The belief that Israel is analogous to apartheid South Africa or Jim Crow America has no basis in history.
“On Saturday, after sixteen years of siege, Hamas militants broke out of Gaza. More than 1,300 Israelis were subsequently killed with over one hundred more taken hostage…”
That’s from the letter Coates signed decrying Israel that was sent to The New York Review of Books. His was the first name on the list of signatures.
The letter, written a week after the October 7 massacre, was a litany of Israel’s misdeeds and sins. The closest the signers could come to acknowledging the slaughter, the mass rapes, the mutilations, the killing of babies and the kidnapping of toddlers were the two sentences above. The bit about the “militants” who “broke out.”
Moral failure on this scale probably needs to be remembered.
“What’s more, it is not the European Jews but the Mizrahi Jews—who are difficult to visually distinguish from Palestinians—that form most of the voting base of the right-wing parties that Israel’s critics consider to be the truly racist ones.”
Fascinating. Another example of something I’ve learned in the FP & would rarely see anywhere else - because it doesn’t “fit the narrative”.
Bravo Coleman! People throw the word brilliant around, but in this case that adjective doesn’t do your piece justice. Thoughtful, insightful, and full of facts that the legacy media doesn’t deem worthy to
print since it doesn’t fit their agenda. Keep writing and shining a clear light on what needs to be said. In a world where facts and history take a back seat to overwrought opinions and misguided theories, we need your calm common sense approach to debunk the nonsense. I can’t wait until your book comes out.
The book Israelophobia by Jake Wallis Simons goes into great detail about these claims and where they originate from. Ch 4 --Falsification. Many of these claims date back to the SIG or Sionistskiya Gosudarstva The man who initially headed the project was Yuri Andropov, ironically someone who hid his Jewish heritage. The aim was to create a rabid and demented hatred of American Zionism. The Apartheid smear first got big play in the pamphlet 'Zionism and Aparthied' which is a reworking of Yevgeny Yevseyev's Fascism Under the Blue Star. Yevseyeyev was prolific Zionologist as the Kremlin disinformation specialists were called.
It is interesting that the falsehoods persist to this day and are so readily swallowed by the Far Left. If you have not read the book, it is very interesting and does help to explain the far Left's obsession with Israel and indeed Jews.
There was also a split in the Black civil rights movement between MLK jr who supported Israel and the Nation of Islam adherents like Farrkhan who were opposed. Farrakhan is of course a known anti-Semite. Angela Davis was further radicalised in the PLO camps. Because the Soviet influence, it was a popular far Left cause and seen as a way to destabilize the west.
Hughes did speak about the Mizrahi Jews who were expelled from Middle Eastern countries starting in 1950 and who make up slightly more than half of the Israeli Jewish population. Out of the entire Jewish population in Yemen one remains. Before WW2, there were 70k. There are 100 Yemeni Jews living in the US and 400k living in Israel. (One could suggest that Arab leaders in forcibly expelling their Jewish population ended up putting more population pressure on Israel and indeed the area). When one speaks of ethnic cleansing, compare and contrast the Jewish population in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq etc pre 1950 to what it is in 1960 and indeed today. Note they did not take Palestinian refugees in return either.
And when we are speaking of the Jewish refugees from Europe, it is worth remembering that a number were still sheltering in former concentrations camps like Dachau (a place where Patton vomited) back in the early 1950s. I know this because my grandfather was a serving US Naval officer at the time and posted to Frankfurt. My grandmother who disliked being bored, helped with the refugee camps including getting people resettled in Israel. She also kept a scrapbook. One of the pages deals with Dachau. How long should the world have kept them in the former concentration camps? They were unable to return home for various reasons.
Where are the descendants of the refugees supposed to go? Israel has provided an answer for thousands who had nowhere else to go. Who still have nowhere else to go.
Coates' clumsy attempt at the analogy between the Jim Crow South and the Israel/Palestine conflict shows how shallow his argumentation is. It's as if he hasn't bothered to learn history outside of the North American subcontinent - and is thus incapable of seeing the world through a different lens. Imagine thinking the world and all its problems are just that simple. It's quite facile honestly. Perhaps he is better suited for comic books than journalism, public conversation, or writing about civil rights.
Fantastic piece. I love Coleman’s work whether podcast or writing. He’s one of our brightest stars in the current culture wars. Brilliant. We need him. And yes: Young people today just simply don’t think. Critical and independent thinking is long gone, replaced by dumb tribal warfare and TikTok. It’s pretty damn pathetic. I wish they cared about facts, history, debate, knowledge, but they simply don’t. That time is over. We’re in Orwell Land now. It happened, people.
Sincere American Writing
It is interesting how those who decry colonization actually colonize conflicts around the world. It's not just a simplistic view to say everything is about skin color, its ignorant and insulting. Peoples, nations, ethnicities have their own histories having nothing to do with America's racial issues.
