Abstract

From the Popular Front to the early Cold War, African American socialists advocated for Jewish human rights in order to advance their own cause for civil and labor rights. Activists such as A. Philip Randolph and Ralph Bunche championed an Afro-Zionism that defied reactionary definitions of race and class by fomenting unity of all oppressed minorities. They envisioned Jewish human rights as a crucial step toward the liberation of all workers, especially Black Americans. By articulating their own understanding of Blacks and Jews relationally, Black socialists condemned anti-Semitism under fascism, imperialism, and communism. The rise of fascism, coupled with the Second World War, fueled Black American criticism of both racism and imperialism. This Popular Front activism carried over into the late 1940s. During the early Cold War, Black socialists helped publicize Soviet atrocities against Eastern European and Russian Jews. Tracing the origin and impact of Afro-Zionism reveals a long and diverse history of Black American condemnation of anti-Semitism as well as the impact of world Jewry on Black internationalism.

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