The publication in our "On the Contrary” blog of this excerpt from an essay by Mr. Jackie Muhammad, is published herein to stimulate research, investigation and debate outside the narrow confines of what the Establishment gatekeepers of information regard as permissible.
The Role of Prominent Rabbis and Slavery Explored
by Jackie Muhammad
Excerpted from Nation of Islam Research Group
Volume 2, Issue 20, 2011
Volume 2, Issue 20, 2011
One of the world’s best-known rabbis was Moses Maimonides, a twelfth-century Rabbi who is considered one of the greatest thinkers in medieval European thought. He evidently was not thinking when he said that Black people were “biologically inferior” and that Black Africans were “lower than the ranks of man but higher than the ranks of apes.”
It is very interesting that Rabbi Maimonides would make these observations when Black Africans, known as the Muslim Moors, exercised economic, political, intellectual and cultural hegemony over most of Western Europe. Rabbi Maimonides was considered “the symbol of the pure and orthodox faith,” and his writings are considered “the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy.”
However, when we move beyond Orthodox Judaism and encounter Reform Judaism we are faced with the same disturbing concerns regarding the role of the Jewish rabbis. Reform Judaism maintains that the religion and Jewish traditions should be modernized and be compatible with participation in the surrounding culture. Many aspects of Reform Judaism hold that Jewish law should be interpreted as a set of general guidelines rather than as a list of restrictions whose literal observance is required of all Jews.
Reform Judaism was founded in America by Isaac Mayer Wise. Wise was a rabid, recalcitrant, racist rabbi who referred to Jesus as a “near lunatic,” and, like his predecessor Maimonides, considered Black people as subhuman. Rabbi Wise openly boasted that White Jews gave Christians a God and a religion. According to the landmark publication The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vol. 2, Rabbi Wise’s students were some of the “most notable Jewish clerics in American history.” Among them were Max Heller, Morris Newfield, Isidore Lewinski, Max Raisin, David Marx and Moses Jacobson, all of whom served in the south.
A troubling alliance developed between racist rabbis and members of the Confederacy. This alliance led to a symbiotic relationship between and among members of the southern slavocracy and the Jewish religious leadership. One example is that of Rabbi James Gutheim, the New Orleans Rabbi and ideological student of Rabbi Wise, who in 1862 encouraged Southern Jews to support the Confederacy, and prayed to God to bless the Confederate slaveholders. When desegregation of the New Orleans school system was proposed, Rabbi Gutheim came up with an alternative: he founded a Hebrew school in protest.
Among the Jews and southern slave owners, it was an open secret that rabbis owned and rented slaves. Rabbi Morris Raphall of New York, the nation’s highest paid clergyman, defended slavery and like others of his coreligionists claimed that God Himself had sanctioned slavery. Rabbi and historian Dr. Bertram W. Korn, an acknowledged expert on nineteenth-century American Jewry, was not shy in stating that “Jews participated in every aspect and process of the exploitation of the defenseless blacks.”
Wise, Maimonides, Raphall and other Jewish rabbis used the Talmud to justify their concept of racial superiority over Black people. In the southern Jewish ethos Blacks were scapegoated and demonized so that Jews could develop without the impediment of racism. The rabbis played a crucial and strategic role of supplying “spiritual air cover” for racist Jewish and Gentile slave owners to justify their dehumanization of Black people in the institution of American slavery.
The Holy Qur’an calls out the rabbis and the doctors of law like the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and the Center’s Dr. Harold Brackman when it asks why don’t the rabbis reprove the unrighteous and aberrant behavior of the recalcitrant, racist Jews.
“Why do not the rabbis and doctors of law prohibit them from their sinful utterances and their devouring unlawful gain? Certainly evil are the works they do.” –Holy Qur’an 5:63
The reason is that the rabbis have benefited financially from the enormous profits gained from our enslavement. Indeed, it was the rabbis who invented the Curse of Ham Myth, which enabled and facilitated the enslavement of the Black man. Therefore, this conspiratorial relationship between the rabbis and their slave-dealing co-religionists benefited the entire Jewish nation in America and throughout the world. A part of this conspiratorial relationship included the deafening silence of those Jews who knew what was happening to the Black man was wrong but chose to be as silent as synagogue mice.
For example, what accounts for the entire absence of Jews from the abolition movement? They did, however, participate in the Civil Rights Movement whenever their self-interests coincided with our Black interests. But we were used as the battering ram, while they benefited from our knocking down legal barriers.
More important, however, was their control of the Civil Rights Movement through their control of the civil rights organizations. There is hardly a Jew who would not agree that the Jews used their financial wealth, legal expertise and public- relations skills to start, organize and manipulate the direction and issues that organizations like the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee adopted.
Further, leaders like the great W.E.B. DuBois were exploited as figureheads, promoted by them to give the appearance of independent Black leadership. Jews used their wealth, power, and influence as board members, board directors and presidents of our organizations to steer these organizations in the direction they desired to see them go, not in the direction Black people wanted to see their organizations go.
Ask yourself these questions: how many Black board members, board directors or presidents of B’nai B’brith have you ever heard of and do you know? Have Black people ever been in charge of Jewish organizations?
...With the documented historical past of hundreds of years of discrimination against Black Americans and African people documented in The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews Vol. 1 and 2 and in Jews Selling Blacks, is there any wonder there is such great reluctance to openly discuss these issues?
Jackie Muhammad is a former presidential appointee, member of the Oxford Round Table and educator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on this topic, visit http://www.noi.org/hrd or join the conversation @ http://twitter.com/BlacksandJews