The Des Moines Register, Thursday, January 15, 1998, Page 13A


Jesse Jackson is a moral coward

He has lent his name and prestige for the greater glory of Farrakhan

Jesse Jackson is on Wall Street to launch a diversity effort on behalf of blacks, women and - if I may be so bold - Jesse Jackson himself.  He has already received about $400,000 in commitments from various Wall Street firms, some of them bearing just the sort of names that Jackson's friend Louis Farrakhan drops when he wants to convince his audience that high finance, not to mention much else, is controlled by Jews.
    I link the three - Jackson, Farrakhan and Wall Street - if only because I thought it was about time someone did.  Up to now it somehow seemed the essence in bad taste to mention that Jackson not only has never repudiated Farrakhan, but spoke at the so-called Million Man March back in 1995.  That was the march, as we all know, where Farrakhan apprised us the importance of the number 19.  It took him about half a day to do so.
    Jackson sat through that speech as an honored guest on the podium.   Just months before, in February 1995 to be precise, Farrakhan had given us all a tutorial in high economics, finance and gutter anti-Semitism in a Chicago speech.  He began with the founding of the House of Rothschild, quoting the founding father, Meyer, that he owed allegiance to no nation, "as long as he controlled the purse strings."
    From there, we wend our way to the modern era where certain people with recognizable Jewish names - Rothschild, Warburg - have not only established banking houses, but supposedly were lending money to Adolf Hitler.  No matter that none of this is true; Farrakhan is so sure of his misinformation that he dares anyone to call him an anti-Semite as a result:
    "But if you can't call Rothschild anti-Semitic and Warburg an anti-Semite, then you don't open your mouth against me.
    I could go on - and Farrakhan does, even blaming World War II (and maybe by now El Nino) on these awful inter national bankers.  This concoction of fable, fibs and fantasy makes one thing clear: The man is a crackpot anti-Semite.   But not to Jackson.  He is one of the people intimidated by Farrakhan's warning: "You don't open your mouth against me."
   Given the chance not to speak at the Million Man March or - this would have taken real guts - given the chance to speak and to repudiate such hatred, Jackson said nothing along those lines.  Instead Jackson gave a speech that will long be remembered for the very giving of it.  His words, on the other hand, have been forgotten.
    Now, though, some of the very firms long associated with so-called Jewish banking have kicked in about $50,000 each for Jackson's effort to increase black employment on Wall Street.  It is, I concede, a worthy idea, although given Jackson's track record nothing will come out of it.  After all, Jackson was the so-called Shadow Senator for Washington, D.C., and in all that time (six years) never did anything more than affix vanity plates to his car.  While Washington, D.C., was slipping into Third-Worldism, Jackson did nothing and said nothing.  Finally, he hit upon a plan: He moved back to Chicago.
    Jackson racked up about the same record with his Operation PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition, his vehicle for his occasional presidential races.  Operation Push is operating in the red and the Rainbow Coalition has been merged with it.  These are now both headquartered in Chicago where, probably, they will wend their way back to solvency.  Jackson knows how to get money.
    Do not misunderstand.  On a certain level I admire Jackson.   He often speaks for people who nowadays are considered politically unfashionable, not to mention well-nigh invisible - the poor.  Moreover, time and time again he elbowed issues, and himself, into a political debate where, for some reason, the concerns of the middle class are considered more urgent than those of the poor.  Jackson remembers what it is like to be poor.
    But he is a moral coward.  It is understandable that he has never - as far as I know - been critical of a fellow African-American, but that is not the same as lending his name and prestige to the greater glory of Farrakhan.
    That appearance, so unnecessary and so contemptuous of his greater constituency, showed that Jackson will ask of others what he is not willing to give himself.  When it comes time to pay some moral dues, Jackson moves on.
    Now he has moved on to Wall Street where, it seems, Jackson's willingness to snuggle up to a racist and anti-Semite has either been forgotten or, more likely, ignored.  At the very least, though, he is showing how wrong Farrakhan and other anti-Semites are about high finance.  Jews don't control Wall Street.   Suckers do.

RICHARD COHEN writes for The Washington Post.

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The Des Moines Register
Friday, January 2, 1998, Page 10A