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Jewish World Review July 7, 1999 /23 Tamuz, 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Is Rev. Al Hillary's new pal? --
IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE a lawyer working for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., and you are planning a conference on police-community relations. Whom do you invite? The mayor of Washington, D.C.? Criminologists? Community leaders?

Suppose someone suggested that you invite race hustler Rev. Al Sharpton -- the mountebank who came to national prominence on the strength of a vicious and highly inflammatory libel he helped Tawana Brawley broadcast to the world and who has continued to show up wherever the embers of racial distrust and enmity could be stirred into fire. You would laugh, right? You would say, "That's like inviting Wilt Chamberlain to a conference on chastity."

Well, if you are a lawyer in President Clinton's Justice Department, you apparently don't laugh at such a suggestion. You get right on it, which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago. Sharpton wound up sharing the stage with the president himself -- swapping strategies about how to diminish police brutality.

Now this is rich. Here you have a charlatan, a convicted liar (Sharpton was successfully sued for defamation by former District Attorney Stephen Pagones, whom Sharpton had accused of raping Brawley, smearing her body with feces and leaving her in a paper bag marked "KKK"), offering his views on police brutality! Goodness. What must Pagones, and the four police officers similarly accused, make of this?

But the Clinton administration wasn't finished paying homage to Sharpton. The following day, Rev. Al showed up at the White House ceremony held to honor the New York Yankees for their victory in the World Series. What? The World Series was eight months ago? Well, one supposes Hillary is to blame for the delay. She had trouble finding a Yankee cap large enough to accommodate the swelled head she's grown since announcing her interest in the Empire State. Anyway, according to The Forward newspaper, Sharpton got prime seating next to the players, far better than many members of Congress who were present.

The press, which begins to twitch uncontrollably at the mere mention of David Duke, has been quite tame regarding the Clintons' new friend. There has been hardly a peep -- no shouted questions asking the president or Senate candidate to repudiate him and no pointed questions about his racism.

Danny Hellman
Following the Brawley introduction, Sharpton continued his malicious career by involving himself in the Crown Heights tragedy of 1991. A car driven by a Hasidic Jew had accidentally struck and killed a 7-year-old black boy. Sharpton showed up at the funeral, denouncing "diamond merchants" and spreading the false rumor that a Jewish-owned ambulance refused to treat the boy as he lay dying.

A gang of black hoodlums then surrounded and stabbed to death a young seminarian named Yankel Rosenbaum, shouting, "Get the Jew."

In 1995, as Evan Gahr recounts in the June American Spectator, Sharpton incited a mob that had been picketing Freddy's Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned store in Harlem. The Mart had some sort of conflict over its lease. Sharpton saw an opportunity and began to refer to the owner as a "white interloper," and one of Sharpton's lieutenants promised to "make this cracker suffer." Someone did, by torching the place. The fire killed seven innocent people, including a black security guard who was trapped inside.

More recently, Sharpton has shown up to serve as "family adviser" to the Luimas (Abner Luima was brutally abused by several New York police officers) and the Diallos (Amadou Diallo was killed by police in a case of mistaken identity). The injection of Sharpton's "advice" into a racially sensitive situation guarantees a net increase in resentment, rancor and slander.

And yet, he has run for mayor of New York in the Democratic primary and been the toast of New York Democrats. Geraldine Ferraro praises his wit, Sen. Charlie Schumer happily shares a stage with him, and now the president and First Candidate have offered him the best seat on the South Lawn.

"The president of the United States invites me to a round table," Sharpton complained, "but I can't talk to the police chief of New York."

Hats off to the New York police chief.

JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.


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©1999, Creators Syndicate