What Are Black Hebrew Israelites, the Group Jersey City Shooters Were Linked To – NBC New York

Posted By on December 13, 2019

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The deadly shooting rampage at a New Jersey kosher markethas cast a spotlight on a fringe movement known for its anti-Semitic strain ofstreet preaching and its role in a viral-video confrontation at the LincolnMemorial this year.

Investigators believe that the man and woman who killedthree people at the Jersey City grocery Tuesday in addition to gunning down apolice officer at a cemetery hated Jews and law enforcement and had expressedinterest in the Black Hebrew Israelites movement, New Jersey Attorney GeneralGurbir Grewal said Thursday.

But we have not definitively established any formal links to that organization or to any other group, he said. Based on the available evidence, we believe that the two shooters were acting on their own.

Not all sects of the movement spew hateful rhetoric, butmany Black Hebrew Israelites subscribe to an extreme set of anti-Semiticbeliefs. Those followers view themselves as the true chosen people andbelieve that blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are the true descendants ofthe 12 Tribes of Israel, said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-DefamationLeagues Center on Extremism.

They view white people as agents of Satan, Segal said.They believe Jews are liars and false worshippers of God. They view blacks asthe true Israelites, and not the impostor Jews.

Most who encounter the movements followers have seen themproselytizing and provoking arguments with passersby in places like TimesSquare in New York.

Last January, videos of a confrontation at the LincolnMemorial in Washington probably introduced many people to the movement. A groupof black street preachers who referred to themselves as Black Hebrew Israelitesshouted insults at Native Americans and Catholic high school students fromKentucky who had participated in an anti-abortion rally in Washington. Videosof a face-to-face encounter between a Native American activist and a studentwearing a red Make America Great Again hat quickly spread on social media.

J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington UniversitysProgram on Extremism, said the Black Hebrew Israelites have used Facebook andYouTube to spread their message and attract new followers. Prisons also havebeen fertile recruiting grounds for the sects, some of which have thousands ofmembers, according to MacNab.

Once you go online, you find a bigger world. They takepride in confronting Jewish people everywhere and explaining that they areevil, that they are heathens, MacNab said.

MacNab said the Black Hebrew Israelites also includeelements of the anti-government sovereign citizen movement, which has beenlinked to deadly attacks on law enforcement officers.

There is no purity test, she said. When youre generally radicalizing online, youre going to pick up bits and pieces from all over the place.

The Jersey City killers, who died during the attack, were identified as David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50.

An Instagram account that apparently belonged to Andersonshows he was an aspiring rapper whose posts included at least one reference toBlack Hebrew Israelite philosophy a list of the 12 Tribes of Israel from theBible, with each tribe equated to a modern-day ethnic group or country.America has NOTHING for us but DEATH, a caption on one of his posts read. Theaccount went dormant a few years ago.

On Wednesday, the FBI searched the Harlem offices of a majorBlack Hebrew Israelite group, according to a law enforcement official, who wasnot authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition ofanonymity.

Israel United in Christ, a Black Hebrew Israelite group withmore than 40 U.S. locations and a large social media following, condemned theattacks.

The group said it does not condone nor teach this type ofbehavior.

In October, a self-proclaimed black Israelite was chargedwith assaulting two people leaving a prayer service at a synagogue inMiami,according to the ADL. The defendant, Larry Greene,threatened to stab the worshippers to death, called them fake Jews and toldthem to go back to Israel, the ADL said, citing an arrest affidavit.

But the Black Hebrew Israelites dont have a significantrecord of violence, Segal said, noting that the ADL has been tracking themovement since the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Grewal, the attorney general, said authorities are investigating the shootings as potential acts of domestic terrorism, fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs.

Two suspects among six dead in barrage of gunfire that terrorized city for hours

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What Are Black Hebrew Israelites, the Group Jersey City Shooters Were Linked To - NBC New York

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