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 peddler.
The responses to Foxman’s criticism were entirely predictable.
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 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
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 Hitler
“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 and
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 line.
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 leadership.
“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.