By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
The Hebrew Israelite denied there was a Holocaust. "My granddaddy died....He was killed in the Holocaust," the man said.
"Fuck that!" the Israelite responded. "I'm honest. I don't give a damn if he was killed in the Holocaust." Blacks, he added, suffered worse atrocities than "the so-called Jews" but Jews never talk about that.
"Y'all didn't go through no Holocaust!" the Israelite snapped. "And 6 million Jews didn't even get kilt in that Holocaust!"
"There was a holocaust before that," the man retorted.
"What about them? Pilgrims?" The Israelite seemed lost. How much of the Jew's tragic history had he nullified? When the Jewish pro tester disclosed that one of his parents is Puerto Rican, the Israelite lectured him on the Spanish conquest of the island and the evils of race mixing.
"That's why we got a lot of Puerto Ricans [who] look like you," the Israelite said, adding, with the same blasphemous tongue, that the late reggae king, Bob Marley, was not a pure black man. "If you look at Bob Marley, he's the so-called white man," the Israelite said. "His grandmother was white. His father [was] a white man."
"There are no winners here," a Jewish protester conceded.
Farther down the street, six young Jewish women were surrounded by a group of blacks and Latinos, who included Harlem activist Delois Blakey, a black former Catholic nun and assistant to the late Garveyite Queen Mother Moore. "There has been a lotta dialogue going on," said Blakey, alluding to a heated quarrel that had broken out among black militants and white members of the "October 23 labor/black mobilization to stop the KKK." Of course, the beef was about race.
"Now," said Blakey, updating a reporter, "they're talking about the differences between the Jews and the blacksthe white skin privilege." Blakey recalled that a black spokeswoman for her group had lambasted one of the Jewish women who tried to argue that the black struggle for racial justice is similar to some Jewish causes. "So the question was raised, is she [the Jewish woman] willing to go back and bring others that think like her be cause she [the disbelieving black spokeswoman] is not gonna accept her as one," Blakey explained.
Blakey said the entire group also had de bated the contentious issue of reparations, "payback [for blacks], since the Jews [Holocaust victims who are getting back millions in deposits stolen by the Nazis] get paid every year." The argument reached its most volatile pitch when the Jewish activist said she was only trying to help blacks overcome white racism.
"We got one Jewish girl over here...." announced the spokeswoman for the blacks. "Okay? Let's get it going. We got five nice Jewish people over here and a nigger lover that saying they wanna help us. So let's see if we can git this party started. We got a Jewish girl over here claiming to help...."
"You know what," the Jewish activist interrupted, "the second I talk, you shut me down!...I'm simply saying all white people are racist and I'm here to show you I'm me."
"Because you're the white nigga?" her opponent scoffed.
"Fine! So we are," the Jewish activist said. "But you know what I'm telling you, that I'm here. I'm here!"
One of the Jewish women intervened: "We really need to scrutinize ourselves and maybe we'd work a little harder."
"See you at the club tonight," a black man heckled. "See you at the dancehall...." But the woman ignored him, pointing out that she understood how blacks react when they are stereotyped because she's sometimes tailed in department stores by people who think she looks Jewish and is there to steal.
"I'm sitting here saying, I have white privilege, and because I have white privilege that would make me white, right?" She said she has been reaching out to other "people who are white," telling them it is time that they admit that "all white people are racists....The KKK are not the only racists. There's racists everywhere!"
Nothing the woman said convinced her black accusers that she felt their pain, that she knew what it is like to be black in America. "You have to cleanse yourself, become natural," a black man suggested.
"The white man made you," another protester declared.
"Why do you want me to become natural?" the woman asked. "What should I do to become natural?" When the reference to ethnic cleansing seemed too painfully obvious to ignore, the woman, tired and sobbing, blurted out, "Six million people got fucking killed...." This fight club broke up as police moved in, ordering protesters to clear the streets.
Back at Foley Square, three black men tried to remind a phalanx of battle-ready cops why protesters were reluctant to disperse. A black officer said he was only doing his job and would arrest anti-Klan demonstrators who behaved violently.
"We're here fighting for you, too, brother," one of the black men said. "We're fighting for all of y'all....Y'all should never have them [the Klan] standing on that ground. We shoulda never let them off the bus....We're all together now: blacks and whites, Chinese, Jewish. We're all together now."