Goodman and Schwerner KIA, Black Caucus AWOL

By | March 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Most members of the Congressional Black Caucus were among Democrats who boycotted the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Of the 47 members of the Black Caucus, only 15 attended.
News report

Prominent black pastors, evoking Rev. Dr. King’s memory, urged the Black Caucus not to boycott Netanyahu’s address.
News report

Have you ever heard of Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney? I’ll bet serious money that most young Americans haven’t. But I have. Getting older doesn’t make you smarter, but if often makes you wiser. The more of the past you remember, the better you understand the present.
These three young civil-rights workers disappeared in Mississippi on June 21, 1964, attempting to register African Americans to vote. Chaney was from Mississippi, while Goodman and Schwerner, who were Jews, had come from New York to aid the struggle for equality.
The three remained missing for 44 days, when the FBI discovered their bodies buried in an earthen dam – buried as they had lived, side by side.
This story is told vividly, with some dramatic license, in the film “Mississippi Burning.” Watch it. The three had been kidnapped and shot at close range by members of the Ku Klux Klan and local law-enforcement officers – who in some cases were the same people. Seven of those responsible were convicted on federal charges and received relatively light sentences. Outrage over the activists’ murders helped gain passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Regrettably, the three young civil-rights workers have gone missing again – missing from the memories of those who should remember them well. The fact is that in addition to Goodman and Schwerner, Jews were prominent in the movement to gain civil rights for blacks. About half of the people who joined blacks for the 1964 Freedom Summer were Jews. The prominent philosopher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched arm-in-arm with Rev. Dr. King at Selma:

But, you object, righteous people do good just because it is good, and not in the hope of receiving any reward – at least not in this world. This is true. Ingratitude is common among human beings, but this does not mean that ingratitude is desirable, or even tolerable.
Blacks needed help in their long struggle for equal rights. And out of proportion to their numbers, Jews came to help, sometimes at the risk of their lives. The synagogue of the Atlanta Jewish congregation existed for a century despite anti-Semitism, but it was bombed because of what its members were doing in the civil-rights struggle for blacks. Jews have a long experience of oppression and discrimination, so they felt empathy for oppressed blacks.
Now we Jews need help. Anti-Semitism is rampant throughout the world. Israel is threatened with destruction. Israel is the only Jewish nation in the world. It is the only nation whose very right to exist is being challenged throughout the world, and specifically in leftist enclaves such as universities. Once again, as in World War II, 6 million Jews are being threatened with extermination. But unlike then, when there were about 18 million Jews in the world, now there are only about 14 million. On the basis of percentage, Holocaust 2 may be even worse than the original version. Yet once again, most of the world remains silent.
But instead of being in the forefront of the friends of Israel, African Americans as a group are over twice as likely to harbor deeply anti-Semitic views as are whites. Why?
Blacks tend to identify with Palestinians specifically, and Arabs and Muslims in general, perhaps because Arabs are not considered “white.” But are Jews “white”? In the 1930s and 1940s, Jews were not “white.” The Nazis exterminated one-third of all the Jews on Earth because they were not “white.” In those days, it was considered good to be “white,” so Jews were considered “non-white.” In America, Jews were restricted from universities, employment, and organizations because they were “non-white.”
Things have changed. Now it is considered good to be “non-white.” So – surprise! – now Jews are considered to be “white.” Whatever group is thought to be good, the Jews are thought to be members of the other group.
Whatever the reason, most of the Congressional Black Caucus boycotted the speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who advocated the view that Iran, whose leaders repeatedly vow to exterminate Israel, must be blocked from obtaining nuclear weapons. Is that opinion really so objectionable that the speaker must be shunned? What, precisely, is so objectionable about it? That a totalitarian regime which preaches genocide should be blocked from obtaining the means to carry out genocide? Or that the leader of Israel, alone of all the 193 members of the United Nations, should be forced to argue for its right to exist?
Churchill warned them, but they refused to listen. Netanyahu warns them, but they refuse even to attend the speech. Goodman and Schwerner have gone missing again. Except for the 15 courageous members who attended the speech, the Congressional Black Caucus has gone AWOL. Santayana was right – those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And those who forget their friends will have fewer friends.

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