Peace to the Gods and Goddesses of the foundation;
Much love goes to New York City;
And mad respect to London;
In The African Roots of Hebraism I refer to black people as the original Hebrews and the current white Jews as converts.
They may ask, why, after all that the Jews have been through do you subject them to a further humiliation and controversy?
This is based on the major problem all people have with the Black God/Black Hebrews narrative a problem that glares in our faces every time we try to build any kind of hope in it: the Ashkenazi Holocaust.
This one event shook the world and still shakes it to this day. The Blacks who try to reconcile the Black Hebrew theory with the Holocaust either have to deny the Holocaust and become horrifically anti-Ashkenazi or abandon the theory altogether and become shamefully over-identified with White people.
This creates a paradox: how do you justify the Black Hebrew theory in the face of the Holocaust without resorting to racism and anti-Ashkenazism?
Again, what does the Black person say in the presence of the Holocaust? How does a Black person reconcile a Black God with Ashkenazi suffering?
The Holocaust is an historic event that has troubled the mind of many Ashkenazis, causing many to reject the religion of Judaism.
Indeed, how could they stay faithful to a God who was so deafeningly silent at such an event? Emil Fackenheim had this to say on the subject of the Holocaust:
As we have seen, even the ancient rabbis were forced to suspend the biblical ‘for our sins we were punished,’ perhaps not in response to the destruction of the temple by Titus, but in response to the paganization of Jerusalem by Hadrian. We too may at most only suspend the biblical doctrine, if only because we, no more than the rabbis, dare either to deny our own sinfulness or to disconnect it from history. Yet, suspend it we must. For however we twist and turn this doctrine in response to Auschwitz, it becomes a religious absurdity and even a sacrilege. Are ‘sin’ and ‘retribution’ to be given an individual connotation? What a sacrilegious thought when among the Nazi’s victims were more than one million children! Are we to give them a collective connotation? What an appalling idea when it was not our western, agnostic, faithless, and rich but rather the poorest, most pious and most faithful Jewish communities which were most grievously stricken! As in our torment we turn, as an ultimate resort, to the traditional doctrine that all Israelites of all generations are responsible for each other, we are still totally aghast, for not a single one of the six million died because they failed to keep the divine-Jewish covenant: they all died because their great-grand-parents had kept it, if only to the minimum extent of raising Jewish children. Here is the point where we reach radical religious absurdity. Here is the rock on which the ‘for our sins are we punished’ suffers total shipwreck” (Fackenheim 1970; quoted in Katz 2008: 27).
There is a temptation to view the suffering of the Ashkenazis as proof of their calling and election from God and not as divine chastisement, however, Katz (2008) is not deceived by this in any ways.
Knowing the history of the Jews from Scripture Katz could see that God always chastises those he wants to teach.
So what was God trying to teach the Ashkenazis that merited such a loud and tragic occurrence as the Holocaust?
Indeed, the arguments of William R. Jones and Anthony B. Pinn are that God reveals himself as racist no matter how you look at it therefore we should just abandon the God-concept altogether and adopt a more anthropological, and, indeed, humanist, approach to seeing life.
While I agree that the histories of the Blacks and the Ashkenazis have both been horrific and grotesque I do not believe that is to be blamed on the Hebrew God, or on some “divine racism” (Jones 1998) as such.
This is only “divine racism” if we prioritise God’s omnipotence like most Sunni schools of theology do. However, if we take his omnipotence to be based on empathy then we can see that he had no part in any of our sufferings but, in fact, identifies with our sufferings.
This kind of non-coercive omnipotence can be seen in his dealings with the Hebrew people throughout the Scriptures. He encourages, questions, challenges, and demands but never forces.
The sufferings of the Ashkenazis can thus be explained not as desired by God but as planned and foreseen by God in chastisement.
So the question now becomes: why do the Ashkenazis believe themselves to be the true Jews if they are not and never have been.
Arthur Koestler explains the story as a political one. There was a barbarian people living in Europe between the Caucus and the Volga called the Khazars. This group were the largest barbarian clan in Europe and constituted the size of a modern nation.
However, though they had dominion over all the other tribal clans of the area, their king (the Khagan) understood that the pagan gods were on the decline, and, through relations with the Byzantine Emperor, came to respect that he would have to abandon his pagan traditions for the more intellectually respectable monotheism then being diffused to the nations.
Malcioln states, “The Khagan and his ruling class were clear on the issue. He and the top echelon knew the military power of the Caliph of Baghdad. If they chose Islam, they would be subjugated by the Caliphate according to the Islamic laws. If the Khazars chose Christianity, they would be equally subjugated by the Roman Emperor and dominated by his laws through the cross. So the majority of Khazar pagans followed their leader and the nobility, who selected Judaism to avoid subordination. These Pagans converted for convenience; they were not interested in the promises of being on God’s side” (Malcioln 1996: 99).
All this took place around the eighth century, these Caucasian people, who we now believe to be Jews, became the vast majority of world Jewry through conversion not by race.
But this only opens up a new can of worms, even if the Europeans are not the real Jews how do we know if Africans are the real Jews? Aren’t Africans Hamites, which is different from the Jews?
If one considers the history of the Roman Empire it is very well understood that black Romans were very common and were hardly treated with racist discrimination in the empire.
The Romans, who had for years been at war with North Africa, particularly Carthage, did not oppress the Cyrene or Carthaginian citizens of Rome, in fact they allowed them their own plot of land in the imperial city Africa Romana.
According to Malcioln again, “Cyrenaica, with Benghasi…was a Roman port in East Libya. It bordered on the Mediterranean and many Jews lived there. In 155 A.C.E the Jews rebelled against Rome. Roman might was exerted and the rebellion was soon crushed. The outcome caused all Jewish communities of the area to again disperse southward in two hordes. A number of Jews crossed the Bend of the Niger on to Senegal and Futa. These Jews encountered others whose diaspora was flowing westwards via southern Morocco and Mauretania Adrar” (Malcioln 1996: 186).
J.C. de Graft Johnson said, “There is perhaps no group of people in the western Sudan who have more Jewish blood in them than the pastoral Fulani of Futa” (Johnson 1954; quoted in Malcioln 1996: 186).
And Henry Johnson adds, “It is certain, however, that a considerable element of Egyptian Culture entered Negroid Africa by way of Darfur, Wadai, Lake Chad, and thence to the Upper Niger; and along this route the dominant type of longhorned cattle may have reached the Fula of West Africa” (Johnson 1903; quoted in Malcioln 1996: 186).
The Chad region, Morocco, and West Africa all have Jewish and Fulani migrants that crossed the Niger and settled in their African territories.
The Bible also mentions the relation between Africa and the early church, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manean, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.” To be sure, all, and not just two, of these were Black.
In fact, Jesus and the Jews didn’t official become White until after the Council of Nicaea when they Europeanized the Jewish traditions and Jewish characters. Those traditions that were too Black were abandoned to appease the Roman Emperor.
Jones, W. R (1998); Is God a White Racist? A Preamble to Black Theology; Beacon Press.
Katz, A (2008); The Holocaust: Where Was God? An Inquiry into the Biblical Roots of Tragedy; Burning Bush Press.
Malcioln, J V (1996); The African Origins of Modern Judaism: From Hebrews to Jews; Africa World Press, Inc.