The famed civil-rights activist and long-time Georgia congressman John Lewis died last week at the age of eighty. In 1982, Lewis, who worked to maintain good relations with the Jewish community, helped establish the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition. Although his record of support for Israel was not unblemished—he joined many of his fellow Democrats in boycotting Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 address to Congress—it was nonetheless admirable, and included the denunciation of the movement to boycott the Jewish state. Perhaps most importantly, the congressman was willing to condemn Louis Farrakhan forcefully for his anti-Semitism, when other mainstream figures, both black and white, equivocated or ignored it.
Remembering John Lewis’s Plea for Soviet Jewry
Despite Reasons for Worry, Jews Shouldn’t Lose Faith in the American Promise
From synagogue shootings, to attacks on Jews on the streets, to the gathering strength and viciousness of anti-Zionism, especially in the corridors of political power, American Jewry has ample reason for concern about its safety and wellbeing. But, surveying both the present situation and the deep roots of what has made America a welcoming home to Jews with “no analogue in the 2,000 years after the destruction of the Temple,” Josef Joffe argues that the U.S. remains exceptional. The bad news, however, is still bad: