Posted by Curt on 25 March, 2018 at 7:29 pm. 2 comments already!


It has long been known that Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour is a proud supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Earlier this month, it emerged that her colleague Tamika Mallory was present at the organization’s annual “Saviour’s Day” event in February, where Farrakhan condemned “Satanic Jews” for being “the mother and father of apartheid,” alleged they control the FBI, and blamed them for chemically inducing homosexuality in black men through the distribution of marijuana. What more is there to say?

Except, there is more. Given repeated opportunities to condemn these remarks and disassociate herself from Farrakhan, with whom she has had a friendly relationship spanning several years, Mallory has repeatedly demurred, at one point tweeting that “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!” a comment that will not help to persuade her critics that she stands foursquare against anti-Semitism. Mallory’s refusal to condemn Farrakhan unconditionally brings to mind a certain political leader who could not help but point out to the world that there were “some very fine people” among the neo-Nazis, skinheads, Klansmen, and other assorted lowlifes who disgraced the city of Charlottesville last year.

Donald Trump was universally denounced for that remark, and rightly so. For refusing to denounce Louis Farrakhan, Tamika Mallory has found far more sympathy, not least from Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “Now you work with people all the time with whom you disagree,” Jarrett said when asked about the kerfuffle on The View. “Goodness knows I met with the Koch brothers when we were working on criminal justice or Rupert Murdoch when we were working on immigration reform.” Conservative critics rounded on this comment for the moral equivalency it ostensibly drew between Farrakhan and a trio of right-wing stalwarts. But Jarrett’s subtle intention was not so much to besmirch the latter as it was to legitimize the former. And unlike Jarrett with Murdoch, the leaders of the Women’s March respect and admire Farrakhan and do not understand why anyone would blanch at their associating with him.

Farrakhan’s chumminess with the leaders of America’s largest social movement and a half dozen or more African-American members of Congress is not the only indication of how America’s leading anti-semitic conspiracy theorist is being—to use a term favored by the so-called Resistance—“normalized.” When a photograph surfaced in January of a smiling Obama and Farrakhan at a 2005 Congressional Black Caucus function, few people wanted to ask uncomfortable questions. It was obvious why the photographer, an employee of Farrakhan’s Final Call, “gave up the picture at the time and basically swore secrecy.”

But what was the future president doing there? Moreover, why would the CBC even allow Farrakhan into its event? To this day, Donald Trump, rightly, cannot escape his reluctance to forthrightly disavow the endorsement of David Duke, a man he has never met, let alone posed with for a grip-and-grin. If Trump’s long-distance political footsie with Duke was cause for concern, and it was, then how does one explain the up-close-and-personal embrace of a vile bigot by members of the Congressional Black Caucus?

Later, it would emerge that Democratic Congressmen Andre Carson held a secret meeting in 2015 with Farrakhan at the latter’s hotel suite in Washington. Farrakhan claims that Congressman Keith Ellison, a former organizer for the Nation of Islam and currently deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, was also present at the meeting. Ellison denies it. Yet his word in such matters is not to be taken at face value, as Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler recently awarded him “Four Pinocchios” for years of evasions and outright lies about his association with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Finally, Danny Davis, Farrakhan’s congressman, chimed in, stating, “The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing.” Good to know.

Sadly, such minimization and prevarication has defined a great deal of the progressive response to the Farrakhan imbroglio. “We acknowledge that much of the demand to ‘condemn’ or ‘renounce’ Louis Farrakhan is not itself a call to work for justice on behalf of marginalized communities, but is merely performative,” reads a victim-blaming statement from March Forward Massachusetts, a Women’s March affiliate, insinuating that those concerned about the Nation of Islam’s virulent anti-Semitism (not to mention homophobia and misogyny) are insincere. In a blog post, Ellison said that questions about his association with the Nation of Islam constitute “a smear by factions on the right who want to pit the Jewish community and the Black community against each other,” and invoked Texas Republican hatchet man Lee Atwater, dead since 1991, for good measure—as if those who object to Farrakhan’s lunacy are the real bigots.

Illustrative of the selective blindness adopted by some liberal Jews was an op-ed by New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman titled “Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Why Aren’t American Jews Speaking Up?” which avoided a single mention of the Farrakhan controversy (or any incidents of anti-Semitism on the left). “The same photos that people have pulled up on the internet that showed my relationship with the Nation of Islam have been there for years,” Tamika Mallory complained to Adam Serwer of The Atlantic, before whipping out the word that has become a talisman for progressive activists. “And yet I was still able to build an intersectional movement that brought 5 million people together, and the work that I have done for over 20 years, and it’s very clear that I have worked across the lines with very different people.”

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