Black-Jewish relations in the time of Obama

Experts review the history of alliance and alienation

WALTHAM, Mass. -- On Thursday, Oct. 16, the Brandeis University Spotlight Forum, "Blacks, Jews and Obama," took a look at the up-and-down history of the black-Jewish relationship and prospects for future relations in the context of the first serious black candidate for the presidency.

Two leading Brandeis professors, a distinguished professor from Harvard Law School and a senior campaign reporter from the Wall Street Journal explored the strong bonds formed between blacks and Jews during the struggle for equal rights for all Americans, their alliance in support of social justice afterwards, and the deterioration of relations amid disputes over changing urban neighborhoods, affirmative action and U.S.-Middle East policy.

The discussion was moderated by Ibrahim Sundiata, the Samuel and Augusta Spector Professor of History at Brandeis and author of "Brother and Strangers."

Panelists were:

  • Peniel Joseph, associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, author of "Waiting for the Midnight Hour"
  • Jonathan Kaufman, presidential campaign reporter for the Wall Street Journal, author of "Broken Alliance, The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America"
  • Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard University,  author of "Race, Crime and the Law"
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