Al Sharpton spoke at an event for Reform Jews and acknowledged how his “cheap” rhetoric stoked divisions with the Jewish community, publicly acknowledging his role for the incendiary rhetoric that helped fuel the deadly Crown Heights riots in 1991, which led to the death of Yankel Rosenbaum hy”d.
Without mentioning the Crown Heights riots specifically, Sharpton said he could have “done more to heal rather than harm.” And he said that all the public criticism he received paled next to the rebuke from Coretta Scott King, who was known for her closeness to the Jewish community. It appears to be the first time Sharpton has publicly shared the tale.
“One of the things she said to me, she said, ‘Al, the purpose of our movement has never been to just get civil rights for us, it’s to protect and stand for civil and human rights for everyone,’” he recalled.
Not everyone was happy about Sharpton being invited to speak a Jewish event. Rosenbaum’s brother, Norman, wrote in a Washington Examiner op-ed that inviting Sharpton “sends a very dangerous and intolerable message to the antisemites among us.”