On Oct. 27, Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving tweeted his support for a so-called “documentary” — “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a film based on the book of the same title, by Ronald Dalton, Jr., who also narrates the movie. Although commentators have characterized the film/book as filled with “antisemitic tropes,” in fact, both elaborate an antisemitic ideology—built around a web of interwoven fables—the belief-system of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which is dedicated to the delegitimization of Judaism.
Irving explained that he was “here to expose things that our world continues to put in darkness…. I’m a beacon of light.” He is revealing what the Jews—who, Dalton informed him, own “ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN”—have kept hidden about the blacks—and the real history of the “Jews.” And when Irving declaimed, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” he had absorbed Dalton’s teaching that he and all Black Hebrew Israelites—not those who call themselves “Jews”—are “Semites,” descendants of Shem—so he cannot be “anti-himself.”
Notably, Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam (NOI) since 1977, spoke at length in defense of Irving. But tellingly, he provided no specifics about the film because fundamental tenets of the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) undermine the foundation premises of the NOI. Still, there is much they share, especially about their main “enemy”—the “imposter Jews” and their “counterfeit” or “dirty religion.” And their conviction that the Jews’ “time is up”—“their world is through.”
For the NOI, the Jews have been the blacks’ foremost foe for the last 4,000 years, since they emerged “naked [from] the caves and hillsides of Europe” and became servants of Satan, radically altering the Torah to bless their main mission of subjugating black people, and ultimately ruling all the nations of the world. For the BHI, the counterfeit religion took form only two millennia ago, when the Kenites, descendants of Cain, “stealthily infiltrated the priestly Levite tribe” and became their scribes. Transforming the Torah, they made it appear that “Jews,” a newly formed group of pagan converts, who clung to the ways “of Satan,” were “God’s Chosen People”—stealing the identity of the BHI, the true “Children of Israel.”
Evading the threat posed by the BHI ideology, Farrakhan focused on warning Irving that “the master” sees him as “a slave here that’s getting out of place.” The Jews “still are an old wicked slavemaster” who only want him to “Sing for me nigger. Don’t talk—dribble, dribble.” He advised Irving, “Resist the Devil—and he will flee from you!”
Many of the core BHI beliefs delineated by Dalton challenged the foundation narrative of the NOI, which contends Holy Scripture consists largely of prophecy about “the black people of America.” Thus, no Jews had ever been “in bondage in Egypt.” The biblical tale only foretold that black people would be “afflicted in this country, for 400 years.” Moreover, “ISLAM” was “the original religion” of the “Children of Israel,” brought to America in chains.
Dalton and the BHI, by contrast, contend that the Torah—before corrupted by the “Jews”—recorded the experiences of the Black Hebrew Israelites—the Tribe of Judah. It was they the ancient Egyptians enslaved—they who were brought to the Americas in slave irons—they who fled persecution in the Land of Judah into Africa and Arabia, where they were ultimately captured, enslaved, or driven out.
Thus, many of the enslaved called themselves Yehudi and spoke Hebrew, although, as “prophesied,” they “would lose their heritage and their language.” Indeed, it was the Black Hebrew Israelites whom Muslims defeated, beheaded, and enslaved in the Battle of Khaybar (628CE). The rallying cry heard at anti-Israel protests—“Remember Khaybar!”—is, therefore, misbegotten—having nothing to do with Israel’s “imposter Jews.”
The NOI and BHI also hold conflicting views over the origins of black people. The NOI traces the roots to Esau, the first of the “two nations” to emerge from Rebecca’s womb. Although “the birthright” as “the Chosen of God” belonged to him—whom the NOI recognizes as the Black Nation, “Original Man”—Rebecca and Jacob conspired to steal it, and it is on Jacob—later “known as Israel”—whom Isaac bestowed his blessing, promising that he will “rule the nations, they will all be your servants.” Through treachery, Jews had extracted a blessing for their mission to enslave the descendants of Esau, Original Man.
Dalton, by contrast, recognizes Esau as forefather of the Edomites, who in the first century CE moved to Samaria where, forced to convert to the new, bogus religion, they comprised the Sephardic Jews—a trajectory the NOI would find appalling. For Dalton, blacks can trace their origins to Ham, “father of all dark races,” and to Shem, whom he characterizes as “black,” though sometimes “brown.” Abraham, forefather of the Hebrew Israelites, was “black,” “proven by the Book of Jubilee,” whose truths Israel has kept “hidden.” And since “many” of King Solomon’s wives were black, “the Tribe of Judah from King Solomon’s lineage would be black” as well.
