Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator: The Brooklyn College Black-Jewish Jukebox Riot of 1970
November 2, 2023

by Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator

You will not be saved by General Motors or the pre-fabricated house.
You will not be saved by dialectic materialism or the Lambeth Conference.
You will not be saved by Vitamin D or the expanding universe.
In fact, you will not be saved.

— Stephen Vincent Benét, “Nightmare with Angels,” 1935

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I still am thinking of all the whining cowardly Jewish students at America’s elite private colleges, belly-aching: “Mommy, the Arab and Muslim foreign students here and the non-Jewish ‘Jewish’ woke progressive apostates on campus don’t like me. They are chanting that Israel has no right to exist. They say Hamas rape is good rape, liberation rape. I am scared.”

As I wrote in my prior column, with words that apparently touched a nerve among thousands of readers, I am disgusted with revulsion at these wimps and wusses who do not have the pride and self-respect that my generation had when we attended Columbia University in the 1970s. Toward that end, I share a memory from 1970s Brooklyn, New York.

I am a New Yorker from Brooklyn. When G-d told Abram to go forth from (i) his land, (ii) his place of birth, and (iii) his family home (Genesis 12:1), I relate to why three separate injunctions were needed. If I were to leave the land where my fathers died, my blessed America, I would feel the loss deeply. I love America. I love its Constitution that protects my right to worship and believe as I choose. I love the values at the core of this kindest of all lands: how we are first to help others at times of their tragedies, whether devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, or visits by Kamala Harris. I love English. O how I love the language of this land, its possibilities and broad vocabulary choices, imported from both Romantic and Anglo-Saxon roots, and opportunities for loving word play. I love our patriotic songs and country music that gets to the soul of America. I don’t know what the singers of the band Alabama think about Jews or whether they ever saw one, but I love their songs of values, like their honoring America’s otherwise-unsung workers who do their part every day to keep America running and then send it on down the line.

Even as I love (i) my land, America, I particularly love (ii) the place of my birth, the Brooklyn of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. How did Neil Diamond put it? “New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.”

I love the way we tawked. You got a problem widdat? I still love the Brooklyn of my memories. What a tragedy! That which was no longer is and will not be again.

The city of New York had and has its own college system, CUNY. Not only were there world-class private colleges in New York like Columbia and NYU, and excellent state colleges like New Paltz, Hofstra, Binghamton, and Stony Brook, but New York City had CUNY, the City University of New York. These municipal colleges all were tuition-free, and you had to have high SAT scores to get in. Some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs and writers were first-generation children of Jewish immigrants who attended Upper Manhattan’s CUNY outlet, CCNY, the City College of New York. There was Queens College, chock full of brilliant Jews with high SAT scores who got an excellent education without needing to pay a dime of tuition. And there was Brooklyn College, the gem of the entire system in the 1960s and ’70s, again full of genius Jews with 1600 SAT scores getting a freebie.

John Lindsay, the left-wing mayor of the late 1960s who destroyed New York City as Obama later would destroy America, ruined the CUNY system. He imposed “open admissions”: no more standards. Rather, every single New Yorker is guaranteed automatic admission to the free education. As a result, most CUNY colleges, except for Queens and Hunter and a few others, went down the toilet. My generation was the last who got an outstanding education at Brooklyn College.

It was 1970. Every culture has its music, and so do American Jews and so do Israelis. The most popular Jewish and Israeli song that year was “Bashana Haba’ah” (“In Next Year”). Here is a version sung by the choir of Bob Jones University. Yes, Bob Jones singing Israeli Hebrew. Here is Northwest Girlchoir. Fort Worden Festival. And here the classic Israel version, with English titles. I am sharing many versions to convey that this was a huge song in its time and has become world-famous, sung even by non-Jewish choirs throughout the world. It was not “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

It was 1970. The Jewish student group on campus brought a guest speaker, Rabbi Meir Kahane of blessed memory. Rav Kahane spoke that day about Judaism and Jewish pride. At the end, he took questions from the floor. One stood out. It was from a girl, Jewish, shaking, teary-eyed, crying. “Rabbi Kahane, you are here talking about being Jewish, but I am scared here. There is a jukebox in the campus cafeteria, and it has only one Jewish song in it, ‘Bashanah Haba’ah.’ We were playing the song the other day, and a bunch of Black students slammed the jukebox and told us we are not allowed to play that ‘Jew song’ anymore, or they will beat up anyone who tries to play that song. I am scared and frightened.”

