Democrats Divided Over Whether To Condemn Anti-Semite Farrakhan

Peter Hasson | Reporter

House Democrats are currently divided on whether or not to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious racist and anti-Semite.

At least seven House Democrats are known to have ties to Farrakhan, as The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed.

Two of those seven, Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee of California and Gregory Meeks of New York, condemned Farrakhan in statements posted to Twitter on Thursday.

Another, Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, on Thursday confirmed to Politico that he has met with Farrakhan but said that shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement.

“As a Member of Congress, I have met with a diverse array of community leaders, including Minister Farrakhan, to discuss critical issues that are important to my constituents and all Americans,” Carson told Politico. “While many of these leaders have long track records of creating positive change in their communities, this does not mean that I see eye to eye with them on all beliefs or public statements.”

“Racism, homophobia, islamophobia [sic], anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance have no place in our civil discourse,” Carson added. His statement did not include a condemnation of Farrakhan.

Democratic Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, repeatedly praised Farrakhan and called him “an outstanding human being” in February during an interview with The Daily Caller. Davis doubled down on his comments in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation last week, saying that he isn’t bothered by Farrakhan’s response to the “Jewish question.”

Following a backlash, Davis said on Thursday that he condemn’s Farrakhan’s “views and remarks” about Jewish people. “Let me be clear: I reject, condemn and oppose Minister Farrakhan’s views and remarks regarding the Jewish people and the Jewish religion,” he told Jewish website Forward.

“Those who have attempted to defame me either do not know me or my lifetime record or are deceitfully and deceptively attempting to use this as an opportunity to foment division and hatred between the African American and Jewish communities,” he added

The statement did not explain why Davis previously called Farrakhan an “outstanding human being,” or why Davis wasn’t bothered by Farrakhan’s tirades against “satanic Jews” until after a public backlash.

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, denounced Farrakhan when he ran for Congress in 2006. Ellison, a former Nation of Islam member, claimed at the time that he had left Farrakhan in his past.

Despite those promises, Ellison attended multiple meetings with Farrakhan during his time in Congress, according to photos, videos and witness accounts reviewed by TheDC. Ellison has declined to deny that he attended those meetings, which included a private visit to Farrakhan’s hotel room.

Farrakhan continued his anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish people last month at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviour’s Day convention, while Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory was in attendance. Mallory has since doubled down on her relationship with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. (RELATED: Seven Louis Farrakhan Quotes On Jews, Gays And White People)

Democratic Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz also ripped Farrakhan on Thursday and urged his fellow Democrats to denounce him. “This is unacceptable in a progressive coalition or any political coalition. Antisemitism has no place in American society. We must reject this, left right and center,” Schatz wrote on Twitter. Schatz was not reported to have ties with Farrakhan.

Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is not reported to have met Farrakhan, also denounced the hate group leader on Thursday.

“I am appalled by the statements of Louis Farrakhan and condemn him for once again fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.  At a time where the Anti-Defamation League tells us that anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57% last year, those remarks are particularly dangerous.  There should be no place in our society for those words,” Schakowsky said.

Schakowsky also bashed the Republican Jewish Coalition for calling on the seven Democrats to resign. Schakowsky claimed that, despite her colleagues’ close ties to a notorious anti-Semite, they’re all very committed to fighting anti-Semitism.

“At the same time, I condemn those who are trying to score political points over this issue.  My colleagues who are being attacked by the Republican Jewish Coalition have spent a lifetime opposing anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, and racism.  I know that they will continue working against discrimination wherever and whenever it occurs, and I will work with them to renew and expand those efforts,” Schakowsky said.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

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