The story of black-Jewish relations is a long and complex one. In this episode of Focus On Israel, several pastors discuss the historical perspective of this rather tumultuous relationship, as well as how this alliance is evolving and reigniting.
Pastor Lyndon Allen, president of Total Life Victory ministries, knows the history of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and remembers that the organization was not started independently by W.E.D. DuBois, but actually alongside American Jewish activists of the day. Such Jewish Americans like Joel and Authur Spingarn and Dr. Henry Moskowitz shared the desire to serve a righteous cause to eliminate injustice. Pastor Allen related that “in a speech in 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King memorialized those Jewish friends who were beaten and martyred for the cause as he stated that when you have blood shed on both sides for the same cause, there is a bonding that occurs. Rev. Martin Luther King in return had a great love and affinity for the Jewish people.”
Pastor Glenn Plummer, CEO of the Fellowship of Israel and Black America, states that the “history of Israel and Black America has amazing parallels. One group of people were slaves to ancient Egypt and the other were slaves to modern America. Jews and blacks found themselves in the fellowship of suffering.” He also stated that “Black America, to our benefit, followed Dr. King’s cry and call and blessed Israel in accordance to Genesis 12:3 and as a result, God blessed us as a people.”
At the same time, there was a another common theme shared between people of African descent and Jewish descent worldwide, as hatred toward these two groups emerged through the science of eugenics in America, which propagated the curtailment and elimination of those of “inferior races.” Hitler’s Nazi movement paralleled this mindset to control both groups. Both blacks and Jews were hated by far right extremists – a sentiment that still exists today.
Another guest on Focus On Israel is a man who is working hard to maintain and rekindle this long alliance, Dr. Walter Fletcher. Dr. Fletcher has God’s heart for the Jewish people and Israel, and his desire is to bring this message to the African-American community in the U.S.
“Many would agree that the march with Dr. Martin Luther King probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for the Jewish community who helped fund and represent them in civil right matters,” he said. “It was actually a church movement that was trying to address issues of injustice before it became a civil rights movement.”
Dr. Fletcher believes that something is beginning to emerge prophetically in the African-American community in terms of what God is doing with Israel. God has been awakening young African-American pastors and leaders to become involved and be reconcilers. “I believe it is in their very DNA,” he said, “to be used of the Lord in this hour to bring healing between the body of Christ and Israel. In some ways, no one is better suited to do this than Afro-American leaders.”
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