The NOI and BHI narratives also clash profoundly over Islam. Dalton acknowledges that Arabs and Muslims identify as Semites, tracing their lineage to “Abraham through Ishmael.” And, Dalton continues, since Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, Ishmael was black; this is indisputable because Hagar was an Ancient Egyptian, who were all “black with tight kinky hair.” Moreover, the “Twelve Princes of Ishmael” from whom “Ishmaelites” descend—borne by Ishmael’s “Black Egyptian” and “black Canaanite” wives—are only “one-quarter Semitic”—much to the chagrin of the NOI.
The divide between the NOI and BHI became unbridgeable once the narrative turned to the Modern Arabs. Dalton relates that in the first six centuries CE, Arabia and North Africa were the “Black Land of Ham,” but “by 711CE, … a new race of people” “had subdued all of North Africa.” They, the modern Arabs, were not a Semitic people, but descendants of Japheth—“white to light-skinned” Europeans, largely of “the Turkish nations of the North”—who bore no relation to Ishmael.
It was they, the new “Arabs,” who enslaved the scattered Hebrew Israelites of North Africa and sub-Saharan regions, “starting almost one thousand years before the Atlantic slave trade” and “continuing [until] today.” Further, “Islam was forced upon us during the invasion of North Africa by the Arabs [and] it continued as our new mandatory religion during the Arab slave trade.” In sum, Islam is not the natural religion of black people; today’s Arabs are not descendants of Ishmael, and Palestinian Arabs are not descendants of Canaan, as they claim.
Nor, Dalton contends, do the “Ashkenazi Jews” who “occupy Israel” bear any relation to the “biblical Children of Israel.” They are descendants of Japheth, patriarch of the European tribes, and have “no bloodline to Shem, Abraham, Isaac or Jacob.” Dalton underscores that “‘Ashkenazi Jew’ … is not found in the Bible, ANYWHERE!” Moreover, Ashkenazi Jews “exhibit no physical traces of black … therefore, [they are] not related to the Ancient Hebrew Israelites.”
In fact, Dalton instructs—and Farrakhan agrees—“extensive research” has proven that “European Ashkenazi Jews are descended from … the ‘Khazars,’” “pagan worshippers” whose “whole nation” converted to so-called Judaism in 740CE. Moreover, “ancient historians and travelers” linked the Khazar European Jews to “the biblical Japhetic nation … ‘Gog and Magog.’” Ashkenaz was “the son of Gog [and] grandson of Japheth. So … Khazar-Ashkenazi Jews ARE ‘Gog and Magog’”—evil forces in the Christian lexicon.
Indeed, “In 929 chapters of the Old Testament, the word ‘Jew’ is found only 74 times! How can this be?” Dalton asks. And then he explains that the Kenites—the Levite scribes—made “this sneaky insertion of the word ‘Jews’ to link Judaism followers to ‘God’s Chosen People’ … [so] they could take on the identity of the original Hebrew Israelites and nobody would know they were ‘imposters.’” Thus, “Jesus was definitely not a ‘Jew,’” and “despised” Judaism, which had “substituted … the Kenite/Nethinim evil tradition for the Law of Moses.”
“While Jesus walked the Earth” and over the next two centuries “the face of Judea … changed.” The “Children of Israel [had] scattered,” replaced by the “Jews”—the Kenites, Nethinim, and “Sephardic Jews,” pagan converts who “changed things … to their ways, … that of Satan.”
It was the “imposter Jews,” Dalton concludes, who were “highly responsible” for bringing “the real Black Hebrew Israelites” on slave ships, especially to the Caribbean and South America, where, “as overseers” and enslavers, they took “the Lost Hebrew Israelite people as far away from the truth and salvation as possible.” After all, “this is what Satan wants to achieve.” Here, Dalton and Farrakhan are largely in accord. The 1991 screed, The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, by the NOI “Research Department,” attributed “monumental culpability” for the Atlantic slave trade to Jews—a “monumental lie.”
Kyrie Irving justified his interest in “Hebrews to Negroes” by tweeting, “I am a seeker of truth and knowledge and I know who I am.” A “documentary” that demonizes Jews and delegitimizes Judaism and the Jewish state helped Irving “know who” he is. Notably, he believed that he and his followers could find “truth and knowledge” in a “documentary” that robs the foundation narrative of the Jews—and insists it was the Jews who robbed the blacks.
Upon leaving an address by Farrakhan, a Black woman explained to a reporter, “You know how you can hear the truth and it just feels right? That’s the way it is when I listen to Minister Farrakhan. He speaks nothing but the truth.” Clearly, these demagogues’ antisemitic worldviews continue to satisfy deep needs.
Dr. Eunice G. Pollack is the author of “Black Antisemitism in America: Past and Present” (2022).