Here’s another fascinating excerpt from Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights on how southern Jews reacted to the demise of the Confederacy and Reconstruction:
“Notwithstanding the general response of southern Jews, a number of individuals expressed vehement opposition to the new social order. According to David Yulee, the Reconstructionist policies of the Republican Party were an unwarranted assault upon the proud people of the South that would provoke “a conflict that will end in the extermination of one of the races.” Outrage at the enforced imposition of equal rights for African-Americans was shared by many southern Jews. J.H. Levy of Savannah wrote to his daughters in March 1868 that federal troops would not listen to local leaders, their sole purpose being “to direct and change” the region “to negro ascendancy making in time the south unfit for white people, should we not be fortunate enough to succeed so that common sense & common decency reverse the country from disgrace.” “Our political situation here is now altogether frightful,” Meyer Goldman’s son wrote to a friend in October 1874. “It seems that negroes are streaming into Louisiana from other states far and wide, and are building up here the so-called ‘Republican Party,’ and are also stirring up much trouble.” Almost every office in the state government, exclaimed Goldman, was occupied by an African-American, and those whites who did hold power were the most base and corrupt of their kind. The situation had become so intolerable that he was closing his law practice and moving north to Louisville, Kentucky.
Other Jews were determined to stand and fight. Driven by anger and resentment, they engaged in acts of terrorist violence against the Republican state governments. A small number of southern Jews, for instance, enlisted in the Ku Klux Klan. Others, including Edwin Moise and H.H. De Leon, were members of the Red Shirts, and organization that used violence to restore Democratic rule in South Carolina. …
Jews actively contributed to the Lost Cause. Like their Gentile neighbors, they constructed elaborate memorials to the Confederate dead. The soldiers’ section of the Jewish cemetery in Richmond offered such solemn celebration, its railings adorned with swords and sabers, wreathed with laurel. Seventeen years of Civil War and Reconstruction only served to strengthen the emotional bond that southern Jews felt for their adopted homeland. Their sense of loyalty to the southern social order remained unshakeable. Newspaper editor Herbert Ezekiel was not alone in his assertion that there was a special kinship between the Jewish people and the South. As he argued, the fate of the former Confederates was akin to that of God’s chosen people, an oppressed minority who had suffered unjustly at the hands of a tyrannical majority. “Like Jews have often been, they were crushed by irresistable odds, but the cause is still alive. … its sacredness will be inviolable so long as the sun shines in this fair land of ours.”
The spectacle of Jewish Klansmen and Red Shirts engaging in terrorism to restore white supremacy in the South, as well as Jews venerating the Lost Cause, is another reason for us to pause and reflect more deeply on the cause of our racial and cultural decline.
“As the northern rabbi Phillip Bernstein observed after a fact-finding mission across the southeastern states in October 1936, “Everywhere we met Jews, the most amazing Jews – Jews so different from those I know in the industrial North. In their languid drawls, their intense southern patriotism, their contempt for ‘nigger lovers,’ they are … obviously a product of their environment.”
If Southern Jews assimilated to the culture of the South and became products of their environment, could it be possible that the Jews and Catholics who settled in the Northeastern states assimilated to the dominant Northeastern culture of “Radicalism”?