I’m sharing this here with Lew because it touches upon what Richard Thornbourn was saying at The Occidental Observer about Southern Jews:
“Southern Jews became social chameleons, changing their colors so as to blend into the background. Evidence of this need to belong was everywhere. Traditional religious observance was often as low as intermarriage was high.”
Lots of Southern Jews privately supported the Civil Rights Movement, but the vast majority of them were not actively involved in pushing for it:
“Jews understood above all that the continued goodwill of white Gentiles could only be guaranteed through their uncritical acceptance of the southern caste system. Although most southern Jews sympathized with the incipient Civil Rights Movement, political realities compelled their silence. When the northern journalist John Gunther attended a social function in Natchez, Mississippi, shortly after the Second World War, he made the mistake of expressing sympathy for the plight of African Americans. In his words, “Several leading citizens almost broke blood vessels trying to exclaim that I must be a ‘Communist’ or ‘be influenced by Jews’ to hold such views.” Faced with this pervasive sense of suspicion, southern Jews were forced to watch their every word and action. According to an opinion poll conducted in 1959, southern Jews were considerably more supportive of civil rights initiatives than were white Gentiles. So successfully, however, had Jews concealed their true convictions that only 15 percent of Gentiles believed them to be in favor of integration; 67 percent confessed not to know how Jews felt.
Even in cities with a relatively progressive reputation, such as Dallas and Little Rock, Jews carefully avoided controversy. The same was true in Atlanta, arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the South. According to sociologist Solomon Sutker, Jews “were conspicuous by their lack of active political participation.”
The moral of the story is that omnipotent Jews do not exist: the behavior of Jews in any given society is determined in large part by the culture of their host society and its attitude toward Jews.
In places like the South where Whites were extremely racially conscious and militantly policed the color line with Klan bombings, Council boycotts, social ostracism, lynchings, and social disrepute, Jews may have disagreed with the status quo, but it wasn’t “good for the Jews” to challenge it, and self interest dictated that Jews blend in and avoid attracting attention to themselves.
Unlike the North, the South was a very homogeneous society. Dixie was overwhelmingly Protestant, the White population was overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic, and the South was conservative and monolithic in its racial customs and militant about enforcing them.
In the early twentieth century, the North was ethnically and religiously in chaos. It was liberal in orientation and had civil rights laws dating back to Reconstruction. Racial consciousness was relatively weak there compared to the South. The North’s industrial economy also had Whites far more pitted against each other along class, ethnic, and religious lines than in the South.
Jews thrived in these huge urban ant heaps like New York City. In a place like rural Arkansas, which were the exact opposite of a “melting pot,” Jews much more easily fell under suspicion.