Commentary Magazine’s ‘Negro Problem’

Photo of Commentary Magazine’s ‘Negro Problem’

In a notorious 1963 essay titled “My Negro Problem–And Ours” Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, wrote of to “the insane rage” he felt “at the thought of Negro anti-Semitism.” Podhoretz didn’t elucidate why “Negro anti-Semitism,” which manifested itself most visibly in the ravings of the Nation of Islam, should be any worse than white anti-Semitism—which, after all, was responsible for centuries of persecutions, pogroms, and, ultimately, the Holocaust. But in the pages of Commentary magazine, which Podhoretz edited from 1960 to 1995, other writers frequently took up the theme, airing their anxiety that the rise of African-American political activism would undermine the interests of Jewish Americans.

Commentary magazine is now edited by John Podhoretz, Norman’s son. And its June issue, which came online last month and began receiving critical attention this week, is about racial tension. “African Americans Vs. American Jews” announces the cover.

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