Review: Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights

Clive Webb, Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights
Clive Webb, Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights

Dixie

Clive Webb’s Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights complicates the traditional White Nationalist narrative of the Civil Rights Movement and the Jewish Question.

At the outset, Webb takes us on a tour of Southern history and reminds us that Jews were staunch supporters of secession, served in prominent roles in the Confederate government, never played much of a role in the abolitionist movement, and even condemned and in some cases opposed Reconstruction.

The South was settled by Sephardic Jews in the 17th and 18th centuries who were accustomed to the culture of slavery and white supremacy due to their background in the slave trade in the Caribbean and Latin America. Ashkenazi Jews settled in Southern cities in smaller numbers in the 19th century and typically embraced the traditional pattern of harmonious Jew-Gentile relations.

By the early twentieth century, the South was the least anti-Semitic region of the United States. In the Old South, the planter class had traditionally opposed ethnic and religious bigotry, and accepted Jews and Catholics into the Southern elite in order to maintain a united front for slavery and white supremacy. In the New South, Protestant Christians admired Jews as God’s “Chosen People.”

Southern Jews reciprocated by accepting the South’s traditional racial mores (even if they privately objected to those mores) as the price of access to the commercial and social opportunities in mainstream White Southern society. It was also a way of deflecting attention away from Jews and onto blacks as the region’s threatening minority.

When the Civil Rights Movement erupted in the 1950s, Southern Jews had done almost nothing to advance the cause of negro equality. Instead, they had grown rich during the Jim Crow era by specializing in retail trade where they had enforced the local segregation laws for generations in their department stores in Southern cities like Little Rock, Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a celebrity during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, Montgomery’s own Jewish community refused to support the boycott. When the Freedom Riders arrived in Birmingham in 1962, they were condemned as uninvited outside agitators by Birmingham’s Jewish community.

In the 1963 demonstrations in Birmingham in which Bull Connor used water hoses and attack dogs on black school children, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth were attempting to integrate several of the Jewish-owned downtown department stores. In fact, Rabbi Milton Grafman was one of the White moderates condemned by the Rev. Martin Luther King in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

In 1965, hundreds of Northern Jews came to Selma to participate in the Selma-to-Montgomery March, where Jews owned the downtown department stores which were being boycotted and disrupted with sit ins by local civil rights activists. Selma’s Jews resented the national Jewish organizations which were supporting the Civil Rights Movement and attracting negative publicity to the city.

In Mississippi, the hundreds of Northern Jews who came to Hattiesburg to participate in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer aroused the ire of the local Jewish community. In the Mississippi Delta, the local Jews created their own Jewish organization, and denounced the New York Jews who were fomenting social revolution in their midst.

In South Carolina, the Jewish Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Solomon Blatt, was a key leader in the massive resistance movement. A minority of Southern Jews like Sol Tepper of Selma, Charles Bloch of Georgia, and Al Binder of Mississippi were outspoken segregationists. The majority of Southern Jews were social chameleons like Dick Rich of Atlanta and Louis Pizitz of Birmingham who privately supported the Civil Rights Movement, but who did almost nothing to advance the cause.

Of the approximately 200 Southern rabbis who could have taken a public stand in favor of desegregation, a total of 9 were active participants in the Civil Rights Movement: 3 of them were born outside the United States, 3 were born in the South, and 3 were Northern transplants. In Atlanta alone, 312 White ministers supported Rabbi Jacob Rothschild in opposing the closing of Atlanta’s public schools.

The White resistance in the South was divided over the Jewish Question and how to respond to desegregation. The Citizens’ Councils were mainstreamers who believed in economic boycotts, social ostracism, and electing strong segregationists to public office. They accepted Jews as members and purged anti-Semites from their ranks in order to maintain an air of respectability.

The Klan and other vanguardist elements preferred to bomb synagogues and black churches and engage in other types of violence. In most cases, the synagogues which were targeted had refused to support the Civil Rights Movement, and the strategy backfired by creating sympathy for Jews which only further emboldened them. The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was a public relations disaster that expedited the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the end, the White resistance failed to preserve segregation, but its demise had little to do with Southern Jews who were paralyzed by fear and sat on the sidelines through most of the conflict. The plight of the segregationists can be seen most clearly in the career of George Wallace who was defeated, not by Alabama’s Jews, but by federal court orders, federal troops, federal laws, a federal electorate and finally by a bullet in the back from a deranged Northern leftist.

If George Wallace had been running for President of the Confederacy, he would have won in a landslide and Jim Crow would have been saved. Instead, Martin Luther King Day is now a federal holiday in Alabama and the  “Stand in the Schoolhouse” door has become something we apologize for in this state.

Clive Webb reminds us that Jim Crow was destroyed from the outside, not sabotaged from within.

About Hunter Wallace 12367 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

51 Comments

  1. jeppo is right that we made a huge mistake by not seceding in the 1960s. In hindsight, it was a folly to believe we could “Take Back America.” The Northeast is even more anti-White now than it was then.

  2. “If the federal government was gone, Detroit would be rid of it’s niggers faster and cleaner than the South, with it’s MILLIONS of them (plus all the new Mexicans), could ever dream of.”

