In recent weeks, a number of liberal rabbis and others Jews have come to the defense of public figures who connected to Rev. Louis Farrakhan.
The latest addition to this troubling list is a group of Jewish activists who last week publicly praised Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s upcoming runoff election for the U.S. Senate.
Warnock’s Jewish supporters are trying to rescue him from embarrassment over the news that Warnock has repeatedly invited a notorious Farrakhan supporter to speak at his church in Atlanta. In addition, in a 2018 church sermon Warnock exclaimed:
“Young Palestinian sisters and brothers, who are struggling for their very lives, struggling for water and struggling for their human dignity stood up in a non-violent protest. … We saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.”
Warnock also hosted Pastor Frederick Haynes III despite the fact that Haynes has called Farrakhan “a wonderful and great man” and “a prophetic leader for our time.” He has also proudly tweeted photos of himself posting with Farrakhan. Rev. Warnock, declared that he was “grateful” for Haynes’ recent guest sermon, and hailed him as his “brother.”
Warnock also praised the extremist pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose anti-American sermons at the Chicago church that Barack and Michelle Obama attended generated headlines during the 2008 presidential campaign. On C-SPAN in 2012 (and probably on many other occasions), Rev. Wright praised Farrakhan as “one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century.” He added: “I’m not going to put down Louis Farrakhan any more than Mandela would put down Fidel Castro. Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy.”
Equally troubling is the fact some of these same liberal rabbis issued a public statement defending another Farrakhan supporter, Tamika Mallory, who was one of the founders of the Women’s March.
Two years ago, Mallory participated in a Farrakhan “Saviour’s Day” event at which Farrakhan railed against his “enemy,” the “powerful Jews.” Mallory proudly posted a video of the speech on Instagram.
When some of her feminist colleagues urged Mallory to cut her ties with Farrakhan, she refused, declaring, “Where my people are is where I must also be. I go into difficult spaces.” Appearing on the ABC television show “The View,” Mallory was again asked about Farrakhan and again refused to condemn his anti-Semitic statements.
That didn’t stop nine left-wing rabbis from publicly pledging “to remain actively involved” with Mallory and “to continue creating and strengthening relationships across our differences.” They don’t seem to understand that Jew-hatred and associating with Jew-haters is not a “difference.” It’s a deal-breaker. At least it should be.
On the other end of the political spectrum, some seem to think that a few kind words about Jews from the rap artist Ice Cube suffices to make up for his longtime, and continuing, support for Farrakhan.
Ice Cube first drew the Jewish community’s attention back in the early 1990s when he wrote song lyrics complaining about “a white Jew telling you what to do.” Here was the song’s solution to that problem: “Get rid of that devil / Real simple / put a bullet in his temple.”
Ice Cube makes no bones about his affection for Farrakhan. He has proudly posed for photos with the extremist Nation of Islam leader. In a tweet on June 10, Ice Cube wrote: “The Honorable Louis Farrakhan continues to warn America to this very second and he’s labeled one of your ‘evil names’ and you turn your ears off. Why is the truth so offensive that you can’t stand to hear it?”
On June 29, CNN’s Jake Tapper called Farrakhan “a vile…anti-Semitic misogynist.” Very true. Guess who jumped to Farrakhan’s defense? Ice Cube. In a tweet that same day, he wrote, “Watch your mouth Jake.”
A video posted on YouTube on September 5 features Ice Cube hailing “the positive message” that Farrakhan spreads. “There’s only a few people out there speaking for black people, and trying to get us to be stand up, respectable human beings and Minister Farrakhan is one of those, and that’s why I support him,” Ice Cube explains.
Praising Farrakhan for improving people’s lives – and refusing to condemn Farrakhan for his anti-Semitism – reminds me of people who made excuses for certain other figures in history because they made the trains run on time or kept the streets clean – as if that were more important than their violent bigotry.
Those who give celebrities and politicians who support Farrakhan a pass are making a terrible mistake. Candidates and celebrities need to be told – in no uncertain terms – that the Jewish community will treat them as pariahs so long as they embrace the leader of one of the largest and most dangerous anti-Semitic movements in America today.
Farrakhan’s supporters and fellow travelers must be challenged and ostracized – not coddled, excused, or invited to speak at Jewish or Zionist events. And a candidate for Senate who doesn’t denounce Farrakhan and end relationships with supporters of the Nation of Islam must be challenged on that account. Often.