These "decolonizers," with their Western-centric view of global controversies, ignore the actual underlying issues that stoke much of the world's active conflicts. In effect, these decolonizers dehumanize those who are enmeshed in ongoing internecine tragedies by making everything about the color of a person's skin.
Thanks for this excellent article. If only the MSM could actually INFORM people of the truth instead of merely confirming the Hamas propaganda machine
Thank you! You didn’t “have” to write this. And I’m sure you will take heat for it in some quarters. But the intelligence, reason, and objective moral clarity you represent is so needed right now. And, by making us feel “seen”, you are also helping to assuage the terrible existential loneliness so many Jews are currently experiencing
I don't disagree with your article, but Jew-hatred is so embedded in the black community now that there is no excising it. The hatred is fanatic, insatiable, and irrevocable.
It began to crystallize with Malcolm X land the 60s "New Left" and the combination of Marxism and Islam has made it endemic.
From Malcolm X to Angela Davis to Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton to Farrakhan to the Squad (heck, the entire Congressional Black Caucus), it seems that their aim for Israel and the Jews is a second Holocaust.
I read somewhere years back: "You can have your own Opinion, But you cannot have your own Facts". And yet, that's exactly what's happening now. The amount of ignorance on display is breathtaking. Excellent article.
There are facts. There is reality. And then there is the thrill of joining a protest, shouting slogans, singing songs, posting photos and videos all over social media to show how “virtuous, liberal minded, sophisticated” you are. Yay! Look at me everybody! I’m on the side of the righteous, I’m fighting oppression! Sadly... the attraction of the virtue signaling is so much more appealing than facts and reality.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is considered by many to be America’s leading public intellectual on race? His race-baiting has been on display for years, but that's just what the Left wanted to slurp up like momma's cookies. I've thought that Thomas Sowell is America's leading public intellectual on race.
Mr Coleman hits the bullseye again. It is easy to use inflammatory words and statements to rile up the masses especially when the voices of power ( MSM, certain congressmen , academia) do not define the terms ( apartheid comes to mind) or actually analyze the actual facts or justify their conclusions. The black jewish schism is real and is not new . Rather, it is now on full display as the oppressor- oppressed narrative has become the talking point of the left whose objectives are not limited to Israel or Jews. Voices like Mr Hughes and other black writers such as Jason Riley and Wilfred Reilly are critical at this time. It is telling that many( though fewer today than six weeks ago as some have opened their eyes) jews in America are still quick to defend Coates et al while making derogatory comments about Riley, Reilly and their mentor of sorts Thomas Sowell. Bari and company: this is another great debate topic for a panel of black writers from both sides of the aisle. These issues need as much sunshine as possible and those who make their inflammatory comments need to challenged and challenged again and again.
one parallel that i *do* see between black racism and the situation in Israel is how the sympathy with the victim is wholly dependent on the perpetrator. black people who die at the hands of other black people are like palestinians who suffer at the hands of Arabs. they don't count. it doesn't register on anyone's outrage meter.
black people who die at the hands of white people, and Palestinians who suffer at the hands of Israel are centers of cause celebes, poster people for the existence of oppressing, etc etc. Very sad.
Mr. Hughes, I appreciate the history and context you provide in this piece, especially with regard to Jews being the indigenous population of the land that comprises modern day Israel - "Whereas Europeans had no claim to belong in the New World, Jews are indigenous to the land and have lived there continuously for millennia." However, when you make reference to Israeli "...policies in the occupied West Bank..." you lose me and any reader versed in the history of the Palestinian Israeli conflict. According to the UN Resolution 242, the land is disputed until an agreement can be reached between the parties. Since, as you have also so accurately pointed out, that "Palestinian leaders have rejected every partition offer they have ever received.." there is still no agreement and, therefore, the often used narrative of Israeli occupied land does not apply. These lands - Judea and Samaria - are part of the Biblical heritage of the indigenous Jewish people. They cut across the center of modern day Israel. They are disputed, not occupied, because the Palestinians don't want peace and never have. They want the biblical lands, just like they want the Temple Mount, so they can destroy any evidence of Jewish life in the land of Israel. Just like they have done on the Temple Mount. Ariel Sharon was wrong to call these lands occupied just because Palestinians claim them as theirs. Israel has just as much, if not more, right to the land than the Arabs who lived there at the time of the partition plan. In fact, the Jews who lived there also were called Palestinian. Rome gave them that name, not any indigenous history. But Israel takes care of their Palestinian Arabs better than any other Arab country ever has and gets only derision for it. Israel cares so much for the "civilian" Palestinian population in Gaza that they are willing to let who knows how many terrorists escape under the guise of humanitarian relief. The additonal war that needs to be fought is the war of words and narratives so that Hamas and all the other Arab Countries, not Israel, get the blame for not taking care of their people.