The smoke is clearing now, the tumult has subsided, and just about everyone who was involved in the last month's publicized "rift" between blacks and Jews seems to agree that the hullabaloo was largely a false alarm.
The explosions of rhetoric and the expeditions to the Middle East that followed Andrew Young's resignation as ambassador to the United Nations stemmed more from political and personal relationships within the black community than from any serious black-Jewish disagreement, according to interviews with a number of participants and observers.
The media's tendency to pounce on the most provocative statements reporters can dig up also contributed to a suggestion of a fire where there really were only sparks, according to those interviewed.
There are differences, of course, among blacks and Jews in the United States, based partly on policy disagreements and partly on mutual prejudice. On the whole, though, blacks seem to have a closer affinity with Jews than with most other segments of the nation's white majority.
The "rift", if there is any, between blacks and Jews is one of perception.
To many blacks, the american Jew is a comfortably situated landlord, lawyer, or politician -- a pillar of the power structure. Israel, with its mighty air force, its proud military record and its political clout in the United States, is a symbol of Jewish power.
To many Jews, the "powerful Jew" is a myth, concealing the sense of jeopardy that surrounds a people just one generation removed from genocide. And Israel, penned in by enemies and facing estrangement from its American defenders, is a symbol of the vulnerability of Jews everywhere.
And many Jews have their own stereotypes about blacks -- the notion of the "lazy schwartze ," the black ghetto dweller who survives on welfare and is able, but not willing, to pull himself out of poverty.
The ties that bind the two groups, though, seem far stronger than whatever perceptual differences may separate them. No two "blocs" in Congress work closer together, or agree more often, than black and Jewish members. No white surburban neighborhoods have been more receptive to an influx of blacks from the city than the areas where Jews have settled ("nobody ever burned a Star of David on any black man's lawn," one black executive observed). When interracial marriages occur, it is widely thought that they tend to involve blacks and Jews.
And both groups share a feeling -- expressed repeatedly by blacks and by Jews often in identical words -- that they have been victimized by prejudice and shut out of the mainstream of political and economical power in the United States.
Given this broad sense of common interests, it would be remarkable if a passing event like the Andrew Young affair had any lasting effect on black-Jewish relations. That, at least, is the view of the man who was closest to the incident -- Andrew Young.
"I don't think this is a real problem," the cool, confident former ambassador, now working with a nonprofit group recruiting young people into politics, said last week.
"There will always be differences. Some people who are black are going to disagree with some other blacks, some blacks are going to disagree with some people who are Jews -- but then the press says you've got this big conflict. But my resignation was never any reason for conflict."
This was not exactly crystal clear on the afternoon of Aug. 15 when, having been publicly chastised by his superiors for a secret meeting with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Young announced that he would resign as ambasssador to the United Nations.
The abdication of this hero among black Americans was certain to send dismay and anger pulsing through the black community, and some black leaders moved adroitly to position themselves at the crest of this wave.
Anger needed an outlet, and some blacks quickly aimed their fire at Israel -- and by extension, intended or not, at American Jews -- on the assumption that Israel must have demanded Young's scalp because of the PLO meeting.
All concerned seem now to agree that American Jews had little, or nothing, to do with Young's resignation.
But in the first turbulent days following that event, neither President Carter, who was steamboating on the Mississippi, nor Young, who was hinting that Israeli or American intelligence officials had done him in, bothered to set the matter straight.
That left an open field for some blacks leaders to complain that they had suffered the ultimate betrayal by American Jews, old allies with whom they had been arguing quietly -- infanilia -- over domestic matters such as affirmative action.
Before long the front pages were showing prominent American blacks singing "We Shall Overcome" in Lebanon with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, a man widely viewed in the American Jewish community as a diehard antizionist terrorist.
Another public relations beneficiary was Young's own civil rights group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which since the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had faded from public awareness.
The group was holding a little-noticed convention in Norfolk on the day Young resigned. Suddenly reporters descended on Norfolk from around the nation: soon conference members such as Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, the group's president, and Walter E. Fauntroy, the District of Columbia delegate in Congress were discovering common interests between blacks in America and Palestinians in the Middle East.
Some blacks looking back now on all these developments suggest that Israel, the PLO, and America Jews were actually incidental figures in a black political phenomenon.
"The black community in this country has not had a single preeminent leader since Martin was murdered," explained a black veteran of the civil rights movement who now holds a senior federal job. "There are some people who want to be preeminent, and you just have to expect that they are going to try to use any major disruption like to further their own ambitions.
"If Andy Young had been sandbagged for talking to the free Chinese, you would have seen a lot of people on the next plane to Taiwan so they could lay a wreath at the tomb of our great ally Chiang Kai-shek," the official said sardonically. "And Jesse would have been in the front row."
The reference was to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the dashing and daringly outspoken leader of his own Chicago-based movement, PUSH. Jackson was, in fact, in the front row of the black leaders who seemed to have launched a verbal war on Israel.
"We marched with our Jewish brothers together in the struggle for decency," Jackson said. "The Jews who were willing to share decency were not willing to share power . . . We're hurt and we're going to express it. It took us a long time to get an Andy Young."
Jackson was one of the blacks who met with Arafat, and upon his return to Chicago his organization accepted a $10,000 contribution from the Association of Arab-American University Graduates. "We have never put ethnic restrictions on money," Jackson explained. He also pointed out that other civil rights organizations had been the beneficiaries of millions of dollars of Jewish funds and aid over the years.
