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In an interview with the Daily Caller, former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant challenged the credibility of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, whom he accused of “exploiting” the Trayvon Martin tragedy to “racially divide this country.” He further accused the duo of being “race hustlers” and said they are “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.”
On Monday, Jackson and Sharpton held a protest attended by thousands in Sanford, Florida, the town where Martin was shot. Al Sharpton took the opportunity to work up a racist angle in a case where, at this juncture, such an angle is as tenuous as it gets. “We are here with two million signatures of people petitioning you to execute the immediate arrest of the killer of Trayvon Martin,” said Sharpton. If the board does not act swiftly, he added, the town could become “the Birmingham of the 21st century, as a place of racial intolerance and double standards.”
No one epitomizes racial intolerance or exploits double standards more than Al Sharpton. It was Sharpton who referred to Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY as “diamond merchants” during a eulogy at the funeral of Gavin Cato, a black boy killed when a car in a rabbi’s motorcade accidentally struck him. “The world will tell us he was killed by accident,” said Sharpton. “Yes, it was a social accident…It’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights…Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. The issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid…All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no kaffe klatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’. Pay for your deeds.”
Someone did indeed pay. The accident precipitated three nights of black rioting during which Jewish houses were set on fire and vandalized, and rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed to death by a gang of black youths who surrounded him.
Sharpton wasn’t through. In 1995, after a black Pentecostal church asked the Jewish owner of a clothing store to evict a black sub-tenant who owned a record store on the property, Sharpton set up a picket line. “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business,” he said. Roland James Smith, Jr., who had participated in the picketing, took Sharpton’s words to heart. He walked into the clothing store on December 9, ordered all the black customers to leave, and set the store on fire. Eight people were killed, including Smith.
In the former incident, Sharpton dismissed an accusation by the Anti-Defamation League of helping to incite anti-Semitism that led to the riots. In the latter incident, he criticized investigators for linking the fire to the picketing. Yet Sharpton is more than willing to use the Trayvon Martin case to indict an entire town — as well as the rest of the nation by implication.
Jesse Jackson is, of course, also know to be more than willing to take an individual case and turn it into an indictment of America in general. At a Sanford town hall meeting on Sunday, he told the crowd that Martin was a “martyr.” “Now we must illuminate the darkness with the light that comes from the martyr,” he added. Monday was no different. “The whole world is watching Sanford today,” he said. “The whole world is watching Florida today. This is America on trial,” he told the crowd, igniting applause and chants of “we want justice.”
Jackson’s views were also on display last Friday during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Blacks are under attack,” he said, further noting that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”
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