Did Mother Africa Produce Both? Though European Whites who professed Christianity and Middle-Eastern Arabs who embraced Islam both bloodied their hands in the slavery of Black Africans at various harbors in the stream of time, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, published by the Nation Of Islam (NOI), well documents the checkered past of Jewish involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. And why not? The Jews are quick to point out the relationship between The Third Reich and the Catholic Church during the Holocaust (or, Shoal), and most justifiably so. But what might strike some as odd is the possibility that Blacks and Jews have a common point of origin.
No, I’m not talking about the broad, sweeping consensus of scientific thought as reflected in the Genome Project that all life began in Africa, hence, everyone taxonomically is of African descent. I refer to the more immediate familial relationship between Blacks and Jews. It is, to be sure, both an “open secret” as well as a “semi-secret.” Webster’s Ninth defines an “open secret” as “a supposedly secret by generally known matter.” A “semi-secret” is related in that it means something “not publicly announced but widely known.” The sum of both definitions? ‘Hiding in plain sight.’
African-educated Moses, the man the Jews revere as Yehowah Elohim’s (or, Jehovah God’s) custodian of The Five Books of Moses, or Torah, chronicled the origin of the nation of Israel in the most popular book ever written, the Holy Bible. In it he writes that after the ten sons of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel after wrestling all night with an angel) sold their youngest brother Joseph to a band of Africans from Egypt called Ishmaelites, Joseph became a slave of dark-skinned Africans. (Gen. 37:25-36) The Black wife of a powerful Black official tried to seduce. Failing in her attempts, she screamed rape and had the young man thrown in prison. (Gen. 39:1-23) But God was with him.
Through divine providence Joseph eventually became prime minister of Egypt, being placed in charge of food supplies in preparation of a famine that God had foretold through Pharaoh in a mysterious dream that Joseph correctly interpreted. (Gen. 41:1-57) In the course of time, Joseph’s father Jacob and all his kin, totaling about seventy, navigated their way to Egypt to escape the harsh famine that gripped the land. Up until this point they were all known as Hebrews, so named after Jacob’s grandfather, “Abram the Hebrew.” (Gen. 14:13) Instead of being called a Jew, Joseph was identified as “a young man, a Hebrew.” (Gen. 39:14, 17; 41:12) Joseph himself said that he was “kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews.” (Gen. 40:15) But when Jacob and his family sat foot on African soil, the Motherland became pregnant with the Jewish nation!
Although just seventy when they came to Africa, the newborn nation of Israel numbered 600,000 men over age twenty, besides women and children, estimated to bring the grand total to at least two million Israelites that exited Egypt after God visited ten devastating plagues on the land. (Ex. 1:7; 12:37; Num. 1:2, 3, 45, 46) The new African-born Jewish nation trekked through the desert and finally reached Mount Sinai where, through Moses, they entered into a contract or covenant relationship with Yehowah Elohim. So, while other races or branches of the human family were born in various parts of the world stretching from Alaska to Australia, the Jewish nation came directly from the Motherland: AFRICA.
When the historic dust of the African desert settles down, a captivating picture materializes that adds a new wrinkle to our story. In discussing the Diasporic African-Jewish relationship in the context of slavery, what may well turn scholarship upside down is the reality that Black Africans in Egypt enslaved Jews in North Africa. And in a convoluted twist of irony, centuries later Jews returned the favor according to The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, mentioned above. But who really is a “Jew”?
Insight on the Scriptures, an internationally-known two-volume multilingual Bible encyclopedia that boasts a circulation of at least one million copies in English, defines “Jew” as “A person belonging to the tribe of Judah.” However, it goes on to expand: “The name is not used in the Bible account prior to the fall of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The southern kingdom was called Judah, and the people were called sons of Judah or the tribe of the sons of Judah. The first one to use the name Jews was the writer of the books of Kings, doubtless Jeremiah, whose prophetic service began in 647 B.C.E. (See 2 Ki 16:6; 25:25.) After the exile the name was applied to any Israelites returning (Ezr 4:12; 6:7; Ne 1:2; 5:17) and, finally, to all Hebrews throughout the world, to distinguish them from the Gentile nations. (Es 3:6; 9:20).” Curiously, the word “Jew” is found only ten times in the original language of the entire “Old Testament” or Hebrew Bible.
“And Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses with regard to the Negro wife he had married; for he had married a Negro.” (Num. 12:1; Byington) When meek African-educated Moses requested that God heal her the Lord responded: “Suppose her father had spit in her face, she would spend seven days in humiliation, would she not? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward taken in.” (Num. 12:14, 15) No doubt both Miriam and Aaron were taken aback by Moses’ Black African wife since she reminded them of their Black African oppressors, the incredibly technologically advanced Egyptians.
The historical paths of the descendents of Black Africans and scions of African-born Jews would intercept in various ways, a few of which are listed herewith: (1) Haile Selassie, the African Emperor of Ethiopia, the Elect of Jah, is the Rastafarian “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”; (2) The murders of three young men who were civil rights workers, one Black (James Chaney) and two Jews (Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner), in Mississippi in 1964; (3) In 1991, there was “Operation Solomon” where the Israeli air force and civilian airline El Al airlifted 14,000 Black Ethiopian Jews and transported them to their new home, the state of Israel; (4) The 1996 marriage of William Cohen, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, and Janet Langhart, a Black woman who is a former model, TV personality, and BET correspondent; and most recently, (5) Megastar actor Will Smith’s misconstrued remark about Hitler and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) endorsement of his response.
Books like Jews and Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion, and Culture in America by Cornel West and Michael Lerner will continue to be written. But, my advice to Blacks and Jews is from a Christian scripture that’s written by one Jew and translated by another: “Love your neighbor as yourself, but if you go on snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other!” (Gal. 5:14, 15; Jewish New Testament by David H. Stern) Something to think about Africans...Shalom.
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