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Sweet: Obama distances himself from Farrakhan after Washington Post column about Farrakhan getting the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award

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LAS VEGAS, NV.—Following a column in Tuesday’s Washington Post titled “Obama’s Farrakhan Test,” noting that a magazine linked to Obama’s minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, honored Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Barack Obama said he condemned “the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan” and disagreed with a decision to honor him.


The column, by Richard Cohen said that Trumpet Newsmagazine last year, gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to Farrakhan because he “truly epitomized greatness.”

Cohen made clear that Obama has nothing to do with Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic views. Cohen, however, called on Obama to distance himself from award because, Cohen wrote, Obama had an obligation to speak out because he could be the next president and wondered where is Obama’s “sense of outrage.”

After the column was published, Obama said in a statement, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. “I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

Obama’s campaign sent the statement to several major Jewish organizations and armed some of Obama’s most prominent Jewish supporters with talking points about Obama’s strong support of Israel. The matter came up during a previously scheduled conference call w the campaign’s Jewish Community outreach.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said he welcomed Obama’s condemnation of Farrakhan and his disagreement with him getting the honor. " Issues of racism and anti-Semitism must be beyond the bounds of politics. When someone close to a political figure shows sympathy and support for an individual who makes his name espousing bigotry, that political figure needs to distance himself from that decision. Senator Obama has done just that.”

5 Comments

Is Cohen inferring guilt by association? Calling on Obama to condemn the church's decision -- he had nothing to do with -- says more about Cohen than Obama.

Obama attends Chicago's Trinity Church of Christ. The church's magazine is published by Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's daughter. It was her decision to give Farrakhan the award. In other words Obama is several degrees removed from a decision made by the Reverend's daughter.

Cohen's attempt to prove guilt by association is intellectually dishonest. It reflects poorly on him, not Obama.

I do not agree with Lynn Sweet. As a member of the Trinity Church of Christ, Obama's silence would have meant his implicit agreement with the Church'es decision. I even think he did not go far enough. His statement sounds like the obliged and necessary production of a political campaign. I would have expected:
1. Obama talking to Rev. Jeremiah Wright to get the prize changed.
2. Obama leaving that Church if the above doesn't happen.
Remember that by giving Farrakhan an award, the Church is implicitly PROMOTING all his views, including the Anti-Semitic ones. That is totally, 110% unacceptable. Any type of racism is unacceptable. Is it OK to accept a person that promotes hate towards XXXXX (fill in the blank with whatever group you want) just because that person does some social work benefiting a different group that person does no hate? The answer is, and should always be, "NO!!!"

Serena1313 is dead wrong. She does not know the criteria for that award. The criteria could be "positive impact in the community." In the words of Martin Luther King. "No person is all bad and no person is all good. There is some good in the worst of people, and some bad in the best of people."

One other thing: People keep talking like Blacks and Jews are two different people, when they are in a of lot cases, the same people. Jews (through lineage) are of every race. The proof is in the Lemba men and the Ethiopian Jews that are now in Israel (who have the DNA in them). They are both Jew (through lineage) and Black. CASE CLOSED!! The bible says that Jews will return that have been spread to the ends of the earth. That means that Jews are probably on every continent. They just don't know that they are Jews. The bible says that there will be people who say they are Jews, but in fact are not Jews. To think that all Jews are Caucasian looking is both wrong and racist.

Is America a racist country? Of course it is! We just don't like to talk about it. I served 24 years in the military, and from my own experience, I have experienced the most racism in my own country. In my opinon, there is more racism here in my homeland than in Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia, or Australia. Probably the most racist country outside of the America is Russia, and they happen to be caucasian too.

We need to have a dialogue on why people feel they are superior to others. We need to have a dialogue on why whites segregate themselves from other races (all around the world). The answer may shock some of us.

"Cohen's attempt to prove guilt by association is intellectually dishonest. It reflects poorly on him, not Obama."

He did no such thing, and that statement reflects poorly on the intelligence of the writer. In fact, Cohen went to great & painful lengths to not smear Obama by association. He merely called upon Obama to distance himself from Wright and Farrakhan, which Obama did, to the apparent satisfaction of the ADL. Case closed.

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That said, in my view, Obama did not go far enough in repudiating Farrakhan. I think he does need to put Wright, Inc on notice that he'll have to sever ties completely if they can't stop the noxious little trickle of hatred coming from TUC and associates.

Regarding Farrakhan - neither he nor anyone else gets a free pass because he's done a few useful things; we need always to consider a person's total net effect, and his is undoubtedly negative - even if he is a mostly no-account nutjob loudmouth.

I was about to write "no comment on Anonymous - nothing to comment on." It's just another regurgitative stew of simple-minded cant. If Anonymous ever had an original thought, I fear it would die of lonliness. But there is in fact something that ought to be noted, because it is the taproot of the present acrimony: Racism is not peculiar to whites; it is not the least bit shocking. It is, in fact, a universal human trait - as human as walking upright, or the God virus. It has occurred in every human society of which we have knowlege. Among peace-loving indigenous peoples, almost all collective pronouns translate as "The True People" (us) and "The False People" (them). Under this logic, any treatment of the "others," no matter how cruel and barbaric, is permissable (modern romantic People of North European Extraction, of course, go to great lengths to mis-translate, with such memorable examples as the Navajo word "Anasazi" - ie: "Enemy Ancestor" - being rendered as "The Ancient Ones". Modern Puebloans, having apparently decided that racist Spaniards are preferable to racist Navajos, now insist that the correct term is "Ancestral Puebloans").

It's a sad commentary that ALL religions have caused and do cause more grief, wars, hatred, so-called superiority, killings, rapes, etc. than almost any other motive, except possibly male hormones!

Any reasonable and thoughful person should realize that all the religions are MAN MADE.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 15, 2008 8:25 PM.

Sweet column: With race inserted into campaign, Obama, Clinton say enough is enough was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Making nice at start of Las Vegas Dem debate. is the next entry in this blog.

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