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Hakeem Jeffries, House Dem leader, under fire over past defense of anti-Semitic family member

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
April 13, 2023

House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, who is new to the position for which former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed him, has come under fire regarding an editorial he wrote in college defending his uncle, a professor at Binghampton University in New York over anti-Semitic views.

Hakeem Jeffries claims past controversy is only a vague memory

Jeffries just made history this year as the first Black lawmaker to become the House minority leader, according to CNN.

However, he says his recollection of the controversy surrounding the anti-Semitic comments his uncle Leonard Jeffries made is only a vague memory, according to CNN.

Hakeem claims that he was busy at college and sheltered from the controversy and couldn't even remember any local press coverage of the anti-Semitic comments that cost his uncle Leonard Jeffries his job as a professor at the university.

However, an editorial discovered by CNN suggests that Hakeem was keenly aware of what was going on with his uncle.

In fact, Hakeem, who was attending college at Binghampton University at the time, was also the executive board member of the Black Student Union.

That organization had invited his uncle to speak at the campus following his uncle's controversial, anti-Semitic comments.

Hakeem defended his uncle as well as Islamic leader Louis Farrakhan

Hakeem's editorial was written in defense of his uncle, as well as the Nation of Islam's leader, Louis Farrakhan.

Hakeem's uncle had commented in the early 90s that he believed "rich Jews" were connected to the African slave trade efforts.

In addition, Leonard also believed they participated in "a conspiracy, planned and plotted and programmed out of Hollywood" of Jewish executives who he said he believed were responsible for developing and perpetuating negative stereotypes of Black Americans in films.

"Do you think that a ruling elite would promote individuals who would seek to dismantle their vice like grip on power?" Hakeem wrote, adding that he believed, "White media" unfairly targeted them for challenging "the longstanding distortion of history."

The editorial Hakeem wrote appeared in The Vanguard, which was the student newspaper for BSU, according to the Daily Mail.

Hakeem expresses his views on conservatism 

"Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire. Where do you think their interests lie?" Hakeem wrote, according to the Daily Mail.

"Dr. Jeffries has challenged the existing white supremist [sic] educational system and long standing distortion of history. His reward has been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations," Hakeem noted.

Hakeem also attacked conservatism, stating that he feels it isn't representative of African-Americans because it opposes the "redistribution of wealth."

"Conservative political thought rejects the redistribution of wealth. Conservative political thought shuns social reforms and favors a huge defense industry. Conservative political thought does not advocate Civil Rights advances."

He went on to express his opinion about black conservatives: "The black conservative buys into the idea of the American dream, the dream in which hard work and perseverance eventually liberate and reap benefits. However, this totally ignores the economic reality of this country's capitalist system. Capitalism necessitates the perpetuation of a permanent underclass."

Interestingly, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is a Black conservative who has been considering a formal presidential run against Donald Trump for the 2024 elections.

Scott launched an exploratory committee on Wednesday as he prepared for a three day journey involving Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to The Hill.