Justice Department civil rights chief Kristen Clarke, who in college rubbed shoulders with at least two anti-Semitic scholars, spoke at the agency’s Holocaust Remembrance Day event on Tuesday.
In her speech, Clarke spoke of “the enormity of the loss of six million Jews” in the Holocaust and the lessons it provides for ongoing atrocities in “Ukraine, Ethiopia, the Congo, and elsewhere around the world.” She mentioned a rise in anti-Semitism in the United States, then pivoted to hate crimes against other racial and ethnic groups.
“Attacks against black people—the most targeted group—and against other marginalized communities continue to increase,” she said.
Clarke may not be the ideal choice to represent the Justice Department on the topic of the Holocaust. In college, Clarke rubbed shoulders with black liberation activists known for anti-Semitic views. As the president of Harvard’s Black Students Association in 1994, Clarke hosted a speech for Wellesley professor Tony Martin, who promoted false theories that a cabal of Jews orchestrated the global slave trade, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Clarke defended Martin after outcry over the event as an “an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information of [sic] indisputable fact.”
Martin in 2002 gave a talk, “Tactics of Organized Jewry in Suppressing Free Speech,” at a conference hosted by a Holocaust denial group, the Institute for Historical Review.
Clarke also served on the editorial board of an academic journal with Amiri Baraka, a black liberationist poet who once blamed Jews for 9/11. Clarke concealed her affiliation with Baraka during her Senate confirmation hearing in 2021 when she told Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) that she had never served on “the editorial staff of a journal with Amiri Baraka.”
Several left-wing Jewish groups during her confirmation hearing defended Clarke against charges of anti-Semitism. She was narrowly confirmed to the civil rights post in a party-line vote.
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