Some gentile intellectuals found the movement attractive because of its Jewish dominance, but for the most part the essentially Jewish milieu was a barrier (Liebman 1979, 530ff). The Jewish commitment of these radicals, their desire to remain within a Jewish milieu, and their negative attitudes toward Christian gentile culture prevented them from being effective recruiters among the gentile working class. As David Horowitz’s communist father wrote while on a trip through Colorado in the 1930s, “I have feelings . . . that I’m in a foreign land. And it strikes me that unless we learn the people of this country so thoroughly so that we won’t feel that way, we won’t get anywhere. I’m afraid that most of us aren’t really ‘patriotic,’ I mean at bottom deeply fond of the country and people.” Similarly, former communist Sidney Hook (1987, 188) noted, “it was as if they had no roots in, or knowledge of, the American society they wanted to transform.” [In other words, like the Barton Fink character, they didn’t listen and felt superior to the people they were ostensibly trying to help.] A similar situation occurred in Poland, where the efforts of even the most “de-ethnicized” Jewish communists were inhibited by the traditional Jewish attitudes of superiority toward and estrangement from traditional Polish culture (Schatz 1991, 119)..And once in the party, many non-Jews were repelled by its highly intellectual atmosphere and dropped out. As expected on the basis of social identity theory on the hypothesis that radicalism was fundamentally a form of secular Judaism, there are indications of an anti-gentile atmosphere within these organizations: “There was also present among Jewish intellectuals and leftists a mixture of hostility and superiority toward Gentiles” (Liebman 1979, 534)..There was also an ethnic divide between Jewish and Black Communist Party workers resulting at least partly from “a missionary and patronizing attitude” of the Jewish organizers (Lyons 1982, 80)..Encounters between Blacks and Jews always seemed to involve Jews reaching out and “helping” Blacks, “teaching” them, “guiding” them. Many Black intellectuals ended their flirtation with the Communist Party bitter not only at the communists but at Jews they felt had treated them condescendingly. “How can the average public school Negro be expected to understand the exigencies of the capitalist system as it applies to both Jew and Gentile in America . . . since both groups act strangely like Hitlerian Aryans . . . when it comes to colored folks?” asked Langston Hughes, bitter after a feud with Jewish communists. (Kaufman 1997, 110)
This sense of condescending superiority of Jewish radicals in the civil rights movement has been identified as a source of the current upsurge of anti-Semitism among African Americans.