J Street reconsiders endorsement of congressman who praised Farrakhan

‘We take anti-Semitism quite seriously,’ dovish Jewish group says after Danny Davis calls Nation of Islam leader an ‘outstanding human being’

US Rep. Danny Davis, an Illinois Democrat (US House of Representatives/Wikipedia/Public Domain)
US Rep. Danny Davis, an Illinois Democrat (US House of Representatives/Wikipedia/Public Domain)

NEW YORK — J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group, said it is re-evaluating its endorsement of a congressman who praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

JStreetPAC, the arm of the liberal Israel lobby that funds and endorses candidates, currently lists Representative Danny Davis, an Illinois Democrat from the virulently anti-Semitic Farrakhan’s home base of Chicago, as a candidate it supports. The endorsement, first reported in the Forward, calls Davis “a longtime supporter of Israel and a two-state solution.”

But a J Street spokesman wrote in an email to JTA that the lobby is speaking with Davis’ office and reconsidering that endorsement.

“We take anti-Semitism quite seriously,” J Street’s statement read. “We are currently in conversation with Representative Davis’ office about this issue. We will get back to you shortly with a more extensive response.”

Louis Farrakhan speaking in New York City, June 15, 2011. (Mario Tama/Getty Images via JTA)

Farrakhan, a vocal anti-Semite for decades, recently gave a speech laced with anti-Semitic statements. There have been a rising number of calls in the speech’s wake for Farrakhan’s allies to disavow him.

Davis praised Farrakhan as an “outstanding human being” in an interview last month with the Daily Caller, a conservative news site. In another interview this week, Davis told the Daily Caller that Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism does not concern him enough to disavow Farrakhan, who heads a black separatist movement.

“I know Farrakhan, been knowing him for years and years and years and years and years, and every once in a while some writer or somebody will I guess try to think of something to say about Farrakhan, but nah, my world is so much bigger than any of that,” Davis told the Daily Caller. “The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth.”

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