Jewish calls for reparations for Black Americans

With presidential debates just around the corner, one of the many current issues trailing closely behind the pandemic crisis will most probably be future reparations for African Americans.
Given the horrific police brutality charges and subsequent events of recent months, the long dormant issue of reparations for Black Americans, 200 years of both slavery and repression, has been brought to the open forum.
The Union for Reform Judaism has already voted at its biennial meeting to support a federal commission to study and develop proposals for reparations to African Americans for slavery.
A Congressional bill, to study and develop reparations, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th District), would establish such a commission from the 116th Congress. It is referred to as H.R. 40.
While other Jewish religious denominations have not yet publicly made a decision on their position on reparations for African Americans, you can be sure that it is a topic of discussion.
Jews are no strangers to reparations, especially if we are or know someone who received some form of reparation from Germany, France or other European country as a result of a loss from the Holocaust during World War II.
For many survivors who have received some form of compensation and continue to receive, no amount of financial benefit will ever make their lives whole again.
On another front, we have never come to terms with the issue of land treaties with our own Native Americans. The issues are widespread and difficult, but not impossible.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which was to compensate Japanese Americans for their needless internment during World War II, resulted in $20,000 going to each survivor.
Government testimony concluded that racial prejudice and war hysteria, not military necessity, had caused the Japanese internment of World War II.
The task facing Congress, according to H.R. 40 is, “to address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations…”
Given the current realities of fighting the coronavirus and the contentious political atmosphere in which we will soon find ourselves, the issue of reparations for Black Americans may not be at the forefront; but, it is there and we must think seriously as Jews about our moral responsibility in helping to right a long forgotten wrong.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Scott Mackler

    Time for Jerry to retire as a columnist. His already radical leftist political views are becoming even more extreme. Now, echoing the Democrat party line espoused by the Reform Movement, he appears to advocate for the paying of so-called “reparations” to people who never lived as slaves, funded by those innocents who never held slaves. Reparations are simply another shiny object being wielded to deflect from the failed policies of the Democrats who now run almost every large US city.

    If we believe in individual accountability, reparations in the case of the United States are simply both unjust and immoral

Leave a Reply