Long-time anti-Muslim figurehead David Horowitz recently stoked controversy on social media after offering a revisionist take of lynching in America and downplaying the horrors that African Americans have suffered in this country.
Horowitz, founder and president of the hate group David Horowitz Freedom Center, took to social media on April 8 to criticize a project of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), “Lynching in America,” that has documented over 4,000 cases of African Americans being lynched in the country between 1877 and 1950. The project showcases how after the Civil War, lynching was used as a way to reinforce white supremacy while terrorizing and intimidating black communities. Horowitz offered his own racist revisionist account of lynching in the country, calling EJI’s work the “real racist project.”
“A third of the victims of lynchings were white. How many of them do you think this memorial features…” he tweeted.
Unsurprisingly, Horowitz’s comments sparked outrage over the next couple days and he soon began picking fights with other Twitter users. Some accused him of justifying the lynching of black Americans, which was often the result of mob rule with no due process.
“Who justified a lynching,” Horowitz fired back. “I'm merely exposing the anti-white racism of the lynching project. Lynchings were bad but they weren't mainly about whites yanking blacks off the streets and stringing them up.”
But as mentioned in EJI’s report, “Charges of rape, while common, were ‘routinely fabricated’ and often extrapolated from minor violations of the social code, such as ‘paying a compliment’ to a white woman, expressing romantic interest in a white woman, or cohabitating interracially.”
Horowitz’s tweets attracted the attention of Nikole Hannah-Jones, a civil rights investigative reporter with The New York Times Magazine.
“David Horowitz’s assertion is demonstrably false,” Hannah-Jones tweeted. “Also, *every single* [sic] accusation of rape, even with confession, must be met with the highest level of skepticism because we know who made the claims, who investigated the claims and who wrote the stories about the claims.”
She added: “But also, this is the amazing thing about white supremacists and white supremacy. Everything can be bent to their will.”
Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and other racist sentiment is regularly published by Horowitz’s many projects. Regardless of this, public officials still attend large scale and lavish events organized by the Horowitz Freedom Center. In 2014, then-Senator Jeff Sessions accepted an award from Horowitz at his Restoration Weekend. During his confirmation hearing for attorney general in 2017, when questioned about the award, Sessions defended the far-right demagogue, saying, “I don’t believe David Horowitz is a racist or a person that would treat anyone improperly, at least to my knowledge.”
Horowitz’s latest social media rantings fits right in with other incendiary and racially charged work he produced over the years. In a 1999 article published on Salon titled “Guns Don’t Kill Black People, Other Blacks Do,” Horowitz wrote, “Unfortunately, as a nation we have become so trapped in the melodrama of black victimization and white oppression that we are in danger of losing all sense of proportion. If blacks are oppressed in America, why isn't there a black exodus?”
He has previously lamented using the phrase “people of color,” claiming it is “an ideological term to demonize white people.” Horowitz has also said the “real” racism in America today is “black racism” and “certainly not [from] white people.”
Horowitz has been a longtime opponent of paying any kind of reparations for slavery. “If not for the sacrifices of white soldiers and a white American president who gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves,” Horowitz wrotein 2001. “Where is the gratitude of black America and its leaders for those gifts?”
On April 26, a new monument and national museum dedicated to those who suffered, continue to suffer, and have died as a result of lynching and other racist policies in America, will open in Montgomery, Alabama.
Hannah-Jones cited Horowitz’s rhetoric to underscore the importance of this monument. “And this is why [EJI’s] lynching museum is so very critical,” she tweeted. “By erasing the particular racial violence and terror black people experienced AFTER slavery, white Americans can claim innocence about why black people still uniquely suffer in this country.”