Blacks Repudiate Belafonte
For Release: January 13, 2006
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11
With former singing star Harry Belafonte's anti-American rhetoric apparently increasing in fervor, members of the black leadership network Project 21 call upon prominent Americans - especially those who find themselves sharing a stage with Belafonte - to disavow his anti-American radicalism and his practice of harshly attacking the character of those who disagree with his policy views.
During a recent visit with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Belafonte and praised the anti-American, anti-human rights Chavez regime, saying, "No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution." He also said of Chavez, "We respect you, we admire you."
On January 4, the Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly condemned what it termed "anti-Semitic" statements by Chavez, who said in a televised Christmas Eve speech "the world has wealth for all, but some minorities, the descendants of the same people that crucified Christ, have taken over all the wealth of the world."
Belafonte's public praise of Chavez came on January 7.
Belafonte has in the past been criticized for referring to Bush Administration officials Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as "house slaves."
Despite his apparent disdain for America, Belafonte was in New York City on January 12, along with actress Marlo Thomas and Senator Hillary Clinton, to participate in a fundraising luncheon at the luxurious Rainbow Room for the Children's Defense Fund.
"It's tough to believe that a U.S. senator would show up at an event featuring someone as inflammatory as Harry Belafonte," said Project 21 member Ak'Bar Shabazz. "After calling our President a tyrant and a terrorist, one would assume that Senator Clinton would have the decency to show her disdain for such radicalism by repudiating him or simply refusing to appear in the same forum as him."
In 2002, Shabazz criticized Belafonte's attack on then-secretary of State Powell: "It is disappointing to see Mr. Belafonte attack a man like Colin Powell. Secretary Powell has dedicated years of his life to the service of this country. He also serves as a much-needed role model for the community in an age where men of his integrity have become rare."
Senator Clinton was the keynote speaker at the event. According to the New York Daily News, Senator Clinton kept her distance from Belafonte at the event and refused to address his radical remarks when pressed by reporters.
At a Congressional Black Caucus event in September 2005, after Belafonte claimed the Bush White House's foreign policy "has made a wreck of this planet" and said "I see American policy written on the walls of oppression everywhere," Senator Clinton took the stage and said "What Harry said is so important."
"At a time when Judge Samuel Alito is being taken to task for the actions of a group he slightly was affiliated with decades ago, I think it is only fair to ask Hillary Clinton to explain her praise for the radical Harry Belafonte less than six months ago," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "Harry Belafonte has proven to be a hypocrite in his criticism of American foreign policy while the socialist policies and leaders he has embraced have led to countless deaths in Africa and Third World countries."
Project 21 member Deneen Moore added: "It is one thing to dispute the views of the President, but it is really sad that people like Harry Belafonte continue to feel the need to attack the character of individuals who do not share their mindset. Any comparison of President Bush to a terrorist only gives aid, comfort and motivation to the real terrorists who maim and kill in pursuit of their own radical agendas."
For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at http://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.
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