FIRST ON FOX: Several national Jewish groups blasted a Washington, D.C., city councilmember who praised the notoriously anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as seeking to “honor” an “out-and-out bigot.”
Fox News Digital reached out to several Jewish advocacy groups about D.C. Councilmember Trayon White, Sr., attending and promoting an event featuring Farrakhan as the main speaker.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed disgust towards White over his praise of Farrakhan during an event commemorating the city’s late former Mayor Marion Barry a little over two weeks ago.
“Louis Farrakhan is a notorious antisemite and racist who has long invoked hateful and conspiratorial rhetoric against the Jewish people,” Meredith R. Weisel, the ADL’s D.C. regional director, told Fox News Digital.
“It is deeply troubling that D.C. Councilmember Trayon White would seek to honor someone who is an out-and-out bigot,” Weisel continued. “As someone who has himself invoked antisemitic tropes in the past, we hope that White will reconsider his support for Farrakhan.”
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Democratic Ward 8 Council member Trayon White Sr., posted a six-minute video on his Instagram account of Farrakhan speaking to dozens of people at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. to remember the late D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who passed away in 2014. The Instagram caption was “Today we commemorated the relationship of the Honorable Marion Barry and the Honorable Louis Farrakhan in Washington DC that transformed the lives of many.”
Liora Rez, the executive director of anti-Semitism watchdog group,StopAntiSemitism, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview that the group was “not surprised” by White’s attendance to the event and called him “an anti-Semitic, Jew-hating bigot through and through” whose apologies for his actions are “fruitless” and ring hollow.
Rez also said White “needs to be shunned in the D.C. circles” and said that Mayor Muriel Bowser needs to “apologize” after her appointee, Cora Masters Barry, also attended the event.
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She went on to say that she does not think Barry will apologize for attending the event and that she either “brushes” Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism “to the side, is willfully ignorant of it, or possibly subconsciously or consciously agrees with it.”
“By having his anti-Semitic history and his current hatred that he so easily spews towards Jews. I don’t think there’s a person in America that right now wouldn’t equate Farrakhan with anti-Semitic bigotry, homophobic bigotry, misogynistic bigotry,” Rez said.
“So just the fact that she’s still willing to associate and praise somebody like that, that tells us that she is greenlighting it and we have to throw a question back at her. Are you endorsing his hatred?” Rez said.
Rez added that Bowser “needs to be meeting with the appropriate Jewish advocacy groups to discuss if people like Barry should be in her cabinet and if Bowser should be surrounding herself with people like that.”
During the event with Farrakhan, Cora Masters Barry lavished praise on Farrakhan multiple times, calling him a “friend” and “member of the family” while also telling him “I love you more than words will ever say.”
“Minister Farrakhan, we love you more than you love us. You just don’t know it,” she added.
Farrakhan also praised Barry, saying, “Praise God for this woman” and added that she was a “real treasure.”
Rez also said Farrakhan views Jews as “insects,” has attacked Jewish houses of worship as “synagogues of Satan,” and that the Nation of Islam leader has blamed Jews for “pornography” and “pedophilia.”
“I mean, if somebody is having a bad hair day, according to him, it’s the Jews’ fault,” Rez said.
Alan Ronkin, the regional director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Washington, D.C., also called on White to disassociate with Farrakhan in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying that for “decades, Louis Farrakhan has used antisemitic tropes blaming Jews for the world’s problems.”
“These messages should be condemned by every community leader, including Councilmember White,” Ronkin said. “No matter what the Nation of Islam’s role in the community, it is unacceptable to denigrate one group in the name of empowering another.”
“Rhetoric has impact and influence. Spreading antisemitism, such as referring to Jews as bloodsuckers and termites, divides our communities and alienates historic allies in the struggle for freedom and justice for all Americans,” he continued.
“We call on Councilmember White to affirm his rejection of this ancient hatred. Every elected official should learn more about the history of antisemitism and how it has decimated the Jewish people over the centuries,” Ronkin added.
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Fox News Digital reached out to all 13 DC councilmembers for comment, but 12 of them, including White, did not respond and Councilmember Nadeau’s office declined to comment.
White, who was unsuccessful in his bid for mayor in August, flipped the camera into “selfie” mode while recording Farrakhan speak, showing his face and other attendees at the private ceremony. Farrakhan recently tweeted a video of himself speaking at the event, which briefly shows White stand up in the first 10 seconds of the video when Farrakhan starts speaking while recording the Nation of Islam leader’s remarks.
Outside of praising a noted antisemite, White has his own history of making unsavory comments about the Jews and questionable decisions when engaging with the Jewish community.
Most notably, White came under fire in 2018 after he suggested in a video that the Rothschilds, a wealthy Jewish banking family, could influence the weather, promulgating the anti-Semitic conspiracy that Jews control the weather.
“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man,” White said. “Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation.”
“And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man,” he added.
A month after, White again found himself embroiled in controversy after he left a tour of the D.C. Holocaust Museum early and was found waiting outside as his staff finished the tour.
White previously claimed he did not leave the Holocaust Museum early and told Fox 5 to check with Rabbi Batya to confirm his story, but the Jewish Community Relations Council, where she worked at the time, stood by their statement about him leaving early. After White left the tour, one of his aides reportedly asked if the Warsaw Ghetto was like “a gated community” — and said the Holocaust was “a lot of synergy” between the Jewish and African communities.
“I’ll be coming back to see more of the museum. I didn’t get a chance to see the whole thing,” White said in 2018. “But I think it’s a lot of education here, a lot of synergy here between what happened to the Jewish community and the African community.”
“This opportunity has given me the chance to meet a lot of great Jews, a lot of people. A lot of good Jews that I’ve never had the chance to meet before,” he later added.
White also received scrutiny in April 2018 after it was reported that he made a $500 donation to the Nation of Islam’s Saviour’s Day weekend event, where Farrakhan said, “Powerful Jews are my enemy.” The donation was reportedly from his constituent services account and was later reimbursed by White.
Additionally, the embattled council member called a meeting between him, Ronkin, Rabbi Batya Glazer of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, former Bowser administration appointee Joshua Lopez, and fellow Councilmember Elissa Silverman to make amends after a “unity rally” in support of White went horrendously wrong.
The “unity rally” organized by Lopez saw the uninvited Nation of Islam representative Abdul Khadir Muhammad grab the megaphone and attack Silverman, who is Jewish, as well as others he referred to as “fake Jews.”
During the anti-Semitic rant not stopped by Lopez, Muhammad also spoke in support of Farrakhan and his “people.” Muhammad later referred to Jews as “termites” in off-mic comments.
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The Washington Post reported in 2018 that White said he was not aware of the donation, but the treasurer told the Post that White instructed him to make the donation.
Bowser’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. Barry also did not respond.