Dual Combat against Hate: An Interview with Professor Marc Dollinger

Thursday, July 16, 2020

TRIBEHERALD -- If you’re still reeling a bit from the slew of anti-Semitic comments hurled by DeSean Jackson, Ice Cube and most recently, Nick Cannon, you’re not alone. The public tone of self-proclaimed Jewish allies seems to have shifted slightly, with calls asking for stronger indictments against anti-Semitism, especially from vocal advocates of racial justice.

But are we looking at a parting of ways between white Jews frustrated by anti-Semitic tropes and the movement for Black lives?

Marc Dollinger, the author of several books including “Black Power, Jewish Politics” (Brandeis University Press, 2018) and a Jewish Studies professor at San Francisco State University, believes we have reason to hope.

His reasoning involves taking a look at our history.

“Jews were [statistically] overrepresented in the Civil Rights movement,” he explained in an interview with TribeHerald. “But that doesn’t mean we should stop at self-congratulations… there was more to the story.” In other words, the oft-circulated image of Rabbi Heschel marching from Selma with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 doesn’t actually represent most white Jews at the time. According to Dollinger’s research, the typical white American Jew in the ‘60s was “… at home, in the suburbs, supporting the movement theoretically but not actually … marching.”