OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The war Israel declared on Hamas after the terrorist group launched a surprise attack against the Jewish state earlier this month has exposed the Democratic House leader to harsh criticism from some of those who voted for him.
While a student at Binghamton University in upstate New York in 1992, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries wrote an opinion piece for the college newspaper titled “The Black Conservative Phenomenon” that critics say is rife with racist overtones and included a defense of anti-Semites.
CNN uncovered the “previously unreported college editorial” in April, reporting that the column undermines Jeffries’ claims that he only had “a vague recollection” of a controversy that involved an uncle.
The Western Journal noted:
Jeffries was an executive board member of Binghamton’s Black Student Union, which had invited his uncle, City College of New York black studies professor Leonard Jeffries, to speak on campus. The elder Jeffires eventually got canned from his job for anti-Semitic remarks, according to CNN.
In the editorial, Jeffries defended both his uncle and Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who made a career out of bashing Jews.
“Do you think that a ruling elite would promote individuals who would seek to dismantle their vice-like grip on power?” the youthful Jeffries wrote, lamenting attacks on them by the “white media” and “white power structure.”
“Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire,” he added. “Where do you think their interests lie? Dr. Jeffries has challenged the existing white supremacist educational system and long standing distortion of history. His reward has been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations.”
He also referred to black conservatives as “House Negroes.”
“During the period of African enslavement, our ancestors were given the duality of the Field Negro and the House Negro,” he wrote. “The Field Negro labored from dawn ‘till dusk, had nothing but contempt for his white master, and most importantly, the majority of Black slaves, who were Field Negroes. In contemporary terms, what we would refer to as ‘the masses.’
“The House Negroes didn’t labor in the field, they were domestic servants. The House Negro was dressed up and was led to believe that he or she was better than those in the field. Most importantly, the House Negro sought to emulate the white master. This emulation was not designed with the interests of the masses at heart. Rather, the motivating force was personal gain,” he wrote.
Since entering politics, especially as a politician from New York City, which has a heavy Jewish population that, for some reason, continues to vote for Democrats, Jeffries has attempted to distance himself from his prior public views.
“Jeffries has said he had only a ‘vague recollection’ of the controversy, saying he couldn’t even recall coverage of it in the local press,” CNN reported.
Jeffries spokeswoman Christiana Stephenson, meanwhile, told CNN that his record is one of “bringing communities together.” The congressman, she added, “has consistently been clear that he does not share the controversial views espoused by his uncle over thirty years ago.”
Earlier this month, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed and hundreds more kidnapped after being attacked by Hamas. Israel’s subsequent declaration of war and military response have led to widespread anti-Israel protests and sentiment on many of the most prestigious U.S. college and university campuses, with many blaming the Israelis.
Jewish students on those campuses have been intimidated and set upon, leading many to claim they fear for their safety.