Debate Magazine

Too Bad Zimmerman Isn't Jewish!

Posted on the 17 July 2013 by Mikelumish @IsraelThrives
Mike L.
I wonder how this thing would have played out if George Zimmerman had been Jewish? "Zimmerman," of course, is a very Jewish sounding name.  When I first heard about this case that was the very first thing that I thought.
"Oh my G-d!  Some upper-class, middle-aged, white Jewish Floridian just shot a black kid to death!"
That is what went through my mind on the initial seconds of hearing about this case.  I cannot even begin to express to you how grateful I was that Zimmerman turned out not to be a Jew.  But if he had been, I wonder how the case - and I do not just mean the legal proceedings - would have played out differently.
The Jewish population in the United States is about 2 percent of the total.  The African-American population is around 13 percent.  Both groups represent a significant presence in the Democratic Party and the progressive-left.  There was a time when it seemed that Jews and Blacks were political allies, mainly because American Jews played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement.  (The names Chaney, Goodman, and Schwermer immediately leap to mind, as Jay will easily confirm.)
That alliance, however, has deteriorated since at least 1967.  It was around that moment that the Black Nationalist movement sided with the "Palestinians" because they saw them (and see them) as "people of color" being oppressed by white imperialist racists.   Speaking strictly for myself, I think that it is a terrible shame.
Black people in the United States affiliated with Jewish people in the United States in part because of religious reasons.  African-Americans are among the most religious people in the country and the story of Exodus has traditionally played an important role in African-American religious sensibilities since the days of slavery, for obvious reasons.  Simultaneously, of course, Jewish political sensibilities elided with African-American political sensibilities precisely because we wrote Exodus.
I do not believe for one second that there was ever a moment of perfect Black - Jewish comity in the United States.  (Comedy, yes, but comity, not so much.)  There was for a short period of time an alliance of sorts, but those days are long gone.  If Zimmerman was Jewish this would have been a truly awful moment in the history of American Jewry.  Not only would the black population have turned an angry eye toward us, but the general population would have leaned toward 17 year old Trayvon Martin out of sympathy for the youthful dead.
In the mean time, I simply want people to stop throwing garbage cans threw store-shop windows in the town that I live in.  For me this is not about Jewish or non-Jewish or black versus white.  I just do not like thuggery or brutality or bullying or violence.
I am going to be out for much of the rest of the day, but I wanted to produce some content and as I arise this morning this is what was most prominently on my mind.
I do not know the real story of Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman and neither do the people rioting in the streets.

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