Former President Bill Clinton came under criticism Sunday for sharing the stage with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in the front row at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Mr. Clinton should have refused to take the stage rather than share a row with Mr. Farrakhan. The two were separated by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
“I know there was a relationship 30 years earlier between Louis Farrakhan and Aretha Franklin,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends.” “I don’t know if that relationship continued, or whether the family invited him, but I think any president should have said, ‘No. If you want me on the stage, you can’t have a bigot like Farrakhan sitting next to me.’”
Mr. Farrakhan, who has been photographed with then-Sen. Barack Obama and met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, said earlier this year at his organization’s Saviours’ Day event that “powerful Jews are my enemy” and “white folks are going down.”
“You just can’t mainstream and allow legitimacy to a man who has expressed the kind of hateful views he’s expressed of Jews, of white people, of gays,” said Mr. Dershowitz.
Most of the criticism came from the right. TurningPoint USA’s Charlie Kirk called the appearance “a disgrace,” while Los Angeles radio talk-show host Larry Elder criticized the lack of media coverage.
Meanwhile, ABC and MSNBC came under fire for cropping Mr. Farrakhan out of photos posted on Twitter.
Mr. Dershowitz said sitting next to Mr. Farrakhan, known for his anti-Semitic statements, would be akin to sitting next to a white supremacist like David Duke.
“Would you sit next to David Duke if he had been invited to a funeral of some white singer somewhere in the United States?” Mr. Dershowitz said. “Of course the answer would be no, and Farrakhan is very bit as bad as Duke. In fact he has a larger following.”
Mr. Dershowitz pointed out that Mr. Farrakhan has criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a “wicked woman” and compared her to Hitler.
“Bigotry should know no toleration at all,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “I’m hoping to hear a good explanation from President Clinton. President Clinton’s a good man. I can’t imagine him being happy sitting next to a man who’s called his wife a wicked woman and compared her to Hitler.”