November 21, 2018

Milano Won’t Participate in Women’s March Because Leaders Won’t Denounce Farrakhan

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Actress Alyssa Milano, a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement, said on Wednesday that she would not participate in the Women’s March because its leaders won’t denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Milano told The Advocate that she was “disappointed” in the Women’s March leaders for their warmth toward Farrakhan. When asked if she would appear at the Women’s March and speak, Milano responded, “I would say no at this point.”

“Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him [Farrakhan] at this point,” Milano said, “or even given a really good reason why to support them.”

Milano had spoken at the Women’s March in January 2018.

Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory had appeared at a Nation of Islam event in March, where Farrakhan referred to Jews as part of the “Synagogue of Satan”; Mallory and other Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez have all posted “laudatory” things on social media about Farrakhan, according to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

The Women’s March has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment as of publication time.

It’s Not Just About the Ice Cream

Last week, I was stunned with an announcement from Ben & Jerry’s about a new flavor “celebrating activists who are continuing to resist oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice.” Financial grants were provided to four organizations that Ben and Jerry’s felt represented social activism. I was horrified to learn that one of the organization’s receiving the grant was the Women’s March, primarily founded by Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, both vocal and virulent anti-Semites.

Sarsour presents herself as a “proud anti-Israel activist” who champions boycotting Israel. At the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention this past September in Houston, Texas, Sarsour called “for the dehumanization of Israelis.” Her co-chair, Mallory, is also a vocal supporter of Louis Farrakhan, a long time virulently anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader. On Instagram last year, Mallory posted herself alongside Farrakhan calling him the “GOAT,” which means “Greatest of All Time.” More recently, Farrakhan has referred to Jews as “termites” (the same words the Nazi’s used) and Satanic. This week, Farrakhan has traveled to Iran and called for the destruction of America and of the State of Israel.

In the wake of the largest anti-Semitic attack in the history of our country just over a week ago in Pittsburgh, I was shocked that three days later, Ben & Jerry’s, founded by two individuals who identify as Jewish (and sold to Unilever in 2000), would personally make an announcement of providing grants to various groups who best represent “Resistance.” The news was all over the Internet and news outlets.

So, with little options on my end, I threw out the Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer and emailed the ice cream supplier that services the eight stores that we own in the greater Los Angeles area. I asked them to remove all Ben & Jerry’s products. I also copied a contact at Ben & Jerry’s that I found on the Internet and told them what I was doing with a decision to no longer carry Ben & Jerry ice creams. I posted my opinions and concerns on my personal Facebook page.

I was surprised how quickly I received an email from the Ben & Jerry’s organization with a press release about the grants from the company. The email also requested that they speak with me the next business day.

According to Ben & Jerry’s press release, it stated about the grants that “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs and events. The Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.”

I eagerly looked forward to my call to enlighten Ben & Jerry’s about leaders Sarsour and  Mallory and that the Women’s March was anything but what they described. I wanted to share with them that Sarsour has repeatedly told the world that you can’t be a feminist and a Zionist. Sarsour has stated, “that nothing was creepier than a Zionist” and that she suggested cutting the genitalia of women she didn’t like. I wanted to share with the Ben & Jerry’s organization that this past July Sarsour publicly wished a “Happy Birthday to Assata Shakur” (AKA Joanne Chesimard) who remains on FBI’s most wanted list.

I wanted to share with the Ben &  Jerry’s organization that Mallory has also publicly praised Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba. It was during his regimen that he rounded up (arrested) gay people and put them in Cuban concentration camps.

After a brief exchange of emails, a call was scheduled for me with Ben & Jerry’s senior marketing executive Christopher Miller and two other staff members at the company. The power of my comments on my Facebook post seemed unbelievable to me.

But what happened during “our” call today was shocking and deeply disturbing.  Miller was absolute and committed to Ben & Jerry’s support of both Sarsour & Mallory and the Women’s March itself. They informed me that they were supporting organizations  that were consistent in their concept of progressive change, core American values and democracy. I told them that these women did not represent core American values and democracy and their words were hateful and damaging. I added that if these are spokespeople for America, we all need to be concerned!

I was then told by Miller that Unilever was the real victim because they sold products to Israel in the face of BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanction) threats and retaliations against American companies. They actually stated that they still sold products in the “occupied territories” and that Ben & Jerry’s operates in a unique manner in Israel with a licensee that allows them to appear to Israel focused. All proceeds from the license are not shared with Unilever, but are donated to causes as not to appear to truly support Israel.

I shared with the Ben & Jerry’s representatives my work on fighting anti-Semitism, racism and hatred in the United States. I shared with them that my husband & I were honored by the ADL three years ago as Humanitarians of the Year. I also shared our ongoing work to support police and first responders.

I discussed inclusiveness, especially in Israel. I told them that I currently was working with the Jewish National Fund to build the finest culinary academy in the world in the northern region of Israel. I shared our vision to utilize education and food to drive prosperity and bring people together. I continued to inform them that we were also building medical centers in the north of Israel that would improve the lives of so many people across religions. I told them about the many organizations that I am involved with and how we work to support children of all backgrounds in Israel giving them programs, clothing, meals and hope for the future. And love…

I ended my call with the Ben & Jerry’s representatives more disappointed than before it began. I realized a sad fact that this is the new anti-Semitism.  I realized that I am too protected in my bubble living in my pocket of Los Angeles & Beverly Hills. I had not faced aAnti-Semitism in almost two decades. And now, corporate representatives from a product that I sold and served in my own home were informing me about their struggles and sacrifices specific to a relationship to Israel.

I am proud that the State of California and  the City of Beverly Hills have Memorandums of Understandings with the State of Israel (MOU’s). I am proud that my city celebrates Jewish Heritage Month at the Los Angeles City Hall and  Israel’s 70th in the City of Beverly Hills. I am proud that the state of California has outlawed BDS.

There is a new anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head in the United States  and elsewhere. There are standards and kindness for other people and there is another one for Jews. There is also an increase in white nationalist supremacists brazenly speaking against Jews and  other minorities. I am asking people to wake up and and not accept these acts against Jews and Israel. I am asking that we fight the scourge of anti-Semitism and other acts of racism and indifference to others. We need to share our voices and say that providing grants to individuals who openly refer to Jews and Israel in horrific words and terms is not acceptable in 2018. We can not and will not accept anti-Semitism in any manner. That we expect decency and inclusiveness for all no matter where they live.

And sadly, when the call was over, I had to acknowledge that it’s not just about the ice cream…

Gina Raphael co-owns Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill in eight locations across Southern California

Farrakhan’s Bigotry Finds Traction Across the Political Spectrum

Photo from Twitter.

Louis Farrakhan, octogenarian leader of the unIslamic, anti-white Nation of Islam, has been active ever since the 1960s, sowing the seeds of racism, anti-Semitism and hate for our blessed American nation. So why worry about an aging bigot today? Suddenly, Farrakhan’s life’s work is paying off, winning accolades from the far right to the progressive left. Hatred is seeping into the mainstream of our political culture, not hidden in smoky backrooms or behind anonymous social media postings, but proudly touted on the internet and in interviews—a guaranteed path to gain name recognition, recruit voters and grab media attention.

Here are examples from the Republican side of the aisle:

· In California, John Fitzgerald, a proud Holocaust denier, captured 23 percent of the vote in the “open primary” in a California congressional district northeast of San Francisco. This made him the official GOP candidate and, initially, won him the automatic endorsement of the State Republican Party which inexplicably waited two months before it rescinded the endorsement. Among Fitzgerald’s eye-popping platform planks: endorsement of the Farrakhan’s scurrilous pseudo-history, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” falsely alleging that the tiny number of colonial Jewish merchants “dominated” the massive slave trade between Africa and the Americas.

· In Illinois, “The Land of Lincoln,” Arthur Jones, who boasts that he was once head of the American Nazi Party, ran unopposed and won a GOP congressional primary in a district including parts of the city of Chicago, defending the position that: “To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket.” Republican Governor Bruce Rauner hesitated before declaring that the GOP faithful should vote for anybody, even a Democrat, other than the Neo-Nazi Jones.

· In Wisconsin, in retiring U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district, Holocaust denier Paul Nehlen vaulted to the front of would-be successors. Before Twitter suspended his account, Nehlen photoshopped an image of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s biracial American bride with the face of Cheddar Man, the dark-skinned man supposed to be the first modern Briton.

Lest Democrats be complacent, Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) not long ago said: “I personally know [Farrakhan], I’ve been to his home, done meetings, participated in events with him. I don’t regard Louis Farrakhan as an aberration or anything, I regard him as an outstanding human being.” Asked specifically about Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic statements, “Davis was dismissive and said that many people in politics have a history of inflammatory comments.” But then Davis backtracked—or sidestepped—stating that he would like to know what Farrakhan has said about Jews “recently.” Only belatedly did Davis criticize Farrakhan.

Congressman Davis is an old inner-city politician from Chicago. Even more disturbing was Farrakhan’s intergenerational political romance with Tamika Mallory, co-chair of January 2017’s Women’s March. Mallory, an avowed Farrakhan admirer, showed up at his recent annual Saviour’s Day Address and had her photo taken with him. Far from apologizing, she doubled down, proudly sharing her attendance on Instagram. She even likened Farrakhan to the crucified Jesus: “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader! Study the Bible and u will find the similarities. Ostracizing, ridicule and rejection is a painful part of the process . . . but faith is the substance of things!”

In California, Maria Estrada, the Democratic candidate for State Assembly from Los Angeles, had this to say last year on Facebook: “Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust,” she wrote last year. “As if what happened 70 years ago justifies it. Anyone who believes they are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified in all they do. Religious fanaticism is used to justify apartheid and crimes against Palestinians and no one shuld be okay with it. #FreePalestine… It is extremely problematic when delegates are being flown to Tel Aviv by AIPAC, and even more problematic when Palestinian children are being arrested, taunted and murdered in the name of Zionism…  The complete denial and/or justification of what is occurring in Gaza in the name Zionism is hypocritical and inexcusable.” Estrada who absolved Hamas of any responsibility tweeted “I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.”

Like Farrakhan and other anti-Semites before him, Estrada has taken a page from Farrakhan’s anti-Jewish playbook and invoked ‘God’s Chosen People’ to justify her vilification of Jews, not just Zionists. She apparently took no notice that Farrakhan’s hateful dog whistle also transcends the racial chasm between Black Nationalists and White racist anti-Semites who marched in Charlottesville this past August. Alt-right Charlottesville guru Richard Spencer wants to meet with Farrakhan, to work together toward “the sort of self-determination we and the broader Alt-Right support.”

Fifty years ago, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired young people of all races to dream of a color blind America. Today, we are witness to bigots from the far Left and the far Right who praise Farrakhan, energized by his divisive demagoguery. These extremists are hard at work wending their way into the mainstream of our society.

Younger generations of Americans—Democrats, Republicans and everyone else in between—better wake up and decide whose vision will guide our nation in the 21st century.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Global Social Action director.

Dr. Harold Brackman is long-time consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance and co-author of From Abraham to Obama: A History of Africans, African Americans, and Jews (Africa World Press, 2015).

The Golden Calf of Leftism

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, the Nation of Islam called the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) a “racist spy agency.” “Sisters” Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour bullied Starbucks into dropping the ADL from co-leading its diversity training. Students with Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine were arrested at an Israeli Independence Day celebration in New York City for setting an Israeli flag on fire and assaulting another student. And Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut called Muslim reformer Zuhdi Jasser “anti-Muslim.”

No one on the left had anything to say about any of this. Indeed, it was just another week in the descent of the left into tribal, anti-feminist, anti-Semitic illiberalism. Or more simply: #woke.
But it was not another week entirely. At the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28, comedian Michelle Wolf’s venom-filled monologue was so egregious that a handful of “names” from the left, including two New York Times reporters, tweeted afterward their horror and embarrassment. Wolf had crossed a line, creating a crack in the status-obsessed leftist orthodoxy.

Will it shatter from this? Doubtful. The left still hasn’t processed the fact that President Donald Trump didn’t cause the left to go off the deep end into this intolerant groupthink. Trump is a result of the left having already gone off this cliff. The most glaring example: the disallowance of any criticism of former President Barack Obama, no matter how respectfully it was voiced.

Yes, of course, the right has its own version of this. The right’s thought police won’t allow you to criticize Trump’s vulgar, dehumanizing language. It won’t allow you to say that many Americans who own guns are obsessed with them in a disturbing way. That building a wall on the United States’ southern border is not the most rational idea.

But I don’t think it’s going out on a limb here to say that the number of extremists on the right are far fewer than those on the left, that most people who still consider themselves proud members of the Democratic Party have bought into this leftist orthodoxy to some extent.

Today’s golden calf is the anti-Semitic, illiberal propaganda. 

Otherwise, how to explain the fact that Mallory and Sarsour remain unscathed — even after showing the world their bigoted, illiberal agendas? That criticizing them — as the ADL did — will just get you thrown to the ground and stomped on by every virtue signaler needing a status boost? That thousands of professors have remained silent while their universities have turned into propaganda machines, where freedom of speech is considered fascist?

The genius of classical liberalism is that it can instantaneously call the bluff of hypocrites on both the left and the right. It’s like a mirror to your political soul.

If you truly are a racist, classical liberalism will out you in a second. But it will also out you if you don’t believe in freedom of speech or if you think journalists or professors should be biased. And it will most especially out you if your compassion is merely a show for status. Maybe this is why classical liberalism is so hated by many on the left today, where protecting one’s status is far more important than standing up for liberal principles.

I have come to think of the election of Trump as an act of God, a Biblical act meant to teach all of us a lesson. Kind of like Moses throwing the Ten Commandments to the ground after descending from Mount Sinai and seeing the golden calf.

Throughout history, each and every time the left has gotten off the classical liberal path and descended into illiberal orthodoxy — communism, socialism and now, Islamist-led leftism — disaster has been the result.

You might think Trump is a disaster. And you have every right to do so. But if you haven’t yet considered the possibility that the way the left worshipped Obama — “utter only sanctimonious praise or I will publicly scream racist at you till you disappear” — led to Trump, or the way the left is now handling Trump — when they go low, we go lower — then we are still a long way from learning something from this saga.

Today’s golden calf is the anti-Semitic, illiberal propaganda — victimhood! identity politics! intersectionality! — emanating from self-proclaimed activists whose real agenda is so diabolical that only the most impetuous (Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Sarsour) dare speak its name.

And so the question remains: Who is going to burn today’s golden calf?

Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic.

Time’s Up for Faux Liberals

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

“Farrakhan has pulled the cover off the eyes of the Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through,” Louis Farrakhan, referring to himself in the third person, told a cheering Nation of Islam crowd of thousands in Chicago a couple of weeks ago.

How nice that Farrakhan, 84, has been able to stay rhetorically on trend. Actually, his genocidal bigotry is so on trend that Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, was shocked — shocked! — that anyone would care that she attended this largely anti-Semitic rally, that she would get a shoutout from the good minister, and even pose for a photo with him on Instagram afterward.

Truth be told, Mallory had every reason to be shocked. When co-leader Linda Sarsour said that anti-Semitism is “not systemic,” that you can’t be a feminist and a Zionist — when she publicly embraced terrorist Rasmea Odeh — there was barely a peep from those left of center.

In fact, the unpleasant reality that Sarsour and co-leader Carmen Perez also have close ties to Farrakhan — the man the Anti-Defamation League calls “the leading anti-Semite in America”—didn’t stir any pot either.

So, why would Mallory think that the normalization of hate against Jews — a key part of the “intersectionality” that the Women’s March quartet touts — would cause such a ruckus?

What Mallory wasn’t counting on was the fact that Farrakhan’s blatant focus on Jews — not Zionists and Israel — would actually motivate the normally silent to open their mouths. Jews on the far left are often called self-haters for kowtowing to the likes of Sarsour. But clearly it’s not self-hatred — it’s more like they’re happy to hide behind an anti-Zionist cover when needed: regressive chic at its finest.

Not standing up for your own people for the sake of status is just as faux liberal as condoning hatred. So it’s good to know that when push comes to genocide, left-of-center Jews will not be silent. We can now call this the Farrakhan Line: Jews on the left will put their foot down when Israel is not mentioned.

Words, as Jews know in their veins, have consequences.

Indeed, a month before Farrakhan’s speech, the ADL published a report showing that 2017 saw a 67 percent rise in anti-Jewish hate speech, harassment, vandalism and violence.

This seems like a good opportunity to distinguish real liberals from faux liberals, whether they call themselves progressives or leftists or socialists.

Remarkably, the Wikipedia definition of liberalism has remained intact: “Liberalism is a political philosophy founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views … but generally support [the principles of] freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, and gender equality.”

Not standing up for your own people for the sake of status is just as faux liberal as condoning hatred.

This is the key line: Liberals espouse a wide array of views. Meaning, you and I can disagree on how to enforce, for instance, freedom of speech. But if you don’t stand for the principle of freedom of speech, you can’t call yourself a liberal. (Social justice warriors on campus, please take note.)

And speaking of words, I’ve been increasingly seeing the word “gaslighting” in relation to President Donald Trump. Gaslighting is “a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt … in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.”

Personally, I don’t see this as a conscious or unconscious Trump tactic. But I very much see this as a progressive/leftist tactic. From baseless attacks on Israel to Holocaust denial/minimization, to outright Jew hatred, progressives/leftists are, consciously or not, trying to gaslight Jews.

And so, I ask my fellow liberals: Why are you so desperate to be included in these “progressive” groups? Why not work to restrengthen the liberal center? Liberalism, by definition, includes both feminism and Zionism.

And I say to the leaders of the Women’s March: Time’s up for faux liberals and faux feminists.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is a cultural critic and author.