The New York Pogrom Case

Dr. Gerhard Falk

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Civil Rights for Everybody Else - But Not for Rosenbaum*

*(Pssst-Rosenbaum was only a Jew)


   On January 9, 2002 the United States Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the convictions of Lemrick Nelson and Charles Price who murdered Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic scholar, at President Street and Brooklyn Avenue on August 19, 1991. Screaming, “There is a Jew” and “Get the Jew,” the Nazi killers culminated a day of anti-Jewish rioting in Brooklyn by murdering this innocent man.

    The gang of Nazis who beat Rosenbaum before Lemrick Nelson stabbed him were inspired by that same traditional anti-Jewish hate which fueled Hitler, Torquemada and all the other savages who have prided themselves on their bloodthirsty cruelty over the centuries.

    Of course, the murder of Rosenbaum and the anti-Jewish riots preceding the murder were promptly blamed on the Jewish victims by the perpetrators and their friends. The excuse for these atrocities was an auto accident in which a Jewish driver unfortunately killed a black child playing in the street. Surely, all of us know that the mother and father and relatives of the child are as much deprived of their loved one as all survivors of auto accident victims. Of course it is a hideous tragedy that a child is killed in the street. Yet, is that cause to run through the streets screaming “kill the Jews” and “Heil Hitler”? Those who used that language were all of African descent but Nazis nevertheless.

   Let us ask this: Is it legitimate that whenever someone dies as a result of an auto accident that the relatives and friends of the victim conduct riots in the streets and kill someone of the same ethnic group as the driver who killed the victim by accident?

   Evidently such a standard applies here. Despite the fact that Yankel Rosenbaum, before he died, identified Lemrick Nelson as his assailant and despite the fact that Nelson had a bloody knife in his pocket when arrested by the police, a jury of ten blacks, two whites (no Jews) acquitted Nelson of this deliberate, hateful murder. After acquitting Nelson on the grounds that the life of a Jew does not matter, the jury “feted Nelson at a local restaurant.”

   Despite this “jury annulment”, Nelson was tried and convicted of violating the civil rights of his victim six years after the murder of Rosenbaum. He was sent to prison for twenty years. The same sentence was given to Charles Price, who had instigated the murder of Rosenbaum by inciting the crowd of Nazis to violence. These sentences have now been vacated by the court so that a re-trial of both killers is a possibility.

   Jewish reaction to all of this has been generally ridiculous. Except for a few Jews willing to stand up for Jewish rights and Jewish lives we once more experienced that age-old crawling, apologetic Jewish reaction to Jewish victimization. A writer with an obvious Jewish name wrote a column in a New York newspaper claiming that the black rioters were justified in their murderous campaign because of the “oppression” blacks had suffered at the hands of the Chassidim.

   Other Jews, as usual, found all kinds of excuses for the rioters. For example, the National Jewish Democratic Council, a powerful group within the Democratic Party, finds all kinds of excuses for the violent anti-Jewish hate mongering of the so-called Rev. Al Sharpton, who not only “whitewashed” the killing of Yankel Rosenbaum but who also incited a Nazi mob to torch a Jewish business, resulting in seven deaths. Sharpton is a supporter of Khalid Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan, both known for their vicious anti-Jewish conduct and preaching. Yet, Jews support Sharpton and argue that he isn’t as bad as David Duke, the Louisiana Nazi, who is white. Such an argument would be similar to distinguishing between Hitler and Göbbels.

    It is of course untenable to claim that all Afro-Americans are anti-Jewish any more than that is true of all Euro-Americans. On the contrary. If that were so, we would not be here any more. However, we are not obliged to make racial distinctions between black and white Jew-haters and persecutors. Out idiocy has for years been the proclivity to excuse black anti-Jewish hate mongering. Yet, that has gone on for decades.

    As early as 1932, Marcus Garvey, the then predominant black leader in America, sent a message to his followers praising Hitler and the Nazi treatment of the German Jews. In 1935, riots against the Jews in Harlem were organized by Sufi Hammed and in 1943 blacks burned Jewish stores and property in another New York riot. In 1946, Kenneth Clark, then a professor of psychology at New York City College and a prominent black leader, minimized Jewish support for black civil rights by claiming that Jews were supporting blacks only to “exploit” them later. In 1966, Horace Bond, president of the Afro-American Institute, wrote that “Jews control the media and seek to stab minorities in the back.” During the 1960’s Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, all black “civil rights” leaders, raged against Jews incessantly even while the black owned New York radio station WBAI broadcast “Hey, Jew boy with that yarmulka on your head, you pale faced Jew boy, I wish you were dead.”

   John F. Hatchett, a professor at New York University, claims that Jewish teachers in the New York schools commit “genocide” on Afro-American students. Black “revisionist” scholars claim that the Holocaust never happened and Leonard Jeffries, professor of “black studies” at New York University teaches his students that Jews were responsible for the slave trade and that “Jews are dogs.”

   In the 1960’s numerous Jews traveled to the South to help blacks in gaining political rights in those states. Among them were Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. Both Jewish boys were murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi in that cause. Yet, Leroi Jones, a.k.a. Imu Baraka, calls these two martyrs in his cause “paintings on the wall” and “artifacts.” On the same subject, the “civil rights” leader Archi Shepp said in a speech that Goodman and Schwerner “acted only to to satisfy their conscience.”

    We could go on and on with additional examples of anti-Jewish hatred and conduct in the black community. Such hatred is particularly virulent among black academics.

     Therefore  we, as self-respecting Jews and Americans, have no right to make distinctions between black and white Jew haters. A Nazi is a Nazi no matter what color. What we need to do is defend our own interests and stop pretending that the members of the 35 million strong black community are our friends because of their historical experience. We are only 1.8% of the American population. Therefore we survive only if we ally ourselves with those who support our interests and our existence. Foremost among all Jewish interests is the survival of Israel. For this much is certain. Anyone who seeks to undermine Israel is also an enemy of all Jews here or elsewhere. Therefore we need to consider that now we have a great friend in the White House. George W. Bush has been more supportive of Israel than any president before him. In addition he recently lit a Menorah in the White House and invited the children of his Jewish associates to a Chanukah Party. That symbolic act indicates once more that the U.S. is the only “Judeo-Christian” country in the world. It legitimizes us. It is therefore very important. Whatever the president’s  motives, keep that in mind. The friends of Sharpton can do us no good. Our priorities must be our survival and the survival of our brethren in Israel who can only “make it” with American support. Therefore we must support those who help us. Never mind being “liberal”. That word usually means “liberal” for everyone else and bigoted against us. Wake up, Jews. We have a right and a duty to vote for those who vote for us. Let us be normal. Let us conduct ourselves according to the Talmudic dictum “If someone comes to kill you, kill him first.”  We do not seek to persecute anyone. Yet, we need not defend our persecutors nor deny their brutality against us. Stand up for us. Be a Jew. Denounce the killers of Rosenbaum and their apologists and remember the advice of Hillel:  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself what am I? And if not now, when?”

Shalom u’vracha.

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