Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. and ZOA Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
The ZOA urges president-elect Biden to immediately withdraw his nomination of racist Jew-hater Kristin Clarke to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, a position placing her in charge of the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Civil Rights Division. Ms. Clarke’s longstanding and recent promotion of antisemitism and racism disqualifies her to head a government office entrusted with combating these scourges.
Ms. Clarke’s offensive, dangerous, disqualifying positions and statements include the following:
(1) Clarke Invited And Endorsed Antisemite Tony Martin: Late in 1994, while Ms. Clarke was serving as president of Harvard’s Black Student Union, Ms. Clarke invited well-known antisemite Tony Martin to speak at Harvard. The Harvard Crimson reported that during his speech, Martin “denounce[d] the Jewish tradition and the Jewish people for holding a ‘monopoly’ on centuries-worth of the notion of divinely ordained African inferiority”; repeated “his belief that the ‘so-called Sages’ of the Babylonian Talmud were the earliest racists of recorded history”; and praised Kristen Clarke for “courageously invit[ing] him ‘in the face of enormous pressure from the forces of reaction.’”
Martin’s hateful Harvard speech was no surprise: Martin’s primary textbook for his African American history course at Wellesley was “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” published by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam in 1991. The book is an anonymous conspiracy theory falsely claiming that Jews dominated the slave trade.
Additionally, in 1993 (the year before his Harvard speech), Martin self-published a venomous manifesto called “The Jewish Onslaught,” full of absurd, paranoid allegations such as that “Hillel chapters have become campus-based shock troops in the ongoing onslaught against Black progress.” Martin’s tract relentlessly attacked Jews and Jewish groups, including the ADL (which focused on combatting antisemitism at that time) and ZOA. Martin called Jewish students at Wellesley “stablemates” of the ADL – another way of saying that the ADL and Jews are animals. (p. 3) Martin also accused the ADL of a “litany of lies” (p. 11) and characterized Jews’ objections to Leonard Jeffries’ and Edward Said’s vicious antisemitic falsehoods as “trademark Hillel/ADL intolerance.” (p. 6)
Martin’s manifesto also mocked that “most of the Whites who participated in the Civil Rights movement were Jews” and “most of the funding for the mainstream Civil Rights organizations came from Jewish sources,” by asking “what benefits did Jews derive from this ostensibly Black struggle?” Martin’s answer was to absurdly suggest that two former ZOA presidents (Rabbi Wise and Judge Julian Mack), who had also joined the leadership of the “assimilationist” NAACP, were really “spies for the rest of the white race,” or were offering Zionism “as a tool of imperialism,” or viewed “the specter of Black economic self-reliance (and hence freedom from economic and other dependency on Jews) [as] a greater danger than consorting in the NAACP.” (p. 68-69)
(See also ADL’s 1997 article about Tony Martin’s and Leonard Jeffries’ antisemitism.)
Following Martin’s antisemitic Harvard speech, Kristen Clarke again endorsed Martin, saying: “Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact.” As Tucker Carlson emphasized, according to Kristen Clarke, Tony Martin’s antisemitism was based on “indisputable fact.”
This week (on January 11, 2021), Tucker Carlson also explained: “Kristen Clarke has never shed these views. They’ve simply become more sophisticated. Just last year, [as a lawyer] Clarke was fighting for the crudest kind of racial discrimination in college admissions, saying it was “madness” for the federal government to take the side of Asian applicants who had probably been denied college admission [purely because] on the basis of their skin color. . . .
Speaking of madness, in a sane country, someone like Kristen Clarke would be under investigation by the Civil Rights Division, not running it. We will see if Clarke’s nomination gets to the U.S. Senate. If it does, we’re in serious trouble.”
On January 13, 2021 (two days after Tucker Carlson’s exposé), Ms. Clarke told the Forward that Martin asked her to speak (but Tony Martin said in 1994 that Ms. Clarke had invited him!); stated that it “was a mistake to accept his offer to come and to defend him”; and finally said that she now denounces Martin and his views. We welcome renunciations of antisemitism at any time. However, this appears to be an extremely belated “confirmation conversion.” Ms. Clarke moreover has not renounced her recent support for Israel-bashing antisemites, discussed herein.
(2) Clarke Espoused Racist Black Superiority Racial Theories: In 1994, while she was serving as president of the Black Students Union at Harvard University, Ms. Clarke wrote a letter in Harvard’s Crimson newspaper, enumerating various “genetic differences between Blacks and whites” that make Blacks superior. She claimed: “Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities — something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.” Espousing the superiority of any racial group should disqualify Clarke from serving in a position that is supposed to defend the equal rights of all Americans.
