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Bond Urges Renewal of Black-Jewish Ties

April 18, 1998|Religion News Service

Julian Bond, the new chairman of the NAACP, is urging reestablishment of the strong black-Jewish ties that flourished during the heyday of the civil rights movement.

As head of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, he will work to restore the "coalition of conscience of blacks and Jews fighting together in common cause," Bond said in a recent speech to the Anti-Defamation League in Washington, D.C.

Despite a long history of Jewish involvement in the NAACP, the organization and the Jewish community grew apart during the period when the former Benjamin Chavis was the NAACP's executive director.

Chavis' overtures to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom Jews consider anti-Semitic, generated considerable controversy. Chavis has since changed his name to Benjamin Muhammad and has become a key aide to Farrakhan.

Bond, 58, was elected NAACP chairman in February, replacing Myrlie Evers-Williams, who stepped down. Formed in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

In his talk, Bond traced the history of black-Jewish cooperation for social justice, including the decline of that joint effort in recent years because of such divisive issues as affirmative action. Bond noted that four Jews were members of the NAACP's first 30-member executive committee.

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