There is a controversy brewing at the The University of North Carolina Asheville, which has invited Tamika Mallory to be the keynote speaker on Jan. 24 for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week.
Mallory has risen to some prominence as one of the national co-chairs of the Women’s March, which began two years ago in response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Affiliated marches were held across the country in January last year, including in Durango and Cortez, and are scheduled for this year.
Mallory is also a devoted fan of Louis Farrakhan, who has led the Nation of Islam, based in Chicago, since 1978. Farrakhan has steadily preached hate for Jews and homosexuals, although until this past year, he has not been much in the news lately.
Jews today, Farrakhan says, are false Jews, who are responsible for promoting child molestation, misogyny, police brutality and sexual assault. Judaism, he preaches, is “a system of tricks and lies” that Jews study in order to dominate gentiles: “The false Jew will lead you to filth and indecency. That’s who runs show business. That’s who runs the record industry. That’s who runs television. ... Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kinds of debauchery before they give you a little part? It’s called the casting couch. See, that’s Jewish power.”
This is the man whom Mallory recently called “the greatest of all time.”
It ought to be indefensible.
We note, though, that Farrakhan also was well received when he spoke at the University of Tehran last summer and led students in a chant of “Death to Israel, death to America.”
Inviting Mallory to be the keynote speaker at a civil rights conference, critics say – given her allegiance to Farrakhan – “incites violence against and creates a dangerous environment for Jewish students.”
Can you be a feminist or civil rights leader and defend Farrakhan?
We hope not.
We worry about where the Democratic left is going with this. Another of the Women’s March co-chairs, Linda Sarsour, has been equally warm in her embrace of Farrakhan.
This is why numerous women’s marches this month will take place with no connection to Mallory’s and Sarsour’s national organization.
The march in Durango is still affiliated with the national group, but organizers say they plan to dissociate themselves from Farrakhan, which is commendable.
Hating Jews is not a modern problem. Saint John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, preached in 386 that Jews “are worse than wild beasts ... lower than the vilest animals. They know only ... to get drunk, to kill and beat each other up ... I hate the Jews ... It is the duty of all Christians to hate the Jews.” After Chrysostom, wrote historian Paul Johnson, Jewish communities were “at risk in every Christian city.”
The term “anti-Semitism” came along much later, popularized by a German agitator, Wilhelm Marr, who thought it sounded more scientific than “Judenhasse,” or Jew-hatred. In 1879, Marr founded the League of Anti-Semites.
At the end of his life, at the dawn of the 20th century, Marr asked for the forgiveness of Jews. He had been wrong, he said, to blame them for social upheaval when the real culprit was the industrial revolution. In his last essay, in 1902, he condemned “the beer drinking leaders, the gay ‘Heil!’ shouters of modern anti-Semitism.”
We all know what happened after that, do we not?