Black groups lobby Congress in support of Louis Farrakhan
It would be helpful for congressional Democrats if Louis Farrakhan would quietly fade from view, at least until Nov. 6, but it doesn’t appear that he’s going anywhere.
A delegation of black organizations made the rounds Monday on Capitol Hill to promote a proposal condemning President Trump and lobby against an anti-Farrakhan resolution introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana Republican.
Whether the group changed any minds is unclear, but the effort did serve to stoke the uproar engulfing members of the Congressional Black Caucus over their ties to Mr. Farrakhan, known for his anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Led by Malik Zulu Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, the group included members of the 10,000 Black Men’s March, New Black Panther Party, Anacostia Citizens for Justice, Prince Georges County Peoples Coalition, and Black Lives Matter, according to a press release.
The release also listed the National Action Network, founded by longtime activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, but a NAN spokeswoman said the group did not participate in the lobbying effort.
“Remember, we must condemn Donald Trump, and not Louis Farrakhan. Donald Trump’s in power. Louis Farrakhan is just a private citizen,” Mr. Shabazz told Rokita staffers in a video posted by the National Black Men’s Convention.
Mr. Shabazz also criticized caucus members who have denounced Mr. Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic vitriol, promising to “jam up these so-called black representatives.”
The Final Call, the Nation of Islam newspaper, has blasted the black Democrats for “caving in” to “Zionist pressure,” while the Republican Jewish Coalition has called for eight caucus members to resign over their Farrakhan ties.
“We’re going to get some action,” Mr. Shabazz said. “Because regardless, we’re going to get to know these Congressional Black Caucus people and they’re going to know that they are not going to bow to white people, they are going to bow to us.”
He added, “You’re going to represent us or we’re going to triple and quadruple our numbers and drive you out of here.”
Mr. Rokita’s resolution condemns Mr. Farrakhan for “promoting ideas that create animosity and anger toward Jewish Americans and the Jewish religion,” citing his Feb. 25 speech in Chicago at which he blasted “the Satanic Jew” and declared that “white folks are going down.”
It was standard fare for the 84-year-old Farrakhan, but in attendance was Women’s March co-president Tamika D. Mallory, a leader of the anti-Trump resistance, who has since drawn criticism from both conservatives and progressives for refusing to denounce Mr. Farrakhan directly.
The episode came shortly after a Nation of Islam photographer released a 2005 photo of then-Sen. Barack Obama posing at a caucus meeting with Mr. Farrakhan, saying he had suppressed the picture at the request of the caucus to protect Mr. Obama’s political career.
Eight caucus members, including Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, became embroiled in the flap following disclosures that they had met with or associated in recent years with Mr. Farrakhan.
After weeks of speculation on his Farrakhan relationship, Mr. Ellison said in a post Sunday that “I do not have and have never had a relationship with Mr. Farrakhan, but I have been in the same room with him,” referring to a 2013 dinner sponsored by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Mr. Ellison said that the Nation of Islam leader’s “disparaging views on Jewish people, women and the LGBT community became clearer to me” after he participated in the 1995 Million Man March, led by Mr. Farrakhan.
The Minnesota Democrat said they had not seen each other since the 2013 dinner, which contradicted Mr. Farrakhan’s December 2016 claim that he met with Mr. Ellison and Rep. Andre Carson, Indiana Democrat, at a hotel in 2015.
“I believe my long record of fighting and condemning all prejudice, including anti-Semitism from whatever source, should speak for itself,” Mr. Ellison said in his post on Medium. “But those who aim to make me guilty by false association have made themselves hard to ignore.”
Mr. Rokita accused the “liberal media elite” of muzzling the Farrakhan flap, saying, “If this happened to a Republican, if there was some meeting like this, we wouldn’t last a day in office.”
“It’s ridiculous that I even had to introduce this resolution,” Mr. Rokita said Friday on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “It’s an easy question. Do you condemn anti-Semitism? And the modern Democratic Party can’t answer the question.”
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