Jewish World Review May 7, 2002 / 25 Iyar, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | We're past irony when Al Sharpton appears on the Fox News Channel to talk about the Middle East. But if he seems like an unseemly guest, think again.
Asked Sunday by Rita Crosby why Christian leaders had not protested there the Palestinians' use of the Church of the Nativity, Sharpton replied that we've seen a transition "in what people are willing to tolerate."
Sharpton would know about what people will tolerate from terrorists. It wasn't so long ago he incited riot and arson, the burning of Freddy's under the pretext that it was owned by something even worse than a "white interloper" doing business in Harlem, namely a Jew.
After the Tawana Brawley hoax and the torching of Freddy's, Sharpton has, with great media savvy and disarming personal charm, legitimized himself as a black "leader." By refusing to consider Sharpton legitimate, Mark Green lost his chance to be the mayor. And Sharpton is becoming a national figure because Jesse Jackson has delegitimized himself by his recent (sex and money) scandals.
Cosby was trying ably to get Sharpton to explain why he - Reverend Al - wasn't protesting the desecration of the church by terrorists. But Sharpton knows how to scramble an interviewer, how to steal the interviewer's legitimacy and prerogative to question. Watching Sharpton wiggle is a lesson in creating wiggle room within an untenable position.
As Yasser Arafat, the inventor of modern terrorism, steps up to yet another bargaining table, remember Sharpton's insight: there's been a transition in what people will
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