(3) Clarke Promoted the Anti-Israel “#JusticeDelegation” and Condemned Israel for Barring Entry of Vicious Anti-Israel BDS Promoters: In a tweet on May 1, 2018, Clarke condemned Israel for prohibiting JVP-aligned CCR Board member Katherine Franke and CCR Executive Director Vince Warren from entering Israel to attend CCR’s anti-Israel, pro-terror, so-called “#Justice Delegation.”
Katherine Franke’s long record of Israel-bashing includes calling Israel’s re-establishment the “Nakba” (catastrophe); repeatedly promoting academic and cultural boycotts of Israel; tweeting “solidarity” with the Hamas rioters who tried to breach the Gaza border to murder innocent Israelis; and promoting and “justifying” anti-Israel violence. Franke tweeted that “Palestinian resistance 2 Israeli policy isn’t ‘Islamic terrorism’ – it’s anti-colonial resistance.”
CCR’s “Justice Delegation” to Israel consisted of meeting with and promoting front groups for designated foreign terror organization PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) including Addameer and Al Haq; Hamas front groups including the so-called Palestine Center for Human Rights, and other phony “human rights” organizations dedicated to demonizing and destroying Jews and Israel, lawfare and BDS. (See JusticeDelegation details.)
Yet, preposterously and frighteningly, Ms. Clarke’s tweet portrayed Franke and CCR director as “civil rights lawyers . . . penalized for their work to promote justice.”
Ms. Clarke’s anti-Israel views of “civil rights” and “justice” render her unfit for a position that calls upon her to protect the civil rights of American pro-Israel and Jewish individuals who are harassed, discriminated against, and attacked.
Moreover, in still another hateful recent tweet on August 11, 2020 (discussed in item 10 below), Ms. Clarke joined with CCR to level incendiary false charges against Israel, ADL, and ADL’s American police training in Israel, and to call for the ADL to be canceled.
(4) Clarke and Her Organization Tweeted Support for Antisemites Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory: On April 20, 2017, Clarke’s organization, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, tweeted a picture that prominently included antisemites Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, with the caption “Proud to see leaders and advocates committed to racial justice and social justice on #Time100.”
Clarke also bitterly complained when Linda Sarsour was removed and arrested for disrupting a U.S. Congressional hearing.
It is startling that a top DOJ nominee promoted shutting down a Senate hearing by unlawful means, and repeatedly supported Linda Sarsour.
Sarsour infamously: called young Arabs who throw rocks at Israelis “the definition of courage”; stated “nothing is creepier than Zionism”; declared that she was “honored and privileged” to stand with convicted PFLP terrorist Rasmea Odeh (who murdered two innocent Jewish students and injured nine others in a supermarket bombing attack and bombed the British Consulate in Jerusalem); tweeted support for the intifadas (the terror wars in which Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered and maimed thousands of innocent Jews in bombing, stabbing, machete, shooting, and other attacks); falsely blames Israel for American police killings of Blacks in America; tweeted that she wished she could take the vaginas away from ex-Muslim female-genital-mutilation-survivor and anti-radical Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and pro-Israel Lebanese-American Christian Brigitte Gabriel; promotes BDS to economically destroy Israel; supports virulent antisemite Louis Farrakhan; and more.
(5) Clarke Called Peaceful Trump Supporters “White Supremacists and Extremists” and Likened Them to the KKK: In a tweet at 9:32 a.m. in the morning on January 6, 2021 (which was many hours before the incursion at the capitol began in the afternoon), Clarke referred to the hundreds of thousands of peaceful Trump supporters at the Trump rally (the overwhelming majority whom had no involvement in the subsequent despicable capitol incursion) as “White supremacists and extremists” and analogized their peaceful gathering to a KKK march through DC 96 years ago. Clarke included a picture of the KKK march in her tweet. How can Clarke possibly protect the civil rights of the half the country that she wrongly maligns as KKK-like “White supremacists and extremists”?
(6) Clarke Promotes Censorship and Opposes Free Speech: In a press release on December 9, 2020, Ms. Clarke and her organization praised YouTube for removing posts by President Trump and his allies, and urged Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to promptly do the same, and to “elevate” media sources whom she deemed to be “valid.” Clarke’s opposition to the free speech rights of 75 million Americans should disqualify her from a position which is supposed to uphold the Constitution and protect Americans’ civil rights.
(7) Clarke (In Conjunction With Anti-Israel Hate Groups CCR, “Palestine Legal,” and JVP) Maligned Israel, ADL, and Police Training in Israel Organized by ADL, and Called for ADL to Be Cancelled: In yet another hateful recent tweet on August 11, 2020, Ms. Clarke wrote: “The @ADL has “passed” as a civil rights org while attacking progressive social mvts & activists, esp POC [People of Color]. A group of left orgs have joined an open letter to “progressives” calling for an end to collaborating with @ADL. http://droptheadl.org @theCCR @pal_legal @JFREJNYC @jvplive.”
