Letter to the Editor: Jan. 19


Not the Same

Steve Rosenberg’s column refers to the “precarious” status of the Black-Jewish alliance (“The Cycle of Trust,” Dec. 29). One reason for this current unfortunate situation is some Black people link their struggle against racism in America with the Palestinian Arab fight against Israel.

These issues are very different. When Hamas attacked Israelis on Oct. 7, they were not battling for racial equality and civil rights. Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other such Palestinian Arab groups, Black people in America do not threaten to drive white people out of this country. Black people wanted to integrate buses (“freedom riders”) not blow them up. The Black struggle against Jim Crow and racism in America did not and does not include killing white people, taking hostages or seeking martyrdom through suicidal assaults.

One of the lessons all Americans supposedly learned after the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan is that projecting our experience, views and ideals onto problems in foreign countries is usually a fool’s errand: their history, culture and society have little in common with ours. Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. were not Middle Eastern people, and it is a mistake to assume Palestinian Arabs or Israeli Jews look to them or other Americans for serious political or social guidance. In other words, strife in the Middle East has everything to do with the people who actually live there and nothing to do with racial conflicts here.

Jerry Levin


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