The Black Church and Israel

Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to the Madlik podcast: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

and Join Madlik on Clubhouse every Thursday so you can participate in our weekly live discussion of the Parsha

Link to Transcript here:

Reverend Dumisani Washington is a Regional Field Coordinator and National Diversity Outreach Coordinator for Christians United for Israel (CUFI). He is also the Founder and Board President of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI: The Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel).

He is the author of: Zionism and the Black Church

Why Standing with Israel Will Be a Defining Issue for Christians of Color in the 21st Century

And is currently developing a Zionism and the Black Church Booklet Series for dissemination at IBSI events and in Black Churches.

(א) וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ הַמִּשְׁפָּטִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תָּשִׂ֖ים לִפְנֵיהֶֽם׃ (ב) כִּ֤י תִקְנֶה֙ עֶ֣בֶד עִבְרִ֔י שֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים יַעֲבֹ֑ד וּבַ֨שְּׁבִעִ֔ת יֵצֵ֥א לַֽחׇפְשִׁ֖י חִנָּֽם׃ (ג) אִם־בְּגַפּ֥וֹ יָבֹ֖א בְּגַפּ֣וֹ יֵצֵ֑א אִם־בַּ֤עַל אִשָּׁה֙ ה֔וּא וְיָצְאָ֥ה אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ עִמּֽוֹ׃
(1) These are the rules that you shall set before them: (2) When you acquire a Hebrew slave, that person shall serve six years—and shall go free in the seventh year, without payment. (3) If [a male slave] came single, he shall leave single; if he had a wife, his wife shall leave with him.
(ה) וְאִם־אָמֹ֤ר יֹאמַר֙ הָעֶ֔בֶד אָהַ֙בְתִּי֙ אֶת־אֲדֹנִ֔י אֶת־אִשְׁתִּ֖י וְאֶת־בָּנָ֑י לֹ֥א אֵצֵ֖א חׇפְשִֽׁי׃ (ו) וְהִגִּישׁ֤וֹ אֲדֹנָיו֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹקִ֔ים וְהִגִּישׁוֹ֙ אֶל־הַדֶּ֔לֶת א֖וֹ אֶל־הַמְּזוּזָ֑ה וְרָצַ֨ע אֲדֹנָ֤יו אֶת־אׇזְנוֹ֙ בַּמַּרְצֵ֔עַ וַעֲבָד֖וֹ לְעֹלָֽם׃ {ס}
(5) But if the slave declares, “I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,” (6) his master shall take him before God.*before God Others “to the judges.” He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his master’s slave for life.

כי תקנה עבד עברי התחיל המשפט הראשון בעבד עברי, מפני שיש בשילוח העבד בשנה השביעית זכר ליציאת מצרים הנזכר בדבור הראשון, כמו שאמר בו (דברים טו טו) וזכרת כי עבד היית בארץ מצרים ויפדך ה' אלקיך על כן אנכי מצוך את הדבר הזה היום. ויש בה עוד זכר למעשה בראשית כשבת, כי השנה השביעית לעבד שבתון ממלאכת אדוניו כיום השביעי. ויש בה עוד שביעי בשנים שהוא היובל, כי השביעי נבחר בימים ובשנים ובשמטות, והכל לענין אחד, והוא סוד ימות העולם מבראשית (בראשית א א) עד ויכלו (שם ב א). ולכן המצוה הזאת ראויה להקדים אותה שהיא נכבדת מאד, רומזת דברים גדולים במעשה בראשית: ולכך החמיר בה הנביא מאד, ואמר אנכי כרתי ברית את אבותיכם מקץ שבע שנים תשלחו איש את עבדו ואיש את שפחתו (ירמיה לד יג יד)...

IF THOU BUY A HEBREW SERVANT. G-d began the first ordinance with the subject of a Hebrew servant, because the liberation of the servant in the seventh year contains a rememberance of the departure from Egypt which is mentioned in the first commandment, just as He said on it, And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Eternal thy G-d redeemed thee; therefore I command thee this thing today. It also contains a remembrance of the creation, just as the Sabbath does, for the seventh year signals to a servant a complete rest from the work of his master, just as the seventh day of the week does. There is in addition a ‘seventh’ amongst the years, which is the jubilee, for seven is the chosen of the days [to be the Sabbath], and of the years [to be the Sabbatical year], and of the [seven] Sabbaticals [to be the jubilee]; and they all point to one subject, namely, the secret of the days of the world — from bereshith (in the beginning) till vayechulu (and they were finished). Therefore this commandment deserved to be mentioned first, because of its extreme importance, alluding as it does to great things in the process of creation. This is why the prophet Jeremiah was very stringent about it and said, Thus saith the Eternal, the G-d of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers; At the end of the seven years ye shall let go every one his manservant, and every one his maidservant...

