The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews

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The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews Volume One
The Secret Relationship cover.jpg
Author Nation of Islam Historical Research Dept.
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Nation of Islam
Publication date
1991
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 334 pp
ISBN 0-9636877-0-0
Henry Gates, head of the department of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, referred to the book as "the Bible of new anti-Semitism"

The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews is a book published in 1991 by the Nation of Islam. The book alleges that Jews dominated the Atlantic slave trade.[1]

The book has been labeled an Antisemitic canard by historians including Saul S. Friedman, who contends that Jews had a minimal role in New World slave trade.[2] Henry Louis Gates, Jr., head of the department of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, called the book "the Bible of new anti-Semitism" and added that "the book massively misinterprets the historical record, largely through a process of cunningly selective quotations of often reputable sources".[3]

The Nation of Islam published Volume Two of The Secret Relationship in 2010, with the subtitle "How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy". The Anti-Defamation League states that Volume Two blames Jews for "promoting a myth of black racial inferiority and makes a range of conspiratorial accusations about Jewish involvement in the slave trade and in the cotton, textiles, and banking industries".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The book was heavily criticized for being antisemitic, and for failing to provide an objective analysis of the role of Jews in the slave trade. Common criticisms were that the book used selective quotes, made "crude use of statistics,"[5] and was purposefully trying to exaggerate the role of Jews.[6]

The Anti-Defamation League criticized the Nation of Islam and the book.[7] Henry Louis Gates Jr. criticized the book's intention and scholarship.[8]

Historian Ralph A. Austen criticized the book, saying that the "distortions are produced almost entirely by selective citation rather than explicit falsehood.... more frequently there are innuendos imbedded in the accounts of Jewish involvement in the slave trade,"[9] and "[w]hile we should not ignore the anti-Semitism of The Secret Relationship..., we must recognize the legitimacy of the stated aim of examining fully and directly even the most uncomfortable elements in our [Black and Jewish] common past."[10] Austen acknowledges that the book was the first book on the subject aimed a non-scholarly audience.[11]

In 1995, in an action unprecedented in its 111-year history, the American Historical Association (AHA) issued a statement condemning "any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic slave trade."[12]

The publication of The Secret Relationship spurred detailed research into the participation of Jews in the Atlantic slave trade, resulting in the publication of the following works, most of which were published specifically to refute the thesis of The Secret Relationship:

  • 1992 – Harold Brackman, Jew on the Brain: A Public Refutation of the Nation of Islam's The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.
  • 1992 – David Brion Davis, "Jews in the Slave Trade," in Culturefront (Fall 1992) pp 42–45.
  • 1993 – Seymour Drescher, "The Role of Jews in the Atlantic Slave Trade," Immigrants and Minorities, 12 (1993), pp 113–125.
  • 1993 – Marc Caplan, Jew-Hatred As History: An Analysis of the Nation of Islam's "The Secret Relationship" (Published by the Anti Defamation League).
  • 1998 – Eli Faber, Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight, New York University Press.
  • 1999 – Saul S. Friedman, Jews and the American Slave Trade, Transaction.

Most post-1991 scholars that analyzed the role of Jews in the overall Atlantic slave trade concluded that it was "minimal," and only identified certain regions (such as Brazil and the Caribbean) where the participation was "significant."[13]

Wim Klooster wrote: "In no period did Jews play a leading role as financiers, shipowners, or factors in the Transatlantic or Caribbean slave trades. They possessed far fewer slaves than non-Jews in every British territory in North America and the Caribbean. Even when Jews in a handful of places owned slaves in proportions slightly above their representation among a town's families, such cases do not come close to corroborating the assertions of The Secret Relationship."[14]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Austen, pp 131-133.
  2. ^ Jews and the American Slave Trade, Saul S. Friedman, Transaction Publishers, 1999 pp. 2, 40.
  3. ^ Allah in the West: Islamic movements in America and Europe By Gilles Kepel, Stanford University Press, 1997 pp. 68-69.
  4. ^ "Farrakhan in his own words", ADL, online.
  5. ^ Austen, p 134.
  6. ^ Austen p 133-134.
  7. ^ Anti-Semitism. Farrakhan In His Own Words. On Jewish Involvement in the Slave Trade and Nation of Islam. Jew-Hatred as History. ADL December 31, 2001.
  8. ^ "Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars", New York Times, 20 July 1002, p. A15.
  9. ^ Austen, p 133.
  10. ^ Austen, p 136.
  11. ^ Austen, p 131. "Until recently, this work remained buried in scholarly journals, read only by other specialists. It had never been synthesized in a publication for non-scholarly audience. A book of this sort has now appeared, however, written not by Jews but by an anonymous group of African Americans associated with the Reverend Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam."
  12. ^ Encyclopedia of American Jewish history, Volume 1, pp. 199.
  13. ^ Drescher: JANCAST: p 455: "only in the Americas - momentarily in Brazil, more durably in the Caribbean - can the role of Jewish traders be described as significant." .. but elsewhere involvement was modest or minimal p 455.
  14. ^ Wim Klooster (University of Southern Maine): Review of Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight. By Eli Faber. Reappraisals in Jewish Social and Intellectual History. William and Mary Quarterly Review of Books. Volume LVII, Number 1. by Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. 2000.

References[edit]

  • Austen, Ralph A., "The Uncomfortable Relationship: African Enslavement in the Common History of Blacks and Jews", in Strangers & neighbors: relations between Blacks & Jews in the United States, Maurianne Adams (Ed.), Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1999, pp 131–135.
  • Brackman, Harold, Jew on the brain: A public refutation of the Nation of Islam's The Secret relationship between Blacks and Jews (self-published), 1992. Later renamed and re-published as Farrakhan's Reign of Historical Error: The Truth behind The Secret Relationship (published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center). Expanded into a book in 1994: Ministry of Lies: The Truth Behind the Nation of Islam's "the Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews" (published by Four Walls, Eight Windows).
  • Caplan, Marc Jew-Hatred As History: An Analysis of the Nation of Islam's "The Secret Relationship" (published by the Anti Defamation League), 1993.
  • Davis, David Brion, "Jews in the Slave Trade", in Culturefront (Fall 1 992) pp 42–45.
  • Drescher, Seymour, "The Role of Jews in the Transatlantic Salve Trade", in Strangers & neighbors: relations between Blacks & Jews in the United States, Maurianne Adams (Ed.), Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1999, pp 105–115.
  • Drescher, Seymour, (EAJH) "Jews and the Slave trade", in Encyclopedia of American Jewish history, Volume 1, Stephen Harlan (Ed.), 1994, page 414-416.
  • Drescher, Seymour, (JANCAST) "Jews and New Christians in the Atlantic Slave Trade" in The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, 1400-1800, Paolo Bernardini (Ed.), 2004, p 439-484.
  • Faber, Eli, Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight, New York University Press, 1998.
  • Friedman, Saul S. Jews and the American Slave Trade, Transaction, 1999.
  • Hastings, James, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Scribners, 1910.
  • Graetz, Heinrich, Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart: 11 vols. (History of the Jews; 1853–75), impr. and ext. ed., Leipzig: Leiner; reprinted: 1900, reprint of the edition of last hand (1900): Berlin: arani, 1998, ISBN 3-7605-8673-2. English translation by Philipp Bloch.
  • Raphael, Marc Lee, Jews and Judaism in the United States a Documentary History (New York: Behrman House, Inc., Pub, 1983).
  • Roth, Cecil, A history of the marranos, Meridian Books, 1959.
  • Schorsch, Jonathan, Jews and blacks in the early modern world, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Sombart, Werner, (1911): Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben. Leipzig: Duncker. The Jews and Modern Capitalism. http://mailstar.net/sombart-jews-capitalism.pdf
  • Wiznitzer, Arnold, Jews in colonial Brazil, Columbia University Press, 1960.