Democrats Need to Denounce Louis Farrakhan. But they Aren’t.
Here’s a recent sampling of the great body of hateful comments Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has made about the Jewish people (and others) over the years. I don’t suppose you want to read any more, but here is a more comprehensive list complied by the Jewish Virtual Library, if you have the stomach for it.
“Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men…White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled a cover off of that Satanic Jew, and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through. You good Jews better separate because the satanic ones will take you to hell with them because that’s where they are headed.”
But be prepared for the types of views that, if espoused by virtually anyone else on Earth, would end the career of any public figure and relegate them to the dustbin of history: 9/11 conspiracy theories, defense of violent terrorist groups, praise of Hitler, Holocaust denial, anti-gay remarks.
Even though Farrakhan’s influence has arguably dwindled significantly, he still holds sway. He doesn’t draw the same crowds as he once did during the Million Man March in 1995, but his Savior’s Day speech, which contained the above vitriolic quote, was attended by thousands. Farrakhan’s reach also, unfortunately, still extends into the Democratic party.
The Women’s March Has a Farrakhan Problem
Alarm bells are starting to sound about Women’s March co-founders and their open support of Farrakhan. “Don’t join this year’s Women’s March unless you’re good with anti-Semitism,” writes Karol Markowicz. “Embracing Farrakhan betrays the most essential principles of the Women’s March,” Slate in March of 2018. “When Progressives Embrace Hate,” the New York Times, August 2017.
Part of the furor revolves around one of the attendees of Farrakhan’s February 2018 Savior’s Day speech. Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory, who even posed with Farrakhan and posted the picture to Instagram. Mallory, who was criticized by some for her presence at the speech and her support of Farrakhan, should be especially problematic for liberal Democrats as the Women’s March is largely focused on intersectionality and inclusivity.
“Minister Farrakhan’s statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles,” was the somewhat bland official statement released by the Women’s March in response to criticism about Mallory supporting the anti-Semitic Farrakhan.
Linda Sarsour, another co-founder of the Women’s March, has also been criticized for her support of Farrakhan. Linda Sarsour, an activist I’ve commented on in the past, took part in and spoke at a Nation of Islam event organized by Farrakhan in 2015, “Justice or Else.” The Nation of Islam has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Sarsour was also criticized last year for comments she made encouraging a ‘jihad’ against Trump. She later apologized for using the term.
“I hope that we when we stand up to those who oppress our communities that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad. That we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or in the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House. Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community, it is not to assimilate and please any other people and authority.”
Farrakhan’s New Low/Same Old Low
Farrakhan’s views haven’t really changed all that much over the last 30-years. And that’s not a compliment. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Farrakhan “has espoused anti-Semitism and racism for over 30-years as the leader of the Nation of Islam.”
So it should surprise virtually no one that mere weeks after referring to Jewish people as termites, Farrakhan reminded everyone why the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenbelt, calls him “the most popular anti-Semite in America today” by leading chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” during a recent trip to Iran.
Farrakhan conducted the chants during a talk with students at the University of Tehran law school.
Like Bill Clinton in the post #MeToo era, Farrakhan is a crushing albatross to Democrats trying to brand themselves the inclusive. Will Farrakhan ever feel compelled by Democrats to tone down the hateful rhetoric, or does he take their longtime silence as complicity?
What Happens Now?
In March of 2018, a Republican Jewish coalition called for the resignations of certain Democrats over their associations with Farrakhan. Among them, Rep. Maxine Waters, who appeared in a recently released video embracing Farrakhan. These new revelations about Farrakhan’s “Death to America, Death to Israel” chants in Iran will make addressing these criticisms even more important.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach called the chants a “new low for arch Jew-hater Farrakhan,” and appealed to President Obama and President Clinton, who have both appeared publicly with Farrakhan, to denounce him. Will they respond?
And not everyone blames Democrats for their failure to condemn Farrakhan. Ari Fleischer, former Bush White House spokesman, had a blistering rebuke for those in the press who have glossed over or simply ignored completely the many failings of Louis Farrakhan: “The reason Bill Clinton and other Democratic leaders can share a stage with this man is because, with the exception of [CNN anchor] Jake Tapper, most of the media looks the other way.”