The Left Can’t Shake Its Farrakhan Problem

March 13 2018

When Tamika Mallory, a chairwoman of the 2017 Women’s March, praised the Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan, two of her fellow chairwomen—and many of their followers—rallied to defend her from critics. This controversy came hard on the heels of recent revelations about Farrakhan’s continued relationship with mainstream African-American politicians. The editors of the Weekly Standard comment:

How strange that these self-proclaimed “intersectional” feminists would support an openly misogynistic and racist demagogue like Farrakhan. Among his more recent offerings: “When a woman does not know how to cook and the right foods to cook, she’s preparing death for herself, her husband, and her children.” He’s also observed that “man is supposed to have rule, especially in his own house . . . and when she rules you, you become her child.” Directly to women he cried: “You are a failure if you can’t keep a man, no profession can keep you happy!” We wonder just what it is about him that these feminists find so alluring.

More troubling is the photo that recently surfaced of a 2005 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting with Farrakhan. It featured Illinois’s rookie senator, Barack Obama, smiling broadly at Farrakhan’s side. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, says the CBC asked him to suppress the image because it might have derailed Obama’s presidential aspirations. Nor is that the only time CBC members hobnobbed with Farrakhan: as Jeryl Bier pointed out in the Wall Street Journal in January, several of them can be seen shaking hands with Farrakhan or hugging him in a 2009 YouTube video.

We doubt the photo with Farrakhan would have hurt Obama, who easily weathered revelations of his long association with the anti-Semitic and anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright. What’s troubling is that the preponderance of mainstream journalists are happy to look the other way. We suspect that if a photo emerges some day of George W. Bush grinning with Richard Spencer or David Duke, the New York Times will have room for it on page A1.

On March 4, the CBC member Danny K. Davis defended his relationship with Farrakhan by remarking that “the world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth.” That phrase, “the Jewish question,” rings a bell. Where have we heard that before?

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More about: Barack Obama, Democrats, Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, Politics & Current Affairs

For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror