Al's Glass House

Dick Polman reminds us of Al “The Reverend” Sharpton’s past:

In 1987, Sharpton concocted the Tawana Brawley hoax, charging that a 15-year-old black girl had been abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a group of white men. He targeted one particular guy, who turned out to innocent. In fact, the crime itself never happened. Sharpton taunted his white target, saying: “If we’re lying, sue us.” The guy did sue – and wound up winning a $345,000 defamation verdict against Sharpton…who, to this day, has refused to recant his slander or to apologize.

When Sharpton, as a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, was asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press whether he was ready to apologize, he said this: “To apologize for believing and standing with a woman–I think all of us need to take women’s claims more seriously…No apology for standing up for civil rights.”

Sharpton followed up on his ’87 performance by stoking anti-Semitic anger in 1991. After an Hasidic Jewish driver in Brooklyn accidentally killed a seven-year-old black boy, and antisemitic riots erupt. Sharpton showed up at the funeral and assailed “diamond merchants” for spilling “the blood of innocent babies.” In case anyone missed the fact that “diamond merchants” was a code phrase for Jews, he lead a pack of demonstrators through a Jewish neighborhood. Subsequently, a rabbinical student was fatally stabbed by a group of assailants that reportedly shouted “Kill the Jews!”

Flash forward to 1995, when a white Jewish property owner raised the rent on a black-owned music store in Harlem. Sharpton’s organization picketed the Jewish property owner at his own store site. Protestors shouted, “Burn down the Jew store,” and one of them thought that was a good idea. The “Jew store” was torched, and seven employes (some of whom had already been shot) died as a result.

Sharpton hasn’t apologized for any of these incidents. When Russert tried to confront candidate Sharpton about his past, the preacher responded by saying, “I think you’ve got white candidates with worse backgrounds.”

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