Last week, after his actions elicited criticism from some moderate black leaders, Jackson said he was sorry for any misunderstandings that may have arisen.
"If, in the heat of controversy, I have made statements that some may have interpreted as anti-Semitic, I want to offer reassurances that such is not the case," Jackson told The Washington Post, "Blacks and Jews have too much to lose to go their separate ways. Both have been historical scapegoats . . . I have never seen a KKK or Nazi sign that did not attack both 'niggers' and Jews."
With that last observation, at least, Jackson seems to have hit a point of general agreement among blacks and Jews of every age and status.
"That's what hurts," said Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the 1.2-million-member Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
"For so long, since World War II, we had had an open, full-hearted relationship . . . . There is a feeling of deep hurt within the Jewish community because many Jews feel that they have been singled out for special obloquy by blacks, that they have laid all of this at our door.
"There is a feeling of being wronged by friends," Schindler said.
The feeling is -- or was -- mutual.
Many Jews interviewed for this article expressed deep-seated fears that any social, political or economic turmoil could lead to an outbreak of anti-Semitism.
Many blacks expressed shock that a people so white and "powerful" could possibly feel endangered by anything.
"Ha! Powerful? I'm going to tell you something," said David Frankel, a member of the leftist Socialist Workers Party.
"People like my parents are scared. Many Jews, by and large, don't feel secure in this country. They feel stability here is a very superficial thing.
They remember what happened in Europe during the global Depression.
"Here, they're worried about the economy, about protecting what they have. They're scared."
Howard Squadron, president of the American Jewish Congress, old enough to the Frankel's father and viewed by some as being as far to the right as Frankel's party is to the left, agreed.
"There is a perception in the Jewish community that most of us have 'made it,' but there is also a strong sense of vulnerability," said Squadron.
"The fear is real, thus the support for Israel. He [Frankie] said many Jews see Israel as something of a safe-house in case of an outbreak of anti-Semitism. I agree with that."
However, Frankel Schindler and Squadron all agree in separate interviews that the future of Jews in the United States and the Middle East will be decided in this country. And for that reason, they agreed, black-Jewish relations must be cemented instead of allowed to disintegrate.
From the black point of view, however, that cement will have to involve a heavy mixture of respect.
"They will have to understand that we are no longer the boys in the civil rights movement," said the Rev. George Lawrence, spokesman for the 1.5-million-member Progressive National Baptist Convention.
Lawrence expressed a widespread black feeling that many Jews worked in the civil rights movement only as long as blacks wanted to eat a lunch counters and not own them.
Some may see that as anti-Semitic. But Lawrence and other blacks insist that it is only a demand for respect -- from allies in particular and from the majority society in general.
Albert Vorspan, national director of the department of social action for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, puts the black relationship this way in his forthcoming book, "Jewish Dilemmas of the Eighties."
"Jews once derived great self-esteem from the sense of benevolence extended to them'.
"Now, many Jews see blacks as competitors for scarce jobs such as teachers or social workers, as well as for scarce positions in graduate schools."
Blacks like Lawrence, Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the NAACP and Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women, are saying that their Jewish allies will have to learn to live with the competition that their early civil rights effort helped bring about.
"The upward mobility factor will continue to operate," Height said. "We both are people who have suffered, but our suffering has been different. Always, color has identified us and we could not fully escape. Our Jewish friend could . . . But we must keep working together and not concern ourselves with who has suffered the most, because we all did."
Sociological surveys of blacks and Jews reach a conclusion in common: in their attitudes toward one another blacks are blacks and Jews are whites.
Although sociologists are wary of the value of public opinion polls to measure such emotional concerns as racial affinity or prejudice, most scholars who have studied the issue -- using polls, interviews, and reviews of literature -- conclude that Jews have roughly the same attitudes toward blacks that other white Americans hold, and blacks have about the same feelings toward Jews that other Christians have.
Dr. Harold Quinley, of the New School for Social Research, and Dr. Charles Y. Glock, of the University of California, who have jointly run the most comprehensive studies of anti-Semitism in America, reported this year that "in general, black Americans and white Americans think about Jews in the same sterotypic terms and are about equally anti-Semitic."
Still, there was a quantitative difference in anti-Jewish prejudice among blacks and whites.
In the white community, the strongest anti-Semitic feelings are found among older, less educated people. But among blacks, the youngest generation is the most anti-Semitic. This pattern is something of a mystery to the sociologists, because it flies in the face of the fundamental dictum that prejudice declines as access to education increases. Quinley and Glock postulate that it reflects bitter dislike for all whites among some elements of the younger black generation.
Middle-class blacks, who are moving into the same neighborhoods, country clubs, and schools as their economic counterparts in white society, generally report that they find easier social acceptance among Jews than among Christian whites. But surveys indicate that Jews share the fears of other whites about the impact of blacks on property values and public education.
Whatever the roots of fear or friendly between blacks and Jews in this country, never has foreign affairs been a factor. Black Americans for the most part, pay little or no attention to the Middle East, and Jews have been equally indifferent to U.S. relations with Africa.
That is another reason why many blacks and Jews now say that the hoopla following the Andrew Young resignation wash more bluster and show business than deepfelt emotion. And that is why many leaders in both communities agree that the summer flare-up will be seen, historically, as a minor blip on a long and generally stable chart.
The historical perspective is likely to come close to Young's own assessment.
"This hullabaloo -- it's insignificant," Young said last week. "It is not going to affect the life of any American in any way."