On August 14, USA Today ran an interesting article (“Lieberman says loyalty questions hurt”) on Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman’s reaction to anti-Semitic statements made about him. The story is interesting because it is fascinating to see how far Democrats are willing to acquiesce to racial intolerance when trying to court African American votes.
How unfashionable anti-semitism is among whites can be seen by the fact that the only white individuals who made anti-semitic remarks directed against Lieberman were fringe white supremacists — the sort of folks who tend to hate Catholics as much as Jews.
On the other hand, anti-semitic views seem to have a much stronger grip in African American communities. In a recent poll, 40 percent of African Americans interviewed said they agreed with the statement that Jews have too much power in America. Wow.
That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that two representatives of prominent African American organizations quickly raised questions about Lieberman begin a Jew. First, Lee Alcorn, head of the NAACP chapter in Dallas, told a radio talk show host that,
I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that their interest primarily has to do with, you know, money and these kinds of things.
To its credit, the NAACP moved quickly to suspend Alcorn, with NAACP head Kweise Mfume calling Alcorn’s statements “repulsive.”
Louis Farrakhan, who in the past has referred to Jews as “bloodsuckers” also weighed in saying that he questioned whether Lieberman would “be more faithful to the Constitution … than to the ties that any Jewish person would have to the state of Israel.”
The surprising part is Lieberman’s reaction. According to the USA Today story, Lieberman actually plans on sitting down and talking to Farrakhan about, in USA Today’s words, “the issue.”
So rather than strike out against anti-semitism and in favor of racial tolerance, Lieberman is going to sit down and talk with a man who once told American Jews they were “wicked deceivers of the American people…You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.”
After Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush visited Bob Jones University, which prohibits interracial dating, Democrats and the media had a field day. Here was the Republican’s racial intolerance on full display for all to see. But apparently the rules are different for Farrakhan who can question the loyalty of the Democratic vice-presidential nominee based solely on the fact that he is Jewish and, far from being excoriated by the candidate and the party, buy himself a seat at the table for his outburst.
Just like the Republicans, the Democrats are more than happy to embrace and exploit racial intolerance when taking the moral high road means the risk of alienating core constituents. For this it should be ashamed.