(כ) וְגֵ֥ר לֹא־תוֹנֶ֖ה וְלֹ֣א תִלְחָצֶ֑נּוּ כִּֽי־גֵרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃
(20) You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
כי גרים הייתם. אִם הוֹנִיתוֹ, אַף הוּא יָכוֹל לְהוֹנוֹתְךָ וְלוֹמַר לְךָ, אַף אַתָּה מִגֵּרִים בָּאתָ, "מוּם שֶׁבְּךָ אַל תֹּאמַר לַחֲבֵרְךָ"; כָּל לְשׁוֹן גֵּר אָדָם שֶׁלֹּא נוֹלַד בְּאוֹתָהּ מְדִינָה, אֶלָּא בָּא מִמְּדִינָה אַחֶרֶת לָגוּר שָׁם:
כי גרים הייתם FOR YE WERE STRANGERS — If you vex him he can vex you also by saying to you: “You also descend from strangers”. Do not reproach thy fellow-man for a fault which is also thine (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 22:20). Wherever גר occurs in Scriptures it signifies a person who has not been born in that land (where he is living) but has come from another country to sojourn there.
(כד) אִם־כֶּ֣סֶף ׀ תַּלְוֶ֣ה אֶת־עַמִּ֗י אֶת־הֶֽעָנִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹא־תִהְיֶ֥ה ל֖וֹ כְּנֹשֶׁ֑ה לֹֽא־תְשִׂימ֥וּן עָלָ֖יו נֶֽשֶׁךְ׃
(24) If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them.
את עמי. עַמִּי וְגוֹי עַמִּי קוֹדֵם, עָנִי וְעָשִׁיר עָנִי קוֹדֵם, עֲנִיֶּיךָ וַעֲנִיֵּי עִירְךָ עֲנִיֶּיךָ קוֹדְמִין, עֲנִיֵּי עִירְךָ וַעֲנִיֵּי עִיר אַחֶרֶת עֲנִיֵּי עִירְךָ קוֹדְמִין; וְזֶה מַשְׁמָעוֹ: אִם כֶּסֶף תַּלְוֶה – אֶת עַמִּי תַּלְוֵהוּ וְלֹא לְגוֹי, וּלְאֵיזֶה מֵעַמִּי? אֶת הֶעָנִי, וּלְאֵיזֶה עָנִי? לְאוֹתוֹ שֶׁעִמָּךְ. (דָּ"אַ, אֶת עַמִּי, שֶׁלֹּא תִנְהַג בּוֹ בִּזָּיוֹן בְּהַלְוָאָה שֶׁהוּא עַמִּי:
את עמי TO ANY OF MY PEOPLE — If thou hast to choose between lending money to My people and a heathen, My people come first; if between a poor man and one who is better off, the poor man comes first; if between thine own poor (poor relatives) and other poor of thy city, thine own poor come first; if between the poor of thine own city and the poor of another city, the poor of thine own city come first (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 22:24:3; Bava Metzia 71a). And this is how the above explanation is implied in the text: “If thou lend money” — את עמי “lend it to My people”, and not to a heathen; and to which one of My people? את העני, to the poor; and to which poor? עמך to him that is with thee (i. e. who is with thee in relationship and is with thee in thy city). [Another explanation of את עמי is: Thou shalt not treat him disrespectfully when lending him money, for he is עמי — though in need he is still “My people”!
(א) לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֖א שֵׁ֣מַע שָׁ֑וְא אַל־תָּ֤שֶׁת יָֽדְךָ֙ עִם־רָשָׁ֔ע לִהְיֹ֖ת עֵ֥ד חָמָֽס׃ (ב) לֹֽא־תִהְיֶ֥ה אַחֲרֵֽי־רַבִּ֖ים לְרָעֹ֑ת וְלֹא־תַעֲנֶ֣ה עַל־רִ֗ב לִנְטֹ֛ת אַחֲרֵ֥י רַבִּ֖ים לְהַטֹּֽת׃ (ג) וְדָ֕ל לֹ֥א תֶהְדַּ֖ר בְּרִיבֽוֹ׃ {ס}
(1) You must not carry false rumors; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness: (2) You shall neither side with the mighty*mighty Others “multitude.” to do wrong—you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to pervert it in favor of the mighty— (3) nor shall you show deference to a poor person in a dispute.
(טו) לֹא־תַעֲשׂ֥וּ עָ֙וֶל֙ בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹא־תִשָּׂ֣א פְנֵי־דָ֔ל וְלֹ֥א תֶהְדַּ֖ר פְּנֵ֣י גָד֑וֹל בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ׃
(15) You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kin fairly.
וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְיַשְּׁבוֹ עַל אָפְנָיו כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ כָךְ פִּתְרוֹנוֹ: לא תהיה אחרי רבים לרעת. אִם רָאִיתָ רְשָׁעִים מַטִּין מִשְׁפָּט, לֹא תֹאמַר, הוֹאִיל וְרַבִּים הֵם הִנְנִי נוֹטֶה אַחֲרֵיהֶם:
But I think that if one wishes to explain the verse so that every thing should fit in properly, its exegesis must be as follows: לא תהיה אחרי רבים לרעת, If you see wicked men wresting judgment do not say: since they are many I will incline after them;
לא תהדר. לֹא תַחֲלֹק לוֹ כָבוֹד לְזַכּוֹתוֹ בַדִּין וְלומַר דַּל הוּא אֲזַכֶּנּוּ וַאֲכַבְּדֶנּוּ:
לא תהדר NEITHER SHALT THOU COUNTENANCE [THE INDIGENT IN HIS QUARREL] — You shall not pay regard to him by finding in his favour in the law suit, saying, “He is a poor man; I will find in his favour, and thus show him some measure of respect.”
לא תשא פני דל. שֶׁלֹּא תֹאמַר עָנִי הוּא זֶה, וְהֶעָשִׁיר חַיָּב לְפַרְנְסוֹ, אֲזַכֶּנּוּ בַדִּין וְנִמְצָא מִתְפַּרְנֵס בִּנְקִיּוּת (ספרא):
לא תשא פני דל THOU SHALT NOT RESPECT THE PERSON OF THE INDIGENT — i. e. thou shalt not say, "This is a poor man, and the rich man has in any case the duty of supporting him; I will find in favor of him (the poor man) and he will consequently obtain some support in a respectable fashion (Sifra, Kedoshim, Chapter 4 2).

