House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) once claimed he had only a "vague recollection" of and hadn't looked at the anti-Semitic speeches made by his uncle in the 1990s, but a 1992 editorial by the Democratic leader uncovered by CNN shows he defended his uncle, his comments, and notorious anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Jeffries’s uncle, Leonard Jeffries, faced backlash in the 1990s for his comments accusing "rich Jews" of being responsible for the slave trade and alleging the existence of "a conspiracy, planned and plotted" by Jewish executives in Hollywood to portray black people poorly. Farrakhan is an infamous anti-Semite who has defended Adolf Hitler and assailed the "stranglehold that Jews have on this government."
In the unearthed article, the Democratic leader defended his uncle’s ideologies after inviting him to speak on his campus at Binghamton University.
"Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire," Jeffries wrote in 1992. "Where do you think their interests lie?" He claimed his uncle "has challenged the existing white supremist [sic] educational system and long standing distortion of history."
"His reward has been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations," Jeffries added.
Jeffries also compared black conservatives to "House Negroes" during American slavery, calling them "tokens" and "opportunists."
"The House Negro of the slavery era and the Black conservative of today are both opportunists interested in securing some measure of happiness for themselves within the existing social order," Jeffries wrote.
Jeffries’s office told CNN he has "consistently been clear that he does not share the controversial views espoused by his uncle over thirty years ago."
The Democratic leader told the Wall Street Journal when he first took office in the House in 2013 that he had "a vague recollection" of the controversies and was away at school and not paying attention.
Jeffries also defended his uncle’s campus speech at a 1992 press conference after a Jewish group protested, CNN reported:
In February 1992, Hakeem Jeffries was a senior at Binghamton University in upstate New York and a board member of the Black Student Union. The BSU extended an invitation for the embattled professor to speak on campus for an undisclosed fee, drawing outrage from some students on campus and members of the Jewish Student Union.
The BSU said the profits from the event would go to a foundation in an honor of a student killed in an auto accident.
After a Jewish student group called on the BSU to cancel the professor’s speaking engagement, Jeffries led a news conference defending his uncle and his speaking engagement.
"We have no intention of canceling a presentation that contains factual information, proven through scholarly documents and texts," read Hakeem Jeffries from a statement reported in the student newspaper the Pipe Dream. "The proper way to way to debate scholarship is with scholarship–not with high-tech lynchings, media assassinations, character desecrations and venomous attacks."