The leader of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the “largest organized anti-Semitic black militant group in America,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, led what a Jewish attendee called a “hate rally” last week at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“It was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced,” said Noa Zilbering, 25, a Jewish faculty member, of the Feb. 17 speech by Malik Shabazz. “It was a hate rally; he was supposed to talk about [black empowerment in] education.”
Zilbering said there were about a half-dozen Jews in the audience of 150 and that Shabazz, who has led the Washington-based New Black Panthers since 2001, asked the Jews to identify themselves. Shabazz, an attorney, then asked who among them believed in Jesus. When none of the Jews raised their hands, he replied: “See, how can we accept you?”
Elena Averbakh, 20, a junior and the school’s Hillel president, said her organization has asked Spirit, the black student group that invited Shabazz, to apologize because the speech “created so much division and anger.” But Averbakh said the group refused, saying it could not apologize for someone else’s views.
Joe Trotter, the history department chairman and director of the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy, said he had promised to have CAUSE pay $300 toward the Shabazz appearance before he knew who he was and before the Student Senate turned down Spirit’s request for funds to pay him.
“I don’t support anti-Semitism and hatred and groups that foment this kind of dissension,” he said.