Why Do Black Pastors Oppose Israel?

Henry Louis Gates had an answer more than 30 years ago.


Alan Dershowitz


Andrew Stein

Jan. 31, 2024 5:14 pm ET


More than 1,000 black pastors are pressing President Biden to restrain Israel in its war with Hamas and threatening that if he doesn’t do so, it will cost him black support in November. “We see them as a part of us,” the Rev. Cynthia Hale of Decatur, Ga., told the

New York Times

, referring to Palestinians. “They are oppressed people. We are oppressed people.” Barbara Williams-Skinner of the National African American Clergy Network said: “Black clergy have seen war, militarism, poverty and racism all connected.”

Yet their focus on the Middle East is perplexing. “The Israel-Gaza war, unlike Iran and Afghanistan, has evoked the kind of deep-seated angst among black people that I have not seen since the civil-rights movement,” Ms. Williams-Skinner said. Why? The world is filled with victims of oppression—the Uyghurs of China, the Kurds of Iraq, the Ukrainians. The black citizens of Sudan have been subjected to mass killing and enslavement at the hands of Arabs. What makes the Palestinians more worthy of sympathy—especially since, unlike these other groups, they have turned down numerous offers of statehood and have made terrorism their tactic of choice?

Perhaps it is that their antagonists are Jews. In a 1992 article, the historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. pondered the causes of rising antisemitism in the black community. He considered the influence of “Christian anti-Semitism, given the historic importance of Christianity in the black community.” But he laid the primary blame on black demagogues who were vying for leadership in the new “Afrocentric” movement.

Mr. Gates noted that many Jews were surprised by the “recrudescence of black anti-Semitism, in view of the historic alliance between the two groups.” He cited the “brutal truth” that the “new anti-Semitism arises not in spite of the black-Jewish alliance, but because of it.” The alliance had been formed by a previous generation of black ministers, led by Martin Luther King Jr., who sought integration. The new generation of Afrocentric leaders, including pastors, needed to keep blacks isolated to establish their own power.

Mr. Gates noted that “it is among the younger and more educated blacks that anti-Semitism is most pronounced” and that this bigotry “belongs as much to the repertory of campus lecturers as community activists.” More than 30 years later, these words seem prophetic.

Mr. Dershowitz is a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of “War Against the Jews: How to End Hamas Barbarism.” Mr. Stein, a Democrat, served as New York City Council president, 1986-94.

See also: CHARLES M. BLOW, The Political Perils of a Black-Jewish Rift Over the War in Gaza, Feb. 7, 2024

From Ferguson to Gaza: How African Americans Bonded With Palestinian Activists, February 8th 2024

Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life) Paperback – June 5, 2018 by Marc Dollinger (Author)