Buttigieg Staffer Attended Anti-Semitic Farrakhan Sermon

Tweeted about watching Nation of Islam leader for several months after

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan / Getty Images
September 23, 2019

Deven Anderson, who recently joined Pete Buttigieg's (D.) presidential campaign as a regional organizing director in Columbia, S.C., has a history of praising anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and attended a sermon where Farrakhan said "You can walk with a Jew, but you can't walk with me."

Between April 2010 and August 2013, Anderson tweeted more than 20 times about Farrakhan, praising his sermons and tweeting out quotes. Two days before Farrakhan spoke at Union Temple Baptist on April 25, 2010, in southeast Washington, D.C., Anderson tweeted about planning to attend the sermon.

In another tweet on April 23, he responded to a now-deleted tweet saying he has "never seen the Honorable Minister Farrakhan in person," adding that choosing between Cornel West and Farrakhan will be a "real tough decision." On the morning of the service, he tweeted that he and two friends were "on [their] way to see The Honorable Minister!"

After the event, Anderson tweeted, "all i can say is The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan preached today." While Anderson didn't tweet about anything Farrakhan said during his sermon, there is video on YouTube of the remarks, which commemorated the 37th pastoral anniversary of Reverend Willie Wilson.

"When Wall Street saw they were going to regulate, Wall Street paid back all the money. The banks still not loaning you nothing. Do you know why?" Farrakhan asked. "They print money right over there next to the Holocaust Museum. That is not an accident either."

He said Jews have been "scattered throughout the Earth as a result of their rebellion to the laws and statutes and commandments of God." Farrakhan continued, "God would never have had to give commandments to the children of Israel, thou shalt not steal, if they weren't crooked."

"You can walk with a Jew, but you can't walk with me. I believe in Jesus, but they don't. Why you reject me?" Farrakhan asked, beating his fist on the pulpit. "Why can you sit down with Weinberg and Steinberg and Huffman? Is it because they have money? They have influence? They have power? Then tell me you're not a worshipper of God. You worship the power of this world."

Farrakhan also condemned same-sex relationships and told the crowd they are "liars" and "hypocrites" for tolerating homosexuality while claiming to believe in God. He said not to listen to teachers who say "we must get rid of hate," and that such people are "bringing us back to the plantation." He also blamed the "money changers" and "international bankers," two anti-Semitic epithets, for hurting the economy during then-president Barack Obama's first term. He said he "broke out in tears" seeing Obama with gray hair and said, "They got Barack."

In the months after Farrakhan's remarks in D.C., Anderson tweeted about watching other videos of the Nation of Islam leader. He also shared an article in 2013 about an open letter from author Alice Walker to singer Alicia Keys, who was scheduled to perform in Israel.

In the letter, Walker wrote "a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major 'crime' is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own."

Anderson began working for the Buttigieg campaign on August 27. He previously worked as the Black Youth Vote! lead organizer for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Obama's Organizing for Action nonprofit. Anderson has organized with several Democratic politicians and activists over the last decade. He has pictures on his social media accounts with Jesse Jackson, failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and MSNBC hosts Al Sharpton and Joy Reid.

Buttigieg has attempted to position himself as more pro-Israel than other high-profile Democrats, distancing himself from anti-Semitic voices in the party. In an interview on The View in January, he pushed back on comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) comparing Israel to Iran. He also told Michael Allen on HBO's Axios he would not move the U.S. embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv.

However, Buttigieg has criticized Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "turning away from peace," and drew praise from IfNotNow when he told anti-Israel activists in July "the occupation must end."

The Buttigieg campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether it supports Farrakhan's rhetoric.