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Blacks, Jews, and Palestine

In response to:

Blacks & Jews Entangled from the July 14, 2016 issue

To the Editors:

Is it intentional, misprint, or oversight that Darryl Pinckney refers to the special status of Palestinian sufferance in 1973 as a cause of black–Jewish enmity [“Blacks & Jews Entangled,” NYR, July 14]? Why 1973? The Palestinian refugee debacle began in 1948. 1973 was most memorable for the Yom Kippur War; Israel’s pain, not Palestine’s. The Palestinian political response, between 1972 and 1974, was particularly heinous and cruel—Munich, Kiryat Shmona, and Ma’alot stand out.

Regardless of how you stand on Palestinian grievances it has nothing to do with the black–Jewish American experience; except when facts from the Israeli–Arab conflict are distorted and conflated to justify others’ bigotry and prejudice. I’m a Jew steeped in America’s race wars (still have the SNCC button Bob Moses, I think, gave me when I was a kid); I know I couldn’t last five minutes as a black man in this American culture, but our communities must bury this hostility, and with all things it begins with trust….

Jonathan Lauter
New York City

Darryl Pinckney replies:

I’m afraid I did have in mind what happened in 1982 when I said black–Jewish relations had taken a turn for the worse in 1973. I can’t pretend I meant Gaza pacification, though that was going on. I am sorry for the error and I very much take Jonathan Lauter’s point. My apologies. But I do remember the sense that by the time of the 1973 war, allegiances had shifted since the 1967 war—and not just in the world of black activists.