MSNBC Sparks Outrage by Bringing Infamous Anti-Semite on to Discuss Synagogue Attack
If it wasn’t infuriating, it would be funny.
An attack on a synagogue in Texas on Saturday by a Muslim militant demanding freedom for a convicted terrorist brought a new round of attention to anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S.
And when MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace needed a panelist to discuss hatred of Jews, she knew just whom to ask.
Al Sharpton, a man who built his career stoking deadly anti-Semitism in New York as a younger man, took to the screen on Monday with words that should have been unobjectionable, if they weren’t so hypocritical.
Coming on Wallace’s “Deadline: Washington” program right after a Wallace interview with Jonathan Greenblatt, national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Sharpton said all parties must work together against bigotry.
“I reach out to Jonathan, Jonathan reaches out to me,” Sharpton said. “There’ll be people in both communities that will not like that. There are extremes on both sides.
“You must not only lose the fear of going to places, you must lose the fear of being criticized by your own for saying that ‘you can’t fight racism against blacks without fighting anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia.’ We’ve got to become fearless.”
And blah, and blah and blah.
The pieties that drip from Sharpton’s lips when it suits his purposes are one thing, but anyone who’s followed the career of the hateful “reverend” knows well that his tolerance toward Jews is a sometimes thing – and sometimes it turns out badly for the Jews he’s targeting.
Back in 1995, Sharpton was one of the chief agitators behind community unrest that led to the fatal firebombing of a Jewish-owned business in which eight people were killed in the Harlem section of New York City.
Four years earlier, Sharpton had helped incite an anti-Jewish riot that led to two deaths in New York’s Crown Heights.
This kind of thing might all be ancient history, but as Washington Examiner editor Seth Mandel pointed out in a 2019 Washington Post commentary, Sharpton “is free of shame or apology.”
That Mandel piece was criticizing the field of Democrats running for the party’s nomination for seeking Sharpton’s blessing, but it’s just as relevant today, when Wallace brings on Sharpton to talk about an anti-Semitic attack without any reference to his own past.
But as a Fox News report Tuesday noted, plenty of viewers – including Mandel — had much better memories:
Maybe they were just looking for an expert
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 18, 2022
Look if you’re talking about attacks on Jewish communities best go to the expert in organising them, right? Honestly, @MSNBC https://t.co/yhMXMaTuVV
— James Morrow (@pwafork) January 18, 2022
No one knows antisemitism like the guy who incited a pogrom https://t.co/z3SZLCi0rT
— Michael Ginsberg (@mikeginsberg98) January 18, 2022
Sharpton doesn’t just stand out among the liberal chattering classes on MSNBC in particular and cable television in general.
He’s probably one of the country’s best-known anti-Semites of all, with the possible exception of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (the guy who makes “anti-termite” jokes.)
Was Farrakhan busy @MSNBC ?
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) January 18, 2022
So-called journalists in the mainstream media have spent a good deal of the first decades of the 21st century disgracing their own profession, whether it was by lionizing President Barack Obama for his two terms in office, demonizing President Donald Trump throughout his one term, or doing everything to keep President Joe Biden’s administration alive despite a year of disasters and approval ratings to match.
But few moves are so blatantly wrong-headed as trotting out a man with Al Sharpton’s history to discuss anti-Semitism.
The ignorance, the tone-deafness it indicates would be humorous in almost any other context — a “Saturday Night Live” skit, say.
But when it’s reality, when it’s posing as journalism, and when it’s holding up a man like Sharpton as some sort of authority opposing the very kind of hatred he built a career on, it’s not funny at all.
It’s just infuriating.
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