Deafening Silence (Vol. 49, Issue 7)
More surprising than the recent exposure of Reverend Jesse Jackson's religious prejudices is the lack of reaction by Democratic candidates and the Jewish leadership.
Neither former Vice President Mondale nor Senator Hart has made an issue of Reverend Jackson’s ‘Hymic-town’ slur. Moreover, they have failed to respond to his close association with black separatist leader Louis Farrakhan, who relishes comparisons between himself and the “wickedly great man” Adolph Hitler. Their silence on these important issues does not necessarily signal their tacit approval. It probably reflects a concession to political expediency, but that in itself is damning.
Should presidential candidates advocate such policies? Do Mondale and Hart's responsibilities extend solely to the Democratic party? While the bravery and initiative of the Jackson campaign should ‘be applauded, injustice and political blunders are not to be ignored. Presidential candidates should be men in search of truth and should not hesitate in their condemnation of prejudice.
Even more frustrating than the candidates silence has been the tenacious effort on the part of our Jewish leaders not to publicly criticize Jackson for fear of widening the rift between blacks and Jews. It is unfortunate that any criticism levelled against Rev. Jackson from a Jewish source, can, and most probably will be considered as anti-black instead of anti anti-semitism. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore a phenomenon that could ultimately destroy us. We, who have suffered so much at the hands of a man whom everyone ignored should know better than to keep silent. Our sages teach us that silence is tantamount to approval, and so far, the silence has been deafening.