Did Jews “Dominate” the African Slave Trade?
There has been a recent upsurge in the number of postings on video sharing sites such as YouTube and on certain internet blogs that charge, among other things, that Jews dominated the worldwide – and in particular, the African-American – slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. While it is no secret to historians – and it is well documented – that some Jews were involved in the slave trade during that period in history, the question is: did we dominate the practice, like the anti-Semitic pundits would have us believe?
The only historical conclusion I can draw is – no. Jews were a very small minority, both in trading and in ownership. Census records from the American South during the Civil War seem to indicate that all the Jewish slave owners and traders combined were a minute fraction of even the smallest single slave trading operation in the area.
If one wants to do honest research on the subject, they will discover that the majority of the blame for slavery can be laid squarely on the shoulders of Muslim and Christian rulers in Africa and Europe, who made up the majority of slavers throughout history, and the good, white, Protestant Christian owners of plantations across the Colonies who used them as cattle.
By the 1990′s this canard was so widely believed that the American Historical Association felt compelled to go on record to deplore and to condemn “as false any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the exploitation of slave labor or in the Atlantic slave trade.” – http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1995/9503/9503AHA.CFM
The AHA writes: “Atlantic slavery was an intercontinental enterprise extending over nearly four centuries. Ethnically, the participants included Arabs, Berbers, scores of African ethnic groups, Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, Jews, Germans, Swedes, French, English, Danes, white Americans, Native Americans, and even thousands of New World people of African descent who became slaveholding farmers or planters themselves.”
“Since Portugal and Spain barred Jews from their empires, and since, by the 16th century most of the Jews who weren’t either killed or converted in Western Europe had fled east ward, it was impossible for Jews to play more than a marginal role in a vast system that attracted tens of thousands of pagans, Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants.”
“Even in Holland and the Dutch colonies, where Jews were allowed to make their main “contribution” to New World slavery as merchants and planters, they always formed a minority. Similarly, Jews played only a nominal role in the slave system in the American South. Never more than a tiny fraction of the white population, they never formed more than a minuscule proportion of slaveholders.”
While slavery was and still is a vile and reprehensible practice, it does not seem to stop hate mongers from picking through the trash bins of history and coming up with with the outrageous canard that all Jews were somehow wholly complicit in, or that we dominated – the practice of slavery. We did not, and these propagandists are damned liars for saying so. I do not use the accusation lightly – I shout it loud and clear so everyone can understand.
That being said, I can somewhat understand their motives for participating in this bit of anti-Semitic screeching and mud-slinging. People who do this fall into one of several categories of Jew haters. The first and most vocal group are the Muslims. This I can definitely understand, because if I were a Muslim, and my people were actively involved in profiting off the slave trade for 1400 years – including Mohammed who, in 627 CE slaughtered 800 male Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in the city of Medina, then sold their wives and children into slavery – I would want to deflect a little of the blame myself.
Then there are the followers of Tony Martin, Ray Hagen, and Louis Farrakhan, who are race-baiters. They may not have personally benefited from the slave trade, but they certainly benefit from, and have gotten rich off of, pounding the anti-Semitic pulpit. An off shoot of this are the anti-Semites known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Videos by their supporters on the subject have been uploaded onto YouTube with an alarming frequency.
Lastly, there are the white supremacist organizations, whether secular or religious. While they and their ancestors have and still do benefit from the world slave trade, and they would just as soon hang their above-mentioned fellow slave-trade believers like Martin from the nearest tree as to look at them, they also do it to deflect blame. It seems the descendants of the main perpetrators of American slavery want to deny their true history, so they jump on the “Jews dominated the slave trade” bandwagon with the rest of the mob. With the number of white supremacist leaders and their appointed spokespeople on the internet crawling into bed with the radical Muslims (also at an alarming rate), they have managed to secure their place in history as the true dhimmis of the Islamists.
In the end, the common denominator among all of these groups is anti-Semitism.
Frankly, it is disheartening and rather sickening that humanity has sunk to such a low that it has to use scapegoats to deflect attention away from its own history of bigotry, intolerance, and hate; war, slavery, and conquest; murder and subjugation. Instead of meeting and overcoming the challenges head on like the rest of the civilized world, they choose to ignore the vast historical record of mans inhumanity to man, and concentrate all their efforts on hating, vilifying, and dehumanizing the one whipping boy everyone can rely on as a target – the Jews.