    Standing army of millions .Inescapable from a beucratic government.

  3. Re: Lew

    The South’s Jewish Question is still its relationship with the North where 4 out of 5 Jews in America still live.

    The small town Southern Jews which used to live in places like Selma, Demopolis, Dothan and other cities are dying out. Florida’s elderly Jews will also die out without us having to lift a finger.

  4. 313Chris is wrong.

    Mitt Romney’s father was a big supporter of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Michigan voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and voted for Obama twice. Senator Philip Hart of the Hart-Cellar Act, otherwise known as the Immigration Act of 1965, was from Michigan.

    You can’t rape the willing.

  5. Heads up.

    My upcoming article on immigration will show the South rejected the Immigration Act of 1965, the 1986 IRCA amnesty, the Immigration Act of 1990, the DREAM Act of 2010 and Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2007.

    OTOH, the South supported the Immigration Act of 1996 and the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Because of the existence of the Union, the South has been deluged by unwanted illegal aliens and legal immigrants and we never got the border fence or the enforcement of federal immigration laws that we supported.

  6. @Hunter

    Southern-born President Lyndon Johnson signed both of those bills into law, of his free will. You can’t rape the willing, indeed.

  7. Neither the Immigration Act of 1965 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have cleared the House or the Senate in a Southern Congress. The only reason LBJ signed both bills was because he was an accidental president in a Northern dominated party.

  8. Hi Apuleius. I am not Mosin. He is not me. My computer crashed. I have to get a new one tomorrow. The Motherboard is blinking out. I write to Mosin. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was copying and pasting, when I reloaded the addresses and ID’s for lots of stuff, as well as talk on the phone for techie advice on my issues. (What computer should I buy etc?) I was in the middle of an Email, trying to do too much at one time, switching back and forth, and copied the wrong stuff cause I am a total retardate. Now I know what his email etc, to log on. But I can’t begin to write the way he does.

  9. @Hunter

    “Neither the Immigration Act of 1965 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have cleared the House or Senate in a Southern Congress.”

    – But there never was a “Southern Congress”, just an American one where every Southern state and Congressional district had a voice and a vote like everyone else, so you have no excuse.

    “The only reason LBJ signed both bills was because he was an accidental president..”

    – Bullshit. He defeated Hubert Humphrey fair and square in 1964.

    “..in a Northern dominated party.”

    – Also bullshit. The Democratic party was solidly Southern until about 1968.

    “LBJ enacted JFK’s civil rights and immigration agenda..”

    – Which he personally approved of, and, as evidenced by his re-election, his Southern voting constituency approved of as well.

    “..after he was assassinated.”

    – Your point? He signed the bills. He didn’t have to, but he did. So thank you very much to the South.

  10. @Apuleius

    “Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. He wasn’t elected until that November.”

    – That’s right. He signed the Civil Rights Act, and then the South overwhelmingly re-elected him. The South renigged. Thank you for clarifying.

    Deo Vindice

  11. 1.) That’s right.

    There wasn’t a Confederate Congress. Because of the existence of the Union, there was an American Congress that included Yankees, and because Southerners were less than 1/3 of that Congress we got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration Act of 1965.

    2.) True.

    No Yankee was more identified with the Civil Rights Movement than Hubert Humphrey. Because of the existence of the Union, LBJ was beholden to a Northern electorate and had to move far to the left on “civil rights” in order to win the Democratic nomination for president.

    3.) Sorry, but that isn’t true.

    The South was less than 1/3 of America in the 1960s. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties were dominated by their Northern wings. That’s why the Southerner was traditionally chosen as Vice President and it is why LBJ like Truman before him pandered so hard to the Northern wing of the party.

    4.) LBJ would have never been elected president in a Southern nation-state. There would have been no need to run against a Yankee and compete in the electoral college in non-Southern states.

    5.) He signed both bills as president of the United States, fully conscious that what he was doing was appealing to Northern voters, which you would know if you had taken the time to read his biographers.

  12. Hunter, you are starting to sound like a WN blaming Jews for everything, or even worse, a negro who blames YT.

  13. Hunter’s case for being anti-union is stronger than the white nationalist case for being obsessed with Jews.

    That said, even if the South broke away, I don’t think in this day of age it’s reasonable to start imposing race laws that existed in say 1950. I agree that the Union used the race issue as an excuse to control the south.

  14. Feel free to show me how I am wrong.

    If the South was an independent nation, there would be no Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act, and there would be no Immigration Act of 1965, IRCA amnesty of 1986, Immigration Act of 1990, DREAM Act or now “comprehensive immigration reform.”

  15. Hunter, I gave a speech for Wallace in 1964, NOT on the law and order theme. Some local blue collar town people and many poor rural folks voted American Independent, but most union members followed instructions to vote Democrat. Sad memory.

    Re: “Hunter, you are starting to sound like…”

    you’re blaming WHITES north of the Line for EVERYTHING. I keep hoping you will discover the spiritual conflict going on beneath the surface.

    • Wallace’s fatal mistake was believing he could for run for president, water down his rhetoric, and get Northern conservatives to vote for him.

