What's Going on, Kweisi?
Jude Wanniski
April 28, 1998


Memo To: Kweisi Mfume, President & CEO, NAACP
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Julian Bond & Abe Foxman

Here you have the NAACP’s new chairman making a speech at an Anti-Defamation League event, and according to the NYC Jewish weekly, The Forward, reaching out to Abe Foxman by crapping all over Louis Farrakhan. According to the paper, “sitting right next to Mr. Bond, with a smile spread across his face, was the ADL’s own national director, Abe Foxman.” The paper says “The historic cooperation between blacks and Jews that helped put the NAACP on the map, Mr. Bond warned at the ADL event, is threatened by an increasingly vocal anti-Semitism from members of the black community. The most prominent purveyor of this anti-Semitism, he added, is “Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, who attacks Jews as slavemasters and exploiters of black America, repeating the old and long-discredited libel about a Jewish master plan for world domination.”

Now Kweisi, you know and I know that Farrakhan has never attacked Jews as slavemasters and exploiters of black America and has never said a word about a Jewish master plan for world domination. If he did, he would be an anti-Semitic bigot and you would never have embraced him, nor would I. Instead, he has spent the last 14 years seeking reconciliation with the Jewish political establishment while the ADL and Foxman do everything they can to destroy the Nation of Islam. This is shameful slander on the part of Juilan Bond. If I were you, I would ask Julian Bond to apologize for going into the ADL’s back yard to kick Louis Farrakhan around. What is Minister Farrakhan supposed to do? Sue the NAACP? It really is quite disgusting to watch this game being played out. If you do nothing but sit there in silence while Julian Bond makes the rounds of Jewish political philanthropists, collecting cash for your organization in exchange for saying whatever evil comes to the top of his head, you are as guilty as he is of this shameless behavior.

You should know that for the past 18 months I’ve been in discussions with the publisher of the Forward, Seth Lipsky, trying to persuade him to give Farrakhan the kind of fair hearing I gave him after Jack Kemp in 1996 asked him to renounce anti-Semitism. Min. Farrakhan immediately did so in a speech in St. Louis that the press corps would not report -- even after I sent letters around to the major editors with copies of the speech. In my due diligence, I’ve concluded that while he has been understandably hot in his rhetoric toward those Jewish political leaders who have been trying to destroy him, he has never once evidenced hostility to the Jewish people or the state of Israel. Indeed, a reporter who Lipsky recently asked to interview Min. Farrakhan -- an interview I arranged -- subsequently called to tell me how surprised he was to find Farrakhan’s position on Israel was practically identical to that of “left-wing Zionists.” He thought this was a new thing, but I assured him he has been saying this for years, but it is inconvenient for the press to take note. We are all waiting to read his report in the Forward.

In the last 30 years, Kweisi, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has watched the decimation of the black family, 70% of black children born out of wedlock, one out of four black men in their prime years now warehoused in prisons, a high percentage on the street wasted on drugs, and the racial divide wider than ever. Why is there any surprise that the NAACP is in a weaker financial position than it has been in for generations? There has been no advance! If you are going to promote advance, you can’t do it with the kind of gunslinging for which your organization seems to have hired Julian Bond. You are simply retracing your steps away from the liberal plantation which you and I discussed several times had bound you and black America in political servitude -- keeping the black community in its place in the old political coalition by punishing anyone uppity enough to speak up. What’s going on, Kweisi?