This story broke yesterday and it seemed like a minor thing, frankly, because we all already know that Louis Farrakhan is a notorious anti-Semite. How much more proof of that do we need at this point? But today I noticed several people on the left reacting to this story as if they’d been kicked in the shins. For instance, this Vox video creator:
That you’re still tweeting about this political sideshow on Election Day is deeply embarrassing. https://t.co/ZA0xKkK6iQ
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) November 6, 2018
And Chris Hayes:
If you’re in Farrakhan’s congressional district, you should absolutely vote against him. And that goes for all toxic bigots on the ballot.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 6, 2018
And others with the same basic message: Stop talking about Louis Farrakhan.
I know a lot of you are concerned about climate change and the ravenous hordes of cormac mccarthy novel characters the inevitable global panic & bloodbath it’ll soon create and wondering what elected officials are doing about it, but did u hear about this Farrakhan fellow
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) November 6, 2018
Given that this seems to have hit a nerve on the left, we should definitely talk some more about it. First, here’s the “Death to Israel” chant:
Iran state TV news presenter: Listen to leader of Nation of Islam chanting "Death to America"
Farrakhan [in Farsi]: "Death to…"
Audience: "…America" pic.twitter.com/p0qGfHHfg0
— Sobhan Hassanvand (@Hassanvand) November 4, 2018
But Farrakhan did more than chant during this appearance. He also made an extended argument that America is on the side of Satan.
“One who is spiritual or believers in Allah might ask the question, ‘Why is Iran suffering so much, particularly from the United States of America?'” Farrakhan then answered his own question, “Is it not true that you have called America the Great Satan? Well, if you believe what you say then would not Satan be actively involved in trying to destroy a nation that is set up on the belief and practice of submission to the will of God?”
In other words, America really is the great Satan and you’re being victimized because of your theocratic stance for Islam. Here’s the clip from MEMRI:
Fox News notes the timing of this particular trip to Iran:
Farrakhan’s trip coincided with the 39th anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, when more than 50 American diplomats and civilians were held hostage for 444 days. The incident kicked off the Islamic Revolution, and Farrakhan told an Iranian audience that black Americans should be considered among the revolutionaries. The infamous activist cited the actions of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeni, who ordered the release of black Americans among the 1979 captives.
Despite the Pittsburgh shooting just over a week ago, the left is curiously not eager to talk about Farrahkhan or his long history of anti-Semitism. Their excuse is that he’s a has-been with no influence, but he was just on stage with Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton about 10 weeks ago. And back in March, the ADL noticed that several of the Women’s March organizers seemed to be pretty fond of him.
In the audience at last weekend’s conference was Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, who got a special shout-out from Farrakhan and who regularly posts laudatory pictures of him on her Instagram account — as does Carmen Perez, another leader of the March. Linda Sarsour, another March organizer, spoke and participated at a Nation of Islam event in 2015. Her most notable response to his incendiary remarks this year was a glowing post on Perez’s Facebook page to praise Farrakhan’s youthful demeanor.
Does anyone want to argue that the Women’s March founders are not currently important people on the left? The idea that Farrakhan’s just a relic doesn’t quite add up. And the idea that we can ignore his anti-Semitism when he’s literally chanting “Death to Israel” in Iran also doesn’t add up. The only thing that does add up is the left reacting like a whipped dog when his name makes the news. Why? Because as eager as the left is to talk about a climate of hate on the right, they are not eager to talk about the climate of Farrakhan toleration and appreciation that exists on the far left. That’s one national conversation they would rather not have.