Thursday, April 10, 2008

A conversation about race in America gets its launch:

Roger L. Simon reports:

On April 4, 2008, at a Los Angeles event commemorating the assassination of Martin Luther King, the African-American fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi gave Israeli-American Daphna Ziman its Tom Bradley Award for community service. Then the event's keynote speaker, Reverend Eric Lee, turned to Ms. Ziman and launched an anti-Semitic diatribe.

.... Ziman’s email states “[Lee] started talking about the African American children who are suffering because of the Jews that have featured them as rapists and murderers. He spoke of a Jewish Rabbi, and then corrected himself to say ‘What other kind of Rabbis are there, but Jews.’ He told how this Rabbi came to him to say that he would like to bring the AA [African-American] community and the Jewish community together. ‘NO, NO, NO!!!!’ he shouted into the crowd, ‘we are not going to come together. The Jews have made money on us in the music business and we are the entertainers, and they are economically enslaving us.’”

(Read the rest, here)

No one should be surprised by this event. Nor will it be the last we hear of such. The "conversation" Obama has inaugurated in his speech about race, in which he did not reject Wright's hatefulness as totally unacceptable but tried to "contextualize" it, is not going in the direction he had... errr... hoped for. The message of "Reverend" Lee will be seen as yet another symptom of AA suffering, justified and possibly "true" in its own way, by guilt-tripped whites or just just closet antisemites who can't get enough of anti-Jews hostility.

In a way it may be useful, in the long run, to get these pockets of festering antisemitic pus exposed and maybe even lanced and disinfected by sunlight. I am waiting to see how and if at all, Obama will answer the conversation that he himself had unleashed.

There is another report, on this blog

Here is a portrait of Daphna Ziman

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Update: By Roger L. Simon:

I then indicated in my presentation that I told the Rabbis’ that before a genuine coalition could be rebuilt between our communities, there would have to be dialogue and efforts made to deal with the negative characterizations of African Americans.”

Negative characterizations of African Americans by whom? I assume he means Jews here. Is he referring to the Jew Stanley Kramer who made Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and The Defiant Ones with their “wretched characterizations” of African Americans. Or perhaps the Jew Ed Zwick who directed Glory about the brave company of black soldiers in the Civil War? Or maybe he’s talking about me. I wrote the screenplay for Richard Pryor’s Bustin’ Loose, which won an Image Award from the NAACP. If Reverend Lee thinks I did something wrong, if I wrote evil stereotypical characterizations of African Americans, I would like to know.

Obviously I am being facetious here. In my thirty-some years in the Writers Guild of America, I did not hear one member of any race, color or creed seeking to do anything but put African Americans in the best light. Of course there may be some that I missed, but the vast majority of writers and directors I know, virtually all in fact, Jews and non-Jews, bent over backwards to do the right thing in their characterizations of African Americans.

Reverend Lee’s calumny is shameful and racist on the face of it. It comes straight from the pages of
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – the collection of lies about Jews supposedly authored by the Czar’s secret police, exploited by anti-Semites for over a century and used as a justification for death camps. Lee should be ashamed of himself for propagating this nonsense. Not only does he owe a formal apology to the Jewish people, he should start informing himself about the, yes, diversity of all ethnic and religious groups. An apology is not enough. Real reeducation and serious dialogue is necessary.

A pattern emerging:

... these incidents will only continue until someone of stature in the civil rights community issues a zero-tolerance speech of the sort Obama should have given but failed at. In isolation, each subsequent outburst is explicable; in the aggregate they paint a picture of a deep-seeded racism and hatred that have been encouraged by the absence of any censure—the appeasement that we know so well from the Obama/Wright controversy.

More, from the New Centrist

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