Rabbi Kahane asked members of his audience to please raise their hands if they knew this incident to be true and if they also were scared by this. In his audience of 200 students, some 100–150 hands were raised.

The rav next asked: “How many students would you say composed the goons who said not to play the song again?”

The response from the questioner was: “It was scary. It was like 10 of them.”

Rabbi Kahane said: “Maybe these Black students don’t like the particular version of the song in the jukebox. Why don’t we show our understanding for these goons and all go down to the cafeteria right now and give them a live performance — all of you, especially those who can’t sing.”

He then led 100 of those students into the cafeteria, and they started singing the song. The 10 Black students told them to shut up. The Jews sang louder. The Black students started throwing chairs at the Jews. The 100 Jews were afraid and scared of the 10 goons.

Rabbi Kahane said: “Show some brotherhood. Some people dance to music. If their cultural preference to music is chair throwing, then let’s throw chairs back at them. And if you run out of chairs, throw tables.”

It turned into a wild melee. Made page one of the next day’s New York tabloids. And there were two results:

  1. Rabbi Kahane was banned from the campus by the school administration.
  2. No Black student ever again told a Jew not to play that song.

I think back to 1950s to 1970s Brooklyn when all Jews were authentically Jewish and supported Israel. The difference today is that 40 percent of people who now say they are “Jews” are not Jews, and some 90 percent of “Jews” who march with Arabs for Hamas nowadays and say, “Not in Our Name,” in fact are not born of Jewish mothers and thus are not Jews.

In those days, college Jews threw chairs back at Nazis who threw chairs at them. That rabbi taught Jews to buy guns, promoting the slogan “Every Jew a .22” (He told the New York Times, “I preferred a slogan of ‘Every Jew an M-1,’ but it didn’t rhyme.”)

And then I watch the moaning, kvetching, whining, scared, frightened, privileged campus Jews of today who are politically and socially paralyzed because a dozen or a hundred Arab and Muslim foreign students who don’t even belong here in our country are chanting, “Death to Israel,” and endorsing Hamas rape. Penetrate a woman’s genitals for freedom. Ejaculate in her to free Palestine. #GoodRapeMeToo.

They disgust me. Not the Arab Muslim Hamas supporters. I expect that of them. Genesis 16:12. Not the fake “Jews” who are not born of Jewish mothers and, hence, are not Jews by definition. But the actual Jews who were reared by liberal parents in the privileged exurbs to believe that the way to the world’s heart is by being victims. That is the failed message of Holocaust education and museums: “Look at what the Nazis and all of Europe did to us. You should feel bad for us and, therefore, love us.”

No one cares. That is my contribution to Holocaust educationNo One Cares. People have their own problems. How many millions did Pol Pot murder? No one cares. Or how Stalin starved out millions of Ukrainians? No one cares. Or what Putin is doing today? No one cares. Or what Mao did? No one cares. People have their own problems: paying for food in the Biden years, watching the gas pump approach $6 a gallon, getting baby formula. They care more about Buttigieg’s train wrecks in Palestine, Ohio, than the fake “Palestine” in Judea and Samaria that Israel one day will liberate so that, from the river to the sea, Yisrael will be free.

If Arabs and Muslims at Cornell in Ithaca now are threatening to beat up Jews who go to eat in the campus kosher cafeteria, don’t look to the university president or provost for protection. Don’t look to Biden or Deborah Lipstadt, his useless joke of an adviser on anti-Semitism. Just bring some chairs on the way to lunch. Metal folding chairs are best for this purpose. And sing a Hebrew song live for them. Any song will do.

Originally published in The American Spectator

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