Hakeem Jeffries Defended Uncle’s Antisemitic Tirade In College Editorial

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A college editorial written by Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries during college appears to contradict previous claims that he was unaware of his uncle’s antisemitic history, according to CNN.

Leonard Jeffries, a former black studies professor at the City University of New York, claimed during a lecture in 1990 that “rich Jews who financed the development of Europe also financed the slave trade” and that Jews controlled Hollywood to oppress black people, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The comments sparked national criticism, but in 1992, Jeffries, who was a college student at Birmingham University, wrote a student editorial appearing to defend his uncle and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who also has a long history of antisemitism, blaming the outrage on the “white media,” according to CNN. (RELATED: ‘This Was A Hate Crime’: Jewish Woman Says Man Threw Concrete Slab At Her Window Over Israeli Flag)

Jeffries argued that his uncle and Farrakhan were being unfairly slammed by the media, according to CNN.

“Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire,” Jeffries wrote. “Where do you think their interests lie? Dr. Jeffries has challenged the existing white supremist educational system and long-standing distortion of history. His reward has been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations.”

Jeffries has been questioned in the past about his relationship with his uncle but has always maintained that he only had a “vague recollection” of the incident and wasn’t really aware of the controversy, according to CNN. However, the university’s Black Student Union, of which Hakeem Jeffries was an executive board member, invited his uncle to speak on campus not long after his antisemitic comments.

Despite calls from Jewish groups on campus to cancel the event, Jeffries held a press conference to defend his uncle and the event, according to records from a student newspaper called Pipe Dream obtained by CNN.

“We have no intention of canceling a presentation that contains factual information, proven through scholarly documents and texts,” Jeffries said in a statement. “The proper way to way to debate scholarship is with scholarship–not with high-tech lynchings, media assassinations, character desecrations and venomous attacks.”

Jeffries’ editorial also criticized “black conservatives” such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Shelby Steele, describing them and others as “token blacks,” arguing that “a ruling elite” would not “promote individuals who would seek to dismantle their vice-like grip on power.” He further compared black conservatives to the “House negro” as “opportunists” who were only interested in “securing some measure of happiness for themselves.”

Jeffries did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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