As if on cue, Rev. Louis Farrakhan is back in the political spotlight spouting his familiar anti-Semitic, homophobic views — just in time to make Democrats squirm ahead of a crucial election.
The 84-year-old Leader of the Nation of Islam last week delivered a fiery speech in Chicago honoring the founder of his church, the late Wallace Fard Muhammad. In the speech, Farrakhan quickly returned to his favorite rhetorical target: Jews.
“The powerful Jews are my enemy,” Farrakhan proclaimed, later adding that he himself, “by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off that Satanic Jew.”
Farrakhan said Jews “were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men.”
Those are familiar themes for Farrakhan, along with his assertion that “White folks are going down,” but what made headlines was that Tamika D. Mallory, one of four national co-chairs of the Women’s March movement, was in attendance.
In an op-ed, Jonathan Greenblatt, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, called out Mallory and and Women’s March co-founders Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour for their frequent support of Farrakhan.
Mallory issued a tweet describing herself as an opponent of racism, but did not address Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism.
“I am and always have been against all forms of racism. I am committed to ending anti-black racism, antisemitism, homophobia & transphobia. This is why I helped create an intersectional movement to bring groups together,” she tweeted on Sunday.
Under fire from a number of media outlets, notably CNN’s Jake Tapper, the Women’s March issued an official statement Tuesday that disavowed Farrakhan’s remarks, saying they were “not aligned” with the movement’s principles, but fell short of condemning them.
“Minister Farrakhan’s statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles, which were created by women of color leaders and are grounded in Kingian Nonviolence,” the statement read.
The Women’s March also excused “our external silence” over the past week “as we are holding these conversations and trying to break the cycles that pit our communities against each other.”
The issue was already being mined for political advantage by right-leaning media organs such as the New York Post, under the headline “Look who admires notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.”
The blowup had echoes of Republican charges in the 2008 presidential campaign that then-candidate Barack Obama had been slow to disassociate himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a fiery African-American preacher who also trafficked in anti-Semitism. And it may provide a debating point to use against Democrats and their widely expressed belief that President Trump is a racist and that he has attracted support from white nationalist and neo-Nazi elements.
One thing is certain, the 2018 midterms will have a familiar ring to them.
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