Quotation by James A. McPherson

The majority of Black Americans are unaware of the complexity of the meaning of Israel to American Jews. But, ironically, Afro-Zionists have as an intense an emotional identification with Africa and with the Third World as American Jews have with Israel. Doubly ironic, this same intensity of identification with a "Motherland" seems rooted in the mythologies common to both groups. In this special sense—in the spiritual sense implied by "Zion" and "Diaspora" and "Promised Land"MBlack Americans are America's Jews. But given the isolation of Black Americans from any meaningful association with Africa, extensions of the mythology would be futile. We have no distant homeland preparing an ingathering.
James A. McPherson (b. 1943), U.S. author, educator. Originally published in Tikkun (1989). "To Blacks and Jews: Hab Rachmones," repr. In Best American Essays 1990, Ticknor & Fields (1990).
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