Published On: Tue, Feb 2nd, 2021

Gene Simmons, Jason Alexander and Tiffany Haddish Among 170 Prominent Figures Behind New Black Jewish Entertainment Alliance

A joint initiative by Black and Jewish entertainment industry professionals devoted to countering racism and antisemitism in the entertainment community.

Tiffany Haddish, Gene Simmons, Larry Wilmore, Herbie Hancock, Louis Gossett Jr and Jason Alexander are among the more than 170 Black and Jewish leaders from the entertainment industry who have joined together to launch the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance, a joint initiative by Black and Jewish entertainment industry professionals devoted to countering racism and antisemitism in the entertainment community.

It would be an understatement to say that relations are strained between the Jewish and Black communities in America. The two groups’ leaders once marched together for civil rights. But then new issues arose in America which caused a rift between the them. This was in spite of their shared histories being the victims of racism and oppression.

While most know about slavery, segregation by race and the laws which prevented African Americans from even voting in elections, few know that American Jews also endured such discrimination before the civil rights movements. In the absence of civil rights laws Jews were regularly refused service in hotels, resorts, private clubs and even restaurants throughout America. And, as hard as this is to imagine today, even law and financial firms refused to hire Jews.

This is why there are so many such firms with Jewish names like Goldman Sachs. Jews were forced to start their own companies since they were shut out of the already existing ones. Jews also needed to organize their own social clubs and fraternal organizations. This is what led to the establishment of the famed Friars Club and Jewish groups like Bnai Brith.

But in America today both the African American and Jewish communities tend to share similar political beliefs. They both overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party. Thy both support social welfare causes and both fight against racism and discrimination.

So this new initiative might very well signal a new chapter in the history of how these two groups coexist in America.

The Black Jewish Entertainment Alliance brings together two communities in solidarity, to support each other in their struggles, and to better understand each other’s plight and narratives.

It acknowledges that the Black and Jewish communities have a shared history of subjugation and persecution.

The new organization issued the following unity statement:
We recognize that the Black community in America has faced a history of racism that continues to this day, while the Jewish community is currently encountering record levels of antisemitism, which affects both groups’ sense of fear, vulnerability, and self-worth.

As members of the entertainment community, we stand against all forms of hate, and pledge to work to bring our two communities together in solidarity, to support one another in our struggles, and to better understand each other’s plight and narratives.

The Jewish community must continue to speak out against racial injustice and work to effect change, while the Black community must continue to speak out against all forms of antisemitism.

In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and the many Blacks and Jews who stood together in the fight for civil rights, we come together to support each other in the struggle against hatred and bigotry.

In the words of the late John Lewis, “We are one people, one family, the human family, and what affects one of us affects us all.”

“The impact of the Alliance is to reignite and realign the power that exists in the connection between the Black and Jewish communities and to grow and build a civil rights movement for the next generation,” said signatory Ben Silverman.

“This Alliance will elevate voices in the entertainment community that can help the public to better understand the causes, manifestations and effects of racism and antisemitism, ensuring that our industry is doing its part to be a voice for hope, unity and healing in our country,” said Warner Records co-chair and CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck in a statement.

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