ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt Talks Hate Crimes on MSNBC with Al Sharpton, Ignores Sharpton’s Past

Jonathan Greenblatt (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt appeared Sunday morning on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with host Al Sharpton to discuss hate crimes in America — and failed to mention Sharpton’s own history of allegedly inciting hate crimes against Jews.

Sharpton is widely blamed for a riot in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, in 1991 in which a mob killed an innocent religious student, Yankel Rosenbaum.

In addition, Sharpton has been blamed for inciting the 1995 firebombing of Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned store in Harlem, New York.

As the Media Research Center noted in 2015, on the 20th anniversary of the attack:

Sharpton was one of the main causes of the hatred which led to fire bombing of Freddy’s Fashion Mart. He didn’t toss the firebomb, but the anti-Semitic and racial bias which came out of his mouth and out of the mouths of other while in his presence, produced the massacre as assuredly as if the fire was set with his hands.

On December 8, 1995,  Al Sharpton incited the violent fire-bombing of the Jewish-owned Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, causing the the deaths of Angelina Marrero, Cynthia Martinez, Luz Ramos, Mayra Rentas, Olga Garcia, Garnette Ramautar, and Kareem Brunner – the seven victims of the massacre. There was an eighth death, Roland James Smith, the man who burned the store down.

Sharpton also played a role in fomenting racial divisions around the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. He spread claims that the Hispanic man who shot him, George Zimmerman, was “white,” and that he had used racist language during the incident. Using his perch at MSNBC, his National Action Network activist group, and his connections with the Obama White House, Sharpton whipped national outrage over Martin’s death into a frenzy that set the stage for the violent Black Lives Matter protests of 2014, and that continues to divide the nation.

Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official, never once mentioned Sharpton’s past in his appearance on Sunday’s show. Instead, he joined Sharpton in attacking President Donald Trump for his reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

The ADL CEO even suggested that Trump is indirectly responsible for hate crimes: “Hate will fester when we don’t force it down. And when the president fails to call out bigots, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, they feel emboldened. And when extremists feel emboldened, they take action.”

Yet Greenblatt failed to call out Sharpton’s own role in encouraging extremists.

A year ago, Greenblatt and the ADL played a leading role in spreading false claims that Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon is an antisemite. Faced with the facts, however, the ADL backed away from that claim.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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