopoly of the slave trade.”
Marcus Arkin wrote that the Jews of Surinam used “many thousands” of Black slaves, and Rabbi Herbert I. Bloom
added that the “slave trade was one of the most important Jewish activities...” In 1694, Jews owned 9,000 Africans.
They protested vehemently when the Gentile authorities decreed that the slaves should have a day off.
prominent Jewish historian Dr. Cecil Roth wrote that the slave revolts in parts of South America
“were largely directed against [Jews], as being the greatest slave-holders of the region.”
South America, Jews set up militias with the sole purpose of fighting the Black Maroons,
the escaped Africans who were fighting to free their enslaved brethren. The first Hebrew poem written in the “New World” was a bitter attack on the Maroon leader. The Jewish militias murdered these Maroons
and cut off their hands to award as trophies.
Jews of Barbados, wrote one Jewish scholar, “made a good deal of their money by purchasing and hiring out negroes...”
Another wrote that all Barbadian Jews—including the rabbi—owned Black slaves.
warehoused so many African slaves in Barbados
that authorities moved to limit the number of captives they could possess.
became the major traders in “refuse slaves”—Africans who were weak and sick from the Middle Passage voyage.
Jewish traders “fattened them up” and sold them at a profit.
drove and expanded the slave trade, and, say Jewish scholars, Jews “acquired large sugarcane plantations and became
the leading entrepreneurs in the sugar trade.”
scholars Isaac and Susan Emmanuel reported that in Curacao, which was a major slave-trading
depot, “the shipping business was mainly a Jewish enterprise.”
the earliest settlers in New York decided to participate
in slavery, they contacted “the jobbers and the Jews,” who were the recognized international dealers. The largest
shipments of Africans arriving in New York in the first
half of the 18th century were commissioned by Jewish merchants.
encroachment created lethal conflict with the indigenous communities, and Jewish traders often supplied the Europeans with
weapons and critical supplies. Once the Red man was removed, it was often the Jewish traders who acquired the valuable land.
One actually held title to the entire Grand Canyon.
owned slave pens where they warehoused Africans and sold them wholesale. They smuggled slaves to places where slavery was
illegal, rented them when they did not want to buy, and bred African women for sexual purposes. Jews ran jails and imprisoned
and punished Black slaves; they served as constables, sheriffs, detectives, and bounty hunters in the slavocracy and participated
in the dehumanization of Black Africans.
Jewish peddlers traveling the countryside were known to search for and capture runaway slaves and bring them in for the bounty.
founders of Richmond, Virginia’s
Jewish community were all slaveholders.
slavery was outlawed in the colony of Georgia,
Jews left; they would return only when slavery was reinstated.
Newport, Rhode Island—the
center of the rum and slave trade—every Jewish family owned Black slaves. What’s more, their synagogue was built
by Black slaves “of some skill.” Of the 22 Newport
distilleries serving the triangular slave trade, all 22 were owned by Jews.
rabbis owned and rented slaves. The leading abolitionist organization bitterly complained
that Jews “have never taken any steps whatever” against slavery.
The nation’s highest paid clergyman, Rabbi Morris Raphall of New York, defended slavery and claimed God Himself had sanctioned it.
The one rabbi who forcefully attacked
slavery, Baltimore’s David Einhorn, was thrown out of
his own Jewish congregation and forced to flee the city as a result of his stand.
The prominent Jewish writer Mordecai
Manuel Noah was such a virulent racist that the very first Black newspaper, the Freedom’s Journal, was started in 1827 just to combat his racist
slave smugglers and pirates like the Jewish Lafitte brothers of New Orleans
continued the international slave trade for years after its legal end in 1807.
than 3,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the slaveholders in the Civil War, and a Jewish
owner of a 140-slave plantation, Judah P. Benjamin, was secretary of state for the Confederacy. His picture is engraved on
advertised openly for the return of their “runaways”; and when their Black chattel grew elderly and infirm and
were unable to work they “freed” them, forcing them to fend for themselves in their old age.
bequeathed Black human beings from one Jewish generation to another, and they sold Black children and babies away from their
parents. One Jew stipulated in his will that the sale of his slaves should be used for his son’s Yale tuition.
helped to suppress slave uprisings and in 1831, Jews were involved in hunting down the great Nat Turner and his freedom fighters.
first Jew elected to the U.S. Senate, Florida’s David
Yulee, was one of the most strident haters of Indians and defenders of slavery in American history.
Brackman wrote, “Jews were about twice as likely to be slave owners as the average white Southerner.” Rabbi and
historian Dr. Bertram W. Korn, the acknowledged expert on 19th-century American Jewry, wrote:
It would seem
to be realistic to conclude that any Jew who could afford to own slaves and had need for their services would do so....Jews
participated in every aspect and process of the exploitation of the defenseless blacks.
And though some of
these open acts of racial persecution might be attributed to individual Jews acting on their own, nearly all the offenders
were members of larger Jewish communities and enjoyed a prominent and honored place among their coreligionists. The profits
from these slavery-based enterprises helped finance Jewish community development, built synagogues, homes, schools, businesses,
and institutions, and in many untold ways enriched their lives, congregations, and communities.
The distressing reality
is that one can go on and on without much difficulty in enumerating the extensive involvement of Jews in the Black Holocaust—even
if one is limited to only that evidence published by Jewish sources. Actually, one is hard-pressed to name a single prominent
American Jew in the slavery era who did not own slaves or profit from Black African slavery.
In his 1983 book Jews and Judaism
in the United States, Rabbi Dr. Marc Lee Raphael, the long-time editor of the most prestigious of Jewish historical journals, the
Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, wrote in two paragraphs (p. 14) one of the more definitive statements on Jewish involvement in the
Black Holocaust. The entire passage bears quoting:
Jews also took
an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife
and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos
for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on
a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados
and Jamaica in the eighteenth century,
Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated
This was no less
true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the “triangular trade”
that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England
and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston
in the 1750’s, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760’s, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760’s and early 1770’s dominated Jewish
slave trading on the American continent.
Given the historical
record of the early Black–Jewish relationship, the attitudes and behaviors of American Jews in the post-slavery era
should not be hard to predict.