Page 180 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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Elkin
172
expelled from Spain for having enslaved Christian Spaniards,
whereas in truth, Jews were not permitted to own Christian slaves
and were progressively denied the right to own any slaves at all, at
a time when agriculture was largely dependent upon slave labor;
that Jews, operating from their base on the island of Sao Tome, or­
ganized the trans-Atlantic trade in African slaves—a particularly
savage accusation as it was to that island that the Portuguese
shipped Jewish children kidnapped from their parents and left to
die in the wilderness; that Jewish international bankers financed
the slave trade and enriched themselves by trafficking in black
flesh, without reference to the governments that licensed the slave
trade, the Catholic Church that condoned slavery, the Arab traders
who conveyed slaves to the ports, or the African chiefs who sold
their people into slavery in the first place. The book is freighted
with footnotes giving it a scholarly appearance whose cumulative
impact is to make it appear that Jewish historians agree that Jews
were the principal promoters and beneficiaries of black slavery.37
All the traditional leitmotifs of anti-Jewish propaganda are pro­
fessionally packaged in this book: global conspiracy, Jews’ single-
minded pursuit of profit, conscienceless exploitation of fellow hu­
man beings, and the omission of the role of other parties in the
condemned activities. This is our era’s own
Protocols of the Elders of
Zion.
Its scholarly facade lends it academic cachet and has enabled
it to gain a spurious respectability on college campuses.
C O N C L U S IO N S
During the quincentenary year, the scope and brilliance of me­
dieval Sephardi life was publicly acknowledged as part of the
37.
The book has been analysed by several reputable scholars, including
Harold David Brackman,
Farrakharts Reign ofHistorical Error: The Truth behind
The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews.”
Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal
Center, 1992; Seymour Drescher, “The Role o f Jews in the Transatlantic Slave
Trade,” in
Immigrants and Minorities
12 (1993) :113 -125 ; and Eli Faber, “Slavery
and the Jews: A Historical Inquiry,” Occasional Paper No. 2 o f the Hunter Co l­
lege Jewish Social Studies Program.