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Jewish World Review May 26, 2005/ 17 Iyar, 5765

Larry Elder

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Time for Reverend Sharpton to apologize

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Where is Reverend Al Sharpton's apology?

"Black leader" and former presidential candidate Al Sharpton recently capped off a busy week by demanding apologies from Mexican President Vicente Fox and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Fox, in defending Mexican illegals working in America, said such workers take jobs that "even blacks" refuse to do. Enter Sharpton. He demanded an apology, arguing Fox's words "confirm the stereotype that blacks are the lowest peons in the workforce of this country." Although Fox promptly "clarified" his remarks and told Sharpton that he "regretted any hurt feelings," Sharpton remains unappeased. "If I step on your toe," said Sharpton, "I should apologize. I should not say that I regret that you think your foot hurts."

In Compton, a city near Los Angeles, 10 sheriff's deputies fired 120 rounds into an SUV driven by a black man, after a radio dispatcher described a similar vehicle as having been involved in a shooting. It turns out the suspect had no weapon and was not a murder suspect. Sharpton steamed into town. He demanded an investigation — an apology was not good enough — and likened the shooting to the "O.K. Corral."

L.A. County Sheriff Baca apologized, stating, "I know there were too many shots fired. I don't need an investigation to tell me that." But get this. Not only did Baca accompany Sharpton on a shooting scene tour, Baca even said, "I happen to be a big admirer of Reverend Sharpton — with all his flaws. He is a voice for justice."

A voice for justice? Let's go to the videotape.

Remember how Sharpton burst onto the national scene? He falsely accused then-district attorney Steven Pagones of raping Tawana Brawley. Brawley claimed a white man abducted and raped her, scrawling racial epithets on her body with feces! A grand jury later determined that Brawley made everything up to avoid punishment for staying out too late. Pagones received death threats and threats against his child. A unanimous jury found Sharpton liable for defamation, but it took Pagones over two years to collect Sharpton's judgment. Apparently, Sharpton transferred his assets to his wife's name, paying Pagones only when Sharpton's friends ponied up the money. To this day, Sharpton refuses to apologize.

A voice for justice?

In 1991, Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black child, was killed in a Crown Heights (Brooklyn) traffic accident, when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew went out of control. Sharpton turned it into a racial incident, leading 400 protesters — one holding a sign reading, "The White Man Is the Devil" — through Crown Heights' Jewish section. Sharpton called Jews "diamond merchants," and later said, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house." During four nights of rock- and bottle-throwing, a young Talmudic scholar was surrounded by a mob shouting, "Kill the Jew!" and stabbed to death. A hundred others were injured.

A voice for justice?

In 1995, a Jewish storeowner in Harlem was accused of driving out a black storeowner and sub-tenant by raising his rent. Sharpton helped to make it racial. At one rally meant to scare the Jewish owner away, Sharpton said, "[W]e will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." Following a demonstration three months later, one protestor, an armed black man, stormed Freddy's Fashion Mart, screaming, "It's on now! All blacks out!"

The man also set fire to the building, eventually killing himself and seven others. At first, Sharpton denied any moral responsibility, after all, claimed Sharpton, he never spoke at any protest rallies, and therefore could not be held responsible for the climate. But tapes surfaced, showing Sharpton did, indeed, make at least one provocative speech. Sharpton then said, "What's wrong with denouncing white interlopers?" Eventually, he apologized — for saying "white," not "interloper."

A voice for justice?

In 1983, the FBI filmed Sharpton with an undercover agent discussing a cocaine deal. On the videotape, Sharpton asks, "What kind of time limit are we dealing with?"

"Coke?" the agent asks.

"Yeah." Sharpton says.

The phony dealer says, "Could be about the same time we have 4 million coming to us."

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Sharpton: "End of April?"

Agent: "End of April. . . . Is that a good time you think?"

"Probably," Sharpton replies.

The undercover agent offers Sharpton a fee, saying, "I can get pure coke for about $35,000 a kilo. . . . Every kilogram we bring in, $3,500 to you. How does that sound?" Sharpton nods in response.

Sharpton later said that, since he did not know the men with whom he was discussing the drug deal, he was play-acting "out of fear."

A voice for justice?

This bigoted, mean-spirited, anti-Semitic, race-card-playing incendiary regularly appears on cable news shows, where, incredibly, few seem to question his moral authority.

Enough, Reverend Alfred C. Sharpton. It's your time to apologize.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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