In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Million
Man March, Minister Louis Farrakhan has announced the creation
of the Millions
More Movement. The Millions More Movement includes Russell
Simmons, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dorothy Height
and Julianne Malveaux among its supporters.
Farrakhan is still a lightning rod for controversy.
As soon as the Millions More Movement was announced Abraham Foxman,
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, chimed in and
asked black leaders to disassociate
themselves from any involvement with Farrakhan: "When will
someone in the African-American community stand up and say that
the Million Man March had a positive message, but the pied piper
is a racist and anti-Semite?"
Perhaps that will happen as soon as someone points
out that Foxman is a hypocritical, ethically challenged, influence
The responses to Foxman’s criticism were entirely
Sharpton called the remarks a “distraction” and added “… we
should not allow other people to define and denounce what we’re
about.” Russell Simmons wrote to Foxman and called him “misguided,
arrogant and very disrespectful of African Americans.” Aside from
the snide but amusing remark that Foxman had “single handedly
caused millions of persons to flock to see the Passion of the
Christ,” Simmons letter did little to tell Mr. Foxman why he should
Sharpton and Simmons should be able to think of
more biting criticisms, if they bother to respond at all. It doesn’t
really matter if Foxman doesn’t like the Million Man, Millions
More or Million Dollar march. He is irrelevant and so is anyone
else who doesn’t understand the appeal of a nationalist message
in the black community. Few will admit it now, but there was more
nay saying than support among black leaders in the days proceeding
the Million Man March in 1995.
In the ten years that have elapsed since the Million
Man March a presidency was stolen through the disenfranchisement
of black voters and the government is committed to waging a never
ending war against the rest of the world. The media is more deeply
compromised by corporate interests and the triumphant right wing
is making good on its long held fantasy: America of, by, and for
the wealthy. Farrakhan may draw an even larger crowd in 2005 than
he did in 1995.
Irrelevant or not, Foxman has a long history of
displaying easy virtue and should be an easy target for critics.
The same man who is apoplectic about Farrakhan “welcomed” the
election of the new pope, Benedict XVI, who was a member of the
“Though as a teenager he was a member of the Hitler
Youth, all his life Cardinal Ratzinger has atoned for the fact.
In our years of working on improving Catholic-Jewish ties, ADL
has had opportunities to work with Cardinal Ratzinger. We look
forward to continuing that relationship,” said Foxman.
Jews usually have a big problem with former Nazis,
atoning or not. If the former Nazi becomes powerful, all is forgotten
Abraham Foxman took a bribe from a crook,
Marc Rich, and used his influence to get Rich a presidential pardon.
The ADL honored the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi,
after Berlusconi made apologies for Benito Mussolini’s fascist
terror. Not to be out done, Foxman joined the New York Times in
twisting the words of the Dalai
Lama, giving the impression that a peace loving man supports
The ADL’s decision to honor Berlusconi was a particularly
disgraceful one. Berlusconi was quoted as saying that Mussolini
was a “benign dictator” who “never killed anyone” – he would only
“send someone on holiday in internal exile.”
When Italian Jewish groups expressed dismay
they got the back of Foxman’s hand. Tullia Zevi, past president
of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities had this to say. “To
celebrate a man who has said these things is insulting the memory
of these people who suffered under these times."
Ms. Zevi didn’t get it. Berlusconi supports the
Israeli government, and the occupation of Iraq. If he made comments
minimizing the suffering of Jews and others under the Mussolini
regime, she was supposed to get over it and keep quiet.
Foxman is so committed to influence peddling that
he has formed alliances with right wing Christian groups who believe
that the rapture, which will spell the end for all non-Christians,
is imminent. Their inherently anti-Jewish beliefs don’t matter
to Foxman and his ilk, as long as they toe the proper political
Despite their drama with Foxman, Simmons and Sharpton
have not managed to engage him in any meaningful way. If they
want to respond, here are a few suggestions for the tongue-tied
“Farrakhan never took a bribe from a crook.”
“Farrakhan doesn’t honor fascists.”
“Unlike Foxman’s allies, Farrakhan doesn’t think
that Jesus will return and kill the Jews.”
At this late date in history, black Americans should
not be in the position of justifying who they follow or why. If
Farrakhan returns to numerological references or offensive remarks
we can use Foxman’s line about Berlusconi. He is a good – but
he is also a flawed – friend.