When Ginsburg and Friedman argue that Jews participated in the movement because it served their own self interests, the connotation was that this was a relatively benign thing. To critics like Harold Cruse, Jews were trying to 'control' the movement in order to achieve their own ends and used Blacks to do so. Malcolm X as a member of the Nation of Islam agreed
and added that Jews who joined CORE only wanted to take 'the heat' off of themselves and were hypocrites in that they were just as racist as the rest of White America.(8)
Meier and Rudwick identify Jewish organizations and donors as the 'predominant' financiers of CORE.(9) Historically, it was primarily Christians that ran CORE from its earliest days. CORE started as a spin off of the Christian organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Jews as members were clearly in the minority.
In CORE, it is usually Marv Rich and Alan Gartner from the national office who receive the most attention in discussing this 'exploitation' within the civil rights movement. But even in the late 1950's and 1960's Jews were a minority in the national office. They were more prevalent at the local level.
These arguments also ignore the long term very conscious effort to have more Blacks in the national office and positions of power in general.
So for all the Al Shankars and Mayor Ed Kochs that give weight to such arguments, there were NYC CORE members like Marjorie Leeds, Sandy Feldman and Stan Brezenoff that got a 'thumbs up' from 'children of Malcolm' like Jitu Weusi and Sonny Carson.
Some critics have even argued that Jews joined CORE just because they wanted to have sex with Black people (hey, who doesn't?). That of course works both ways. So many of the Black power militants were not only dating Jewish women in CORE (as in the case of Harlem CORE), in many cases they married them.
Consequences (Is It good for the Jew?)
Many of the Jewish members who married Blacks paid a steep price. There is a common story among them when it comes to their families reaction to their relationships. They were often cut off by their families and/or the families would refuse to even acknowledge their partners. In many cases these family schisms were never reconciled.
Even though there is a tendency to look back and see such activists historically as a point of pride, at the time they were instead often condemned by the Jewish community.
The twin sister of New York CORE's Ruth Moskowitz tells a story of how when Ruth came back from Mississippi where she had served time for being a Freedom Rider, she had been invited to speak at their families' synagogue in Borough Park. During the services, their 'favorite teacher' who taught them in the sixth grade actually stood up and denounced Moskowitz for her civil rights work. She "thought Ruth had done a horrible thing" and "had terribly bigoted things to say about her activism". "Her activism did not endear her to everyone in the community".(10)
Friedman in his What Went Wrong notes how there was a question in the Jewish community as to whether or not these activists were being 'real Jews', just as Blacks who did not support the movement were often labeled as 'uncle toms'.(11) The 'rebel rabbi' Kurt Flascher, who was involved in the Albany Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King and the SCLC, confirmed this in talking about he was treated by Southern Jews in Georgia and others in the Brooklyn orthodox community.
As if it was not difficult enough being Jewish, in the eyes of other Whites, the fact they were associating with and assisting Blacks only made it worse. Now they were 'jew nigger lovers'. White racists did single out Jews from other white activists as in the case of Downtown CORE's Mickey Schwerner, who the local KKK knew as "Jew-boy".
This was nothing new. During the first Freedom Ride, 1947's Journey of Reconciliation, future Downtown CORE member Igal Roodenko was arrested along with Bayard Rustin. After a North Carolina judge asked Roodenko if he was Jewish, he stated, "It's about time you Jews from New York learned that you can't come down here bringing your niggers with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson, I gave your black boys thirty days, and I give you ninety."(12)
Anti-Semitism in CORE
Most Jewish members in the NYC area stated during their interviews they did not experience anti-semitism in CORE. Arnie Goldwag in describing how he was pushed out of Brooklyn CORE by Sonny Carson implied that the issue had to do with him being White, pure and simple. Some members pointed out that others in CORE may not have even known they were Jewish due to their looks and last name as in the case of Columbia CORE's Mark Naison.