In her August 11, 2020 tweet, Ms. Clarke also included a meme saying “ADL is not an ally to our movements. #DroptheADL”; called for ADL to be canceled from “our schools, coalitions and movements”; and linked to a joint letter signed by a “who’s who” of the worst anti-Israel hate groups (including CCR, JVP, Palestine Legal – all of which Ms. Clarke linked to in her tweet). The linked letter accused ADL of playing a “destructive role . . . in undermining struggles for justice,” based on a few occasions when ADL criticized antisemites such as Ilhan Omar. The linked letter also included an accompanying lengthy “primer” that demonized Israel and the ADL, including by accusing ADL of arranging for “deadly exchanges” in which “US and Israeli officials trade surveillance and suppression tactics and technology honed through both countries’ legacies of state violence against Black, brown, and native communities.”
In light of Ms. Clarke’s 8/11/20 “Drop the ADL” tweet and links, Ms. Clarke’s 5/1/18 tweet supporting CCR (item #3 above), and Ms. Clarke’s endorsement of Tony Martin’s hateful antisemitism (which included maligning ADL – item #1 above), it would be self-destructive to ADL, as well as harmful to the Jewish community and all Americans, for ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to continue to support Ms. Clarke’s nomination.
ZOA accordingly urges ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to retract his tweet praising Jew-hating racist Clarke saying “We [ADL] are equally pleased that our partner @KristenClarkeJD has been nominated,” and to join ZOA in calling for withdrawal of Ms. Clarke’s nomination.
(8) Clarke Opposes Colorblind Merit Systems: In a March 30, 2018 discussion on Tucker Carlson about the importance of merit versus appearance and diversity, Ms. Clarke insisted that federal agencies and all employers “need to reflect the growing diversity of our country” and need to place a “premium” on racial and gender diversity – even for airline pilots.
Moreover, the organization that Ms. Clarke currently heads, “The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law,” issued a press release this week (on January 13, 2021), affirming their “robust” commitment to defending “race-conscious admissions” and to opposing “colorblind” frameworks. This is racism and violates U.S. civil rights laws.
(9) Clarke Apparently Supports Harmful Discussions on White Privilege in Schools: During a televised interview on December 28, 2020, Ms. Clarke was asked about a Nevada lawsuit brought by a (Black) mother whose bi-racial child was forced to take a required course about “inherent white privilege.” The course associated parts of children’s identity with “privilege” or being “oppressors,” and created a hostile environment at the school. Instead of acknowledging the harm done by courses that tell children that they are “oppressors” if they have any white or male identities, Ms. Clarke attacked President Trump’s “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” stated that we need to have hard conversations about racial disparities, and stated “I think the school is a great setting for us to begin having these critical conversations.”
(10) Clarke’s Hostility to the Police: Ms. Clarke called for partially defunding the police. On June 11, 2020, Clarke said: “I advocate for defunding police operations that have made African Americans more vulnerable. . . . We must invest less in police and more in social workers.”
Also, in a December 28, 2020 interview, Ms. Clarke claimed: “Rampant police abuse and police brutality have largely gone unchecked because this Justice Department has abandoned investigating systemic police misconduct.”
ZOA believes it is absolutely vital to weed out bad apples from police forces and improve police training. However, Ms. Clarke’s extreme views can endanger the safety of the American public, and can especially endanger the safety of African American communities.
(11) Clarke Condemned Leaving Biased Anti-Israel UN Group: In a tweet on October 12, 2017, Ms. Clarke condemned the U.S. administration for deciding to leave UNESCO because of UNESCO’s extreme, intransigent anti-Israel bias. Clarke defended UNESCO and wrote: “The growing isolationism of the U.S. is dangerous and polarizing.”
(12) Clarke’s Vindictiveness Towards President Trump’s Attorneys: In a tweet on January 5, 2021, Ms. Clarke threateningly gloated: “Lawyers mounting frivolous post-election lawsuits will be held accountable.” This sort of vindictiveness has no place in an administration that promised to bring the country together.
(12) Clarke Promoted Possibly Illegal Pizza to the Polls: Early on January 5, 2021, Clarke retweeted a bright, large, flashing “Pizza to the Polls” ad offering free pizza and other food to voters on line in metro Atlanta (an area that heavily favored Ossoff and Warnock). According to Georgia’s secretary of state, this “line warning” could be a felony. At a minimum, providing pizza to voters is a legal “gray area.” Someone who promotes potentially illegal voting practices should not be a top Justice Department official.
It would thus be a travesty to proceed with the nomination of a racist Jew-hater and Israel-hater Ms. Kristen Clarke.