A Christian apologist and researcher says it was members of a “militant and mysterious sect” who confronted and publicly berated a group of Catholic high schoolers during the March for Life in Washington, DC, last month.
While the greater majority of conservative media has exposed Native American Nathan Phillips as an instigator of the viral incident on January 18 involving Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High, attention to the other foul-mouthed agitators – the self-proclaimed “Black Hebrew Israelites” – has been largely ignored.
OneNewsNow spoke to Vocab Malone, author of Barack Obama vs. The Black Hebrew Israelites, who reports that members of the religious group claim to be the “physical descendants of ancient Israelites.” He identifies the “camp” involved with the Covington Catholic High incidentas House of Israel (HOI), which is led by an individual known as Elder Priest Zabach.
In regard to their ideology, Malone reveals HOI is strongly influenced by the 1West School. “This school of thought,” he says, “believes blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans are all ‘Hebrew Israelites’.”
Black Americans claiming to be the true Israelites began as early as the 1890s, Malone explains. The Christian apologist and researcher attributes their growth, however, to the 1West faction of Hebrew Israelism. “1West Hebrew Israelite groups – such as the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge [for example] – mark their founding date as 1969 in Harlem, New York,” he shares.
The author argues that the number of Hebrew Israelites in America raises some concern.
“If we only include 1West camps in the U.S.,” Malone says, “some observers estimate 25,000 members,” adding that the numbers are “changing rapidly because the movement is burgeoning.” In one example, last year, he says the New York-based Israel United in Christ (IUIC) reported an addition 1,000 new members.
And according to Malone, the sects of 1West Hebrew Israelites continue to experience a “membership boom.” In recent years, he says, “many camps have opened up schools in Europe and the Caribbean Islands, [and] some are now proselytizing in Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria.” He also points out that if non-1West groups were included, the numbers would rise even more significantly.
Some question whether Hebrew Israelites should be considered a cult or a religion. Malone admits “some modern scholars of religion shy away from the label ‘cult’ because of its pejorative connotations” and instead use “the favored term in mainstream academia: New Religious Movement (NRM).” However, “non-specialists would generally classify aspects of Hebrew Israelite dogma and praxis as cultic.”
A noisy confrontation
The Covington students involved in the January 18 incident – according to a statement by Nick Sandmann – began chanting loudly (after obtaining permission from their chaperones) in an attempt to “drown out the hateful comments” being directed at them by the Hebrew Israelites that day:
Sandmann’s statement: “The protestors said hateful things. They called us ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘faggots,’ and ‘incest kids.’ They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would ‘harvest his organs.’ I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.”
Malone tells OneNewsNow that provocative words and profanity used by 1West Hebrew Israelites in public often lend themselves to what many would consider racism. In fact, the author confirms that they “are not ashamed to say they believe God himself is racist.” In addition, anti-American sentiment is rather obvious among Hebrew Israelites, like the 1West faction. Malone states, “[they are] strongly anti-American because they believe the U.S. is Babylon.”
He continues: “1Westers, such as the House of Israel, believe only descendants of Jacob can be saved” and teach that all other nations – including Europeans, Asians, Arabs, and others – “are destined to serve and obey the Hebrew Israelites in their eternal Kingdom.”
Specifically in reference to the Covington incident, Malone shares that most Hebrew Israelites “believe the media used House of Israel as a scapegoat in an attempt to smear the whole religion.” Furthermore, he explains, they actually believe the high school students were present in Washington on January 18 “to specifically antagonize participants of the Indigenous People’s March.”
Malone warns that “[Hebrew Israelites] believe these are signs of the End Times” and that “their movement will grow exponentially … because it is the Most High’s will for this time in history.”
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.