Here’s What you need to Know about the Black Hebrew Israelites

Members of the Black Hebrew Israelites walk from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 13, 2018. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Police have identified one of the dead suspects in a shootout at a kosher market in Jersey City as David Anderson, who reportedly was once a member of the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Here are some things to know about the movement.

Are they Jewish?

Black Hebrew Israelites can refer broadly to people of African descent who claim to be descended from the biblical Israelites and practice certain Jewish rituals. The movement emerged from a stream of late 19th-century black nationalism that claimed African-Americans were the true descendants of the ancient Hebrews. Some estimates put the number of adherents in the tens of thousands, and the various member groups vary in ideology and outlook. Those differences are manifest in their views on Jews, with some seeking mainstream Jewish community acceptance, while others see their identity as separate from Judaism.

Are they anti-Semites?

Not generally. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies some Black Hebrew Israelites as a hate group, naming one branch in particular, the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ. A 2008 report from the center warned that extremism within the movement was on the rise.

“Although most Hebrew Israelites are neither explicitly racist nor anti-Semitic and do not advocate violence, there is a rising extremist sector within the Hebrew Israelite movement whose adherents believe that Jews are devilish impostors and who openly condemn whites as evil personified, deserving only death or slavery,” the SPLC said.

Are they the guys yelling on street corners?

Sometimes. Extremist Hebrew Israelites can be found on street corners literally shouting their doctrine, which can include Holocaust denial, misogyny and anti-LGBTQ invective, at passersby. They are especially visible in major Northeastern cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., as well as in Florida and some Southern states.

Don’t Hebrew Israelites have a community in southern Israel?

One part of the wider Black Hebrew Israelite movement began arriving in Israel in the late 1960s, where they settled in the Negev Desert town of Dimona. There were tensions at first between Israeli authorities and the group, but these have been mostly resolved. In recent years, members of the group have become citizens and integrated into Israel’s diverse music scene.

Isn’t Michelle Obama’s cousin a Hebrew Israelite?

Yes. Rabbi Capers Funnye, who has led the International Israelite Board of Rabbis and is a cousin of the former first lady, is the chief rabbi of the black Jewish community. He also leads Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago. Uniquely among Hebrew Israelite rabbis, Funnye has embraced mainstream Jewish beliefs and cultivated a relationship with the mainstream American Jewish community.

What’s the connection to white nationalism?

There is none. Extremist Black Hebrew Israelites hate whites. But some have claimed that the rise of far-right groups is empowering black extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center told the Forward last month that black extremism, manifest through groups like Black Hebrew Israelites, is feeding off the rise in white nationalist extremism and attracting recruits. Tom Metzger, a white supremacist leader, once called the movement “the black counterparts of us.”

Follow VosIzNeias For Breaking News Updates is here to help you manage your home without the stress. Go to for recipes, menu planners, kids' activities, and more.


    • if good guys had guns, the criminals would be scared – you can’t stop access to firearms with laws anymore than you can stop access to drugs with laws – all gun laws do is make law abiding citizens into sitting ducks

  1. This is Psycho group who takes an abusive approach in preaching their Sci-Fi fantasy on street corners surprised they didn’t turn violent till now

    As far as guns go I’m all for gun permits but for normal small capacity weapons or regular hunting rifle there is no good explanation on gods given earth why a civilian should be allowed to own a military-style assault weapon that shoots 5.56 or higher caliber Ammo that can carry extended magazines to fire 30 or more without reloading and for the 2nd amendment fanatics the weapons used at the time of writing the Declaration of Independence 1776 was a muzzle-loaded musket which on a good day could fire 4 rounds per minute VS 30 rounds in 30 seconds there is no conceivable way they would allow this kind of weapon on the street if yes why can’t i own an RPG or even better mortars and a cannon in my back yard also enforce a no fly zone over my house with anti-aircraft missiles

    • Leo: Please limit your comments to items and laws you are actually familiar with. Do you know the difference between “military style assault weapons” vs long guns, vs pistols? Based on your comments, the answer is no because none of the attacks used “military style weapons” in action.

      The courts also ruled in Hollis vs Lynch that the 2nd amendment grants you ANY weapon that has “Common use” is protected under the amendment. You nuclear and RPG options will not be protected as they are restricted to the military and not in common use. There are also additional federal laws that prohibit machine guns, and laws that require permits for explosives etc. So as you can see, none of the weapons used were “military style in action” are legal to own or use.

      Furthermore, NY, and NJ both have magazine capacity at 7/10, not 30 like you are implying. By trying to restrict 5.56 you are not also restricting the choice of ammo for hunting. A 9MM can also kill very nicely, so I would avoid your ammo size.

    • So, if a few men with assault rifles invade your home, you can use your .380 with 7 shots. I’d rather protect my family and self with weapons to match the evil guys. How is it that Leftists never take the time to research the other side of an issue. They just march lockstep to their fascist DemoncRAT extremely corrupt politicians & academics, lamestream drive-by media, union thug bosses, & Hollyweird morons. Even when every Libtarded idea destroys rather than helps the country.

  2. I wish vosizneias would refrain from posting articles that use the highly discredited fake hate group, which is itself an extremest hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Even its name is a complete lie as it has nothing to do with poverty or Law. I doubt it’s even Southern, but won’t waste a minute on it to find out.

    • To SAME. IDIOT VIN POSTER- the SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER is universally respected, except by nazi-fascist alt-white hate groups. Formerly called KLAN WATCH they have successfully sued nazi gangs, terror cults and the evil KKK. Google the SPLC. Its led by Morrid Dees, a heroic Jewish man who fights hate in Amerika.

  3. Regarding knowledge of weapons i think i know enough to be able to comment about them

    Caliber of ammo and weapon makes all the difference a AR-15 or similar weapon is a basic army issued M4 only difference is the M4 is full Automatic and the AR-15 is sami Automatic the fact that law restricts full automatic brings little comfort as its still a high powered sami Automatic weapon with a lethal distance of up to 1500 meters with a velocity of 3251 fps a weapon almost impossible to hide from in a civilian setting as it will go through almost anything compared to a 9mm or a 45 that is 600 fps with an effective range of 100 meters

    Law restrictions on these weapons mean nothing as i can make a Mod for it with my 3d printer in my bedroom creat a bump stock high capacity magazines in all

    Regarding home protection ask any professional teaching tactical they would tell you a rifle of any kind is not recommended for home defense


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here