Fact Checking David Axelrod: Jeremiah Wright's Long Career of Hateful Statements Wasn't Just 'Selective' Editing

David Axelrod, chief political strategist for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and former White House political adviser, defended Jeremiah Wright on Tuesday evening in a speech in Thousand Oaks, Ca, saying that the news reports depicting the man once called an Obama “confidant” as anti-Semite and racist were “ninety seconds of vitriol plucked from thirty years of sermons by some enterprising opposition researcher.”

Axelrod is lying.

As I wrote in the American Spectator, this wasn’t the first time that the official spin was that Wright was “selectively edited”:

Candidate Obama tried to dismiss his support for Wright, telling Charlie Gibson of ABC News, “It’s as if we took the five dumbest things that I ever said or you ever said…in our lives and compressed them, and put them out there, you know, I think that people’s reaction, would be understandably upset.” And rightly so. In sermon after sermon, Wright’s radical black nationalist ideas were clearly and emphatically stated. They were not an aberration, but the focal point of Pastor Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Obama was an active member for 20 years.

As far as I know, I am the only writer to have read every single one of Jeremiah Wright’s published sermons, so take it from me when I say that they are very racist and very racialist. Here‘s just a little bit of what I uncovered:

In [Wright’s] church-associated Kwame Nkrumah Academy, the congregation’s children learned such canards as the claim that “[h]istorically, Europeans tried to build themselves up by tearing down all that Africans had done.” Obama biographer David Remnick notes that Obama approved of this “African-centered” grade school, where Wright’s God loves all people, but black people especially. And why shouldn’t he? Jesus, Wright taught, was “an African Jew,” as were most of the figures of the Bible. As Wright said in Africans Who Shaped Our Faith (1995), “evidence exists within and outside of the Bible to support the notion that the people of Israel…were of African descent!”

Wright believes that the Jews as we know them aren’t really Jews.

To support this bizarre claim, Wright must contend that African Jews are different from European Jews. To draw this distinction more clearly, he often invokes Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe, which claims that the Jews are descended not from ancient people of Israel, but from the Khazars in Eastern Europe, which also happens to be a historical claim of anti-Semites. The book is contradicted by genetic evidence, but still politically useful. If Jews are not Semitic in origin, they cannot claim a historic or theological tie to Israel. God’s promise to the Israelites be inoperative for modern Jews. It is in this context that Wright’s comments on Zionism should be seen. Borrowing from the struggle to defeat apartheid-era South Africa, Wright attacks Israel’s right to exist. “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now,” he writes. “Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.” Zionism is like the Dutch Afrikaner [Reformed] Church of the Afrikaners, where the “white racism…is so open and blatant in the doctrines of apartheid or in Zionism.” America had too long practiced “unquestioning” support of Zionism.

I wrote:

It is in this context that Wright’s comments on Zionism should be seen. Attacking Israel’s right to exist, Wright held that “[t]he Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for more than 40 years now.” America, by defending Zionism and its apartheid-like regime, had too long practiced “unquestioning” support of Zionism. Given his hostility to Zionism and non-“African” Jews, it wasn’t surprising that Wright’s anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in June 2009. “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me,” he told the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Virginia. They were “controlling” Obama and therefore preventing the United States from sending a delegation to an anti-racism United Nations conference. (America boycotted it on the grounds that it would descend into an anti-Jew hate fest as it had in previous years.) Wright remained loyal to Malcolm X (Trinity United Church celebrates his birthday) and to Louis Farrakhan.

Wright even joined Farrakhan on a trip to meet with the latter’s benefactor, Muammar Gaddafi, in 1984. (Wright has also routinely bragged about his trips to Castro’s Cuba and Ortega’s Nicaragua. He predicted that his trip to Libya would cause trouble for Obama in 2008: “When [Obama’s] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit [Gaddafi] with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell,” he said.)

Wright routinely cites the work of conspiracy theorists who believes that Jewish doctors working with the U.S. government created H.I.V./AIDs.

So anti-Semitic is the Reverend Wright that Simon Wiesenthal Center included him in its top ten anti-Semitic slurs of 2011.

“The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal … place,” he told an audience in Baltimore in June of last year. “To equate Judaism with the state of Israel is to equate Christianity with [rapper] Flavor Flav.”

Wright’s solution is the sort of anti-racial harmony we’ve come to expect: “We need to help African-Americans see they are just Africans born in another country.”


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