FOR THE RECORD: proof that the Obama campaign has been challenged on this issue. We don’t expect an answer, because there is no conceivable answer or excuse for this.
11 January 2008
To: watchdog “at” barackobama.com
From: (E-mail address given)
cc: Internet blogs
Subject: Barack Obama’s endorsement and promotion of racism and anti-Semitism
“Getting smear E-mails about Barack Obama? Forward the email to watchdog “at” barackobama.com so we can fight back,” asks factcheck.barackobama.com. The following is not a smear E-mail, but a posting on the official Web site of Al Sharpton’s National Network: the same organization that, in 1995, paraded around a Jewish-owned store in Harlem while yelling racial and anti-Semitic epithets like “bloodsucking Jew,” “make the cracker suffer,” “cracker lover,” and, from Mr. Sharpton himself, “white interloper.” The mob added an arson threat that was later put into effect with the loss of seven innocent lives.
Quotes from Presidential Candidates that attended National Action Network’s 9th Annual Convention:
Senator Barack Obama (Ill): “Reverend Sharpton is a voice for the voiceless, and a voice for the dispossessed. What National Action Network has done is so important to change America, and it must be changed from the bottom up.”
There are also numerous pictures at this Web site of Barack Obama posing arm in arm with Al Sharpton. This ABC News blog reports that Obama made yet another public appearance with Al Sharpton in November: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/11/obama-soul-food.html.
We have called the Obama campaign to register our displeasure, to say the least, with Mr. Obama’s ongoing promotion and enablement of an individual who has played a major role in perpetrating at least three major racist and/or anti-Semitic incidents: the Tawana Brawley scandal of 1988, the Crown Heights riot of 1991, and the Freddy’s Fashion Mart incident of 1995. The latter two incidents led to fatalities when irresponsible individuals acted on the vicious anti-Semitic and racist hate speech that was spewed by Mr. Sharpton and his associates. As documented by Fred Siegel’s “Democrats Embrace ‘Impresario of Hatred’” at http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110004192
It would have taken no great effort for the reporters covering the Apollo debate to have walked across 125th Street from the theater to visit Freddy’s Fashion Mart, where in 1995 eight people died in a murderous rampage inspired by Mr. Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton is best-known for the Tawana Brawley hoax, in which he insisted that a 15-year-old black girl had been abducted and raped by a band of white men practicing Irish Republican Army rituals. In fact she had made up the story to protect herself from her violent stepfather. But at Freddy’s, Mr. Sharpton was even more malevolent. He turned a landlord-tenant dispute between the Jewish owner of Freddy’s and a black subtenant into a theater of hatred. Picketers from Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network, sometimes joined by “the Rev.” himself, marched daily outside the store, screaming about “bloodsucking Jews” and “Jew bastards” and threatening to burn the building down. After weeks of increasingly violent rhetoric, one of the protesters, Roland Smith, took Mr. Sharpton’s words about ousting the “white interloper” to heart. He ran into the store shouting, “It’s on!” He shot and wounded three whites and a Pakistani, whom he apparently mistook for a Jew. Then he set the fire, which killed five Hispanics, one Guyanese and one African-American—a security guard whom protesters had taunted as a “cracker lover.” Smith then fatally shot himself.
We provided our name, phone number, and E-mail address to the Obama campaign, which promised to get back to us with a response. It did, and the response must be construed as a patronizing blow-off if not a deliberate insult.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Senator Barack Obama and his candidacy for President. Senator Obama welcomes an open dialogue about America’s future, and hopes for the widest possible participation in a great nationwide discussion.
Hearing and exploring different positions and ways of thinking furthers this discussion. It challenges our reasoning, sharpens our analysis of issues, and leads to new solutions. We appreciate having the benefit of your perspective.
One of Senator Obama’s mentors was the late Senator Paul Simon, a man of great ability and integrity. He believed that people could disagree without being disagreeable, and Senator Obama has taken that guiding principle as his own.
Thank you again for contacting Senator Obama.
Obama for America
“People could disagree without being disagreeable” is at best a patronizing brush-off that says in effect, “We’re sorry you feel that way, but we don’t give a damn because we own the Jew vote no matter how many anti-Semites we appear with in public and praise openly.” Obama’s public appearances with Al Sharpton are not merely disagreeable, they go beyond the pale of what we expect from political figures in a civilized country, and they should disqualify him from any position of public trust whatsoever. (The same goes for Ron Paul’s passive acceptance of the endorsement of the Stormfront.org White Nationalist Community; while Paul can’t keep Stormfront from running Ron Paul for President banner ads on its Web site, he can say that he doesn’t want their support. When the Ku Klux Klan tried to endorse Ronald Reagan, Reagan slapped the Klan down by saying that he had no tolerance for what it represented, and that he wished it would not mention his name in public.)
Barack Obama, in contrast, not only sought out Al Sharpton’s support, he promoted Sharpton’s credibility by making public appearances with him while giving him a glowing–like the embers of Freddy’s Fashion Mart–endorsement: “Reverend Sharpton is a voice for the voiceless, and a voice for the dispossessed. What National Action Network has done is so important to change America, and it must be changed from the bottom up.” We have already seen what National Action Network has done to change America: it marched around a Jewish-owned store while screaming racial and anti-Semitic epithets, much as the Ku Klux Klan once threatened African-Americans who moved into the “wrong” neighborhoods.
“Power Dem” by Jay Nordlinger (http://www.nationalreview.com/20Mar00/nordlinger032000.html) adds,
August of 1991 saw “Crown Heights,” the period of madness that began when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew careened out of control, killing a seven-year-old black child, Gavin Cato. Riots broke out. A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured. The city was on the verge of breaking apart. And here is what Al Sharpton had to say, in one of the most vile orations of his career, noxious with slanders familiar and novel:
The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident. . . . What type of city do we have that would allow politics to rise above the blood of innocent babies? . . . Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights.
…Sharpton’s rhetoric could also be rather less high-flown. “If the Jews want to get it on,” he said, “tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
…But the torching, so to speak, continued. In 1995-four years into the putative New Sharpton-there was another, fatal case in which Sharpton had a guilty hand: Freddy’s Fashion Mart. In Harlem, a white store owner — no, worse: a Jewish one — was accused of driving a black store owner out of business. At one of the many rallies meant to scare the Jewish owner away, Sharpton charged that “there is a systemic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear . . . that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Sharpton’s colleague, Morris Powell, said of the Jewish owner—Sharpton’s “white interloper”— “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers. Reverend Sharpton is on it.”
In 1988, Al Sharpton played a central role in the Tawana Brawley scandal in Wappingers Falls, NY. We lived there at the time, and we know exactly what this individual is. Sharpton’s vicious and race-motivated charade damaged people’s lives while costing Dutchess County hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Obama campaign’s patronizing and dismissive response to our complaint has already proven that Obama has no conceivable excuse or defense for appearing with and promoting this individual and his organization. This means that his opponents, and the Republicans should Obama actually win the Democratic nomination, can and should use this issue against him at every possible opportunity. We are, however, sending this to watchdog “at” barackobama.com while copying it to various blogs to make it a matter of record that Mr. Obama has been asked to disassociate himself from an individual and an organization with a long record of propagating racial and anti-Semitic hatred that has no place in any civilized society.