      If he had chosen resistance instead of submission in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa in 1963, he would have ignited a revolution. The same is true of Barnett in Mississippi in 1962 when violence was only averted at last moment.

  16. You are correct that the Union pressured the south to change.

    You haven’t proved that the south would have stayed the same to this very day without that.

    Just because you survive a heart attack doesn’t mean you won’t die of lung cancer.

  17. “If he had chosen resistance instead of submission in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa in 1963, he would have ignited a revolution.” To be a politician is to be craven, as a rule. He caved completely later. People keep voting for these spineless politicians.

  18. Important timely issues of more unjust foreign invasions and Fourth Amendment violations by the Federal Tyranny are being ignored while we learn to appreciate the beneficial nuances of “Southern Judaism”.

  19. There is no reason to believe that the South on its own would have evolved into the society that it is today. On the contrary, we know that the South would have chosen a radically different course on any number of issues from abortion to gay marriage.

  20. The history of the South in the 20th century can be summed up as victory at the state level and defeat at the federal level. Alabama’s HB 56 is a wonderful example of this.

  21. No, but using history a compass, there is every reason to believe that the South on it’s own would have gone the way of Haiti.

  22. Tribunes are elected to defend the rights of the poor against the Elite. Was Wallace elected as such by the poor whites of Alabama? This is another pointless distraction from what is important.

  23. The biggest reason we didn’t fight back in the 1960s is because men like George Wallace were veterans of WW2 who considered themselves “American patriots” and simply couldn’t fathom BRA being imposed on them.

  24. The notion that the South somehow imposed the Civil Rights Act on itself is risible.

    Who can take these two clowns seriously? Hunter, you have the patience of a saint.

    Deo Vindice

  25. I do agree that the south wouldn’t have become the north if left alone.

    Even with the meddling of the North, the south HAS NOT become the North. The rare times I’ve traveled, the differences are easily noticeable in culture, accent, housing style, etc. This difference is even noticeable in Virginia.

    On the other hand, I think it’s likely that Blacks would still have been given “rights” in some form even without northern interference. Though it’s hard for me to predict exactly how this would have occurred.

  26. Lots of silly comments from trolls.

    In Haiti at that time blacks outnumbered Whites 10 to 1. Also, they were a bunch of Frenchies who fornicated with the black females, so what do you expect.

    You’d think that Tarantino would have made a movie about slavery in Haiti and the revolution there, that was revenge killing on a massive scale.

  27. If this keeps up, we are going to have to go back to comment moderation.

    Hunter, it’s unreal that someone who put together that excellent series of point-form recommendations regarding the successful management of blogs and forums is so incapable of heeding his own advice. Ultimately the fault is yours that retards have free rein to degenerate discussions into moronic flame wars. Banning the most recalcitrant retards (as well as, perhaps, chronic dissimulators like Iceman, but he’s your long time partner in crime, so I get it) would unquestionably be addition by subtraction. Try it, you might find you like it.

  28. I do agree that the south wouldn’t have become the north if left alone.

    Of course not, anyone who believes that is ignorant of history and the Southern people. We were desegregated at gunpoint.

    However, so much of our culture and people have been eroded at this point, if we seceded without reinstituting old laws and without pro-White policies, we wouldn’t be much better than those damn Yankees because we’re following in their footsteps.

  29. Re: Silver

    Yes, I know.

    It’s my own fault. I’m too lazy to nanny the comments in the way that Paul does on SBPDL. I’m also too accustomed to letting everyone have their say to constantly interject to control the flow of conversations.

    The OD comment section:

  30. This is another pointless distraction from what is important.

    No. Politicians are not “craven” as a rule, what nonsense. What’s craven is changing laws to give poors, negroes, and other ignorants the power to elect rabble-rousers. In this sense yes most American politicians are craven these days though that was not always the case.

  31. Yet they ARE (as a rule) craven or spineless, and shape-shifting ON ISSUES to win elections and polls and maintain popularity. They stand only for themselves. They are fearlessly, ruthlessly UN-heroic to protect and advance their careers, power and fame. Most of them that hold higher offices are lawyers, enough said.

  32. When it comes to voting in elections, for the positions above the local level those are (with very few exceptions) the only politicians we have to choose among.

  33. Mosin you seem to be trying to reduce the essence of the US political system to individual personalities by induction. The system exists independent of [the character traits of] certain ‘great’ or ‘craven’ men, they are interchangeable. The cause of Anglo-US cultural decline is structural, there is pride derived from LACK of Censorship, it is not due to fast-talking lawyers. Jesus Christ, you are such a fucking hick.

  34. “The system exists independent of [the character traits of] certain ‘great’ or ‘craven’ men, they are interchangeable. The cause of Anglo-US cultural decline is structural… not due to fast-talking lawyers (…) you (…) hick… ”

    Given the right STRUCTURE, a better SYSTEM, then, regardless of leadership, the cultural decline could be reversed — and in the current, flawed system it is difficult or impossible for even the BEST men to do good?

    The “heroic view of history” that progress (out of crisis or decline) as well as our Salvation requires “the right individual at the right time” is not a “hick” notion.

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