core facts of Earl Hilliard's defeat by Arthur Davis are clear. Davis,
a 34 year-old Harvard Law School graduate, formerly a federal prosecutor,
first ran against 60 year-old Hilliard, a product of Howard Law School,
in 2000. Davis lost by 24 percentage points.
year, Davis vastly outspent Hilliard; the last figures posted by the
Federal Elections Commission show Davis' cash expenditures at $879,368,
Hilliard $550,808. Unable to garner a majority in a three-way, June
4 Democratic primary contest, Hilliard lost the June 25 runoff, 56%
victory is tantamount to election in the 62% Black district, where he
faces only a Libertarian candidate in November.
battle in Alabama's Black Belt received extensive media coverage, including
among the Israeli press. Pro-Israel groups, most notably the American
Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), loudly proclaimed their
intention to make an example of Hilliard because of his failure to side
with what is known in Washington as the "Israel Lobby." AIPAC
and Republican and Christian Right organizations have vowed to similarly
target Black Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who faces an African American
challenger in Georgia's August 20 Democratic primaries.
Black Commentator interviewed Congressman Hilliard on July 16. He began
by describing the political operatives who descended on his largely
I just found out this past week, that there were people
who were sent to Alabama that were on the payroll of corporations who
were doing all the necessary ground work and preparations and
they put the money in, the money came like, WOW! It came almost at one
time, over a period of about 30 days. Sometime between the report that
we got, which I believe was the report of the last of April, and the
election, which was June 4, they raised about $700,000 - $800,000.
between May 1 and June 20, he raised $1,098,000. This is pure cash,
reportable cash. Even now, he still has money coming in.
it doesn't show the total amount, because there is no way you can calculate
the servicesthat he got. But I estimate that he got $2,000,000 worth
of press, or more, from the Jewish press as well as the Republican press.
no question that it was well planned and, to be honest with you, well
Did the contributions to your opponent take you
yeah, it really did. This is the same guy that I ran against two years
ago, and we were on, basically, equal footing. I had no real money and
he had no real money. He said the same thing about me then, and I said
basically the same thing about him.
So nothing had changed, except the money?
money. And when he came with money, he came with negative ads. The ads
were basically about my Middle East stands. I had voted not to send
people to prison for life without parole, and he twisted that to say
that I voted to let pedophiles out of jail.
Who are these corporations?
just corporations, but organizations like AIPAC [American Israel Political
Affairs Committee]. Mostly Republican operatives and Jewish operatives
that were sent by different organizations and groups and corporations.
None of this is in writing anywhere that I have been able to pick up.
But I've talked to people who met these people, who talked to them,
who dealt with them.
only thing I know for sure, that I saw in black and white, is $1,098,000
that [Davis] reported. You can't take money from corporations, so that
came from Jews and Republicans. There's no question where that money
came from. Admittedly, it came from Jews and Republicans.
pro-Israel contributors made no secret of their support for your opponent.
Was it their intention to make a public display of wealth?
definitely - the seed of fear. It sends a message to every member of
What is the message?
for Israel or face possible defeat.
me tell you when I first realized I had a problem. Several people called
me and told me that my opponent was on national TV, MSNBC, CNN, and
to turn to CNN and I could pick it up every hour. I said, No, man, that
guy doesn't have that kind of money. So I turned to CNN. AIPAC was introducing
him. They had had a fundraiser last night for him in Washington, he
was on his way to New York for a fundraiser. Within two or three days
the paper reported that, at the fundraiser in New York, there were about
300 people there, he raised $272,000. When I got that news, I had about
immediately, the next ads started, and they didn't stop. They increased
didn't have the money, so I just bought radio time. But what I did anticipate...
I had done a poll,
I was 24 points ahead [the same percentage as his 2000 victory over
Davis] , so I figured I could ride the storm out. There was a third
guy in the race. He was polling about 2 or 3 percent. He went to 11
percent. What the people tell me was, the ads got so negative against
me, they didn't want to vote for [Davis] and they didn't want to vote
for me, so they voted for that third guy, who ended up getting about
11,000 votes, which translated to about 11 percent.
was rough. The ads never stopped. They were well prepared. I have to
give it to them.
was referring to the June 4 primary election, in which Hilliard got
46% to Davis' 43%, causing the runoff.
Arab Money, and McKinney's
BC pointed out that McKinney's contributors
are as heavily Arab as Davis' are Jewish.
received money from organizations of individuals, political action committees.
That means, a
group of teachers, unions, machinists, iron workers, cafeteria workers.
That's where most of my money came from. Up until May 1, when Davis
was on CNN with AIPAC, that sent a call out to almost every Arab or
Middle East person in America. I started receiving calls, letters and
money from people. They didn't even know of my record. They knew that
I had been targeted.
didn't know Arabs and Muslims, no more than, you know, the Black Muslims,
and they're community. You can go back in my records from when I started
in Congress ten years ago. I had no Arab support, no meaningful Arab
support, if any, up until May of this year. I don't know why they came,
but I think they came because Jews were against me.
in Cynthia's case, my understanding is that they've been against Cynthia
for some time. So she started receiving money from these Arab groups
two or three election cycles ago. That's the reason why she is heavily
Arab in terms of contributions. I've just started getting Arab money.
In fact, I think my PACs are still predominantly union.
now, everybody is worried, because when you can come and take out a
ten year veteran, with a 100% NAACP voting record for five - ten years,
a 100% union voting record for five or six years, you become a threat
to the African American community, you become a threat to labor. So,
you are going to see the unions surrounding Cynthia McKinney, you are
going to see African American organizations around Cynthia McKinney,
and old-line African American leaders who are not afraid of the Jewish
interests will come to her aid. They're coming.
When did you realize that you needed to call on some allies?
didn't call on any allies. All of a sudden, the Arabs came to me and
said, 'You need us. You need some help.' And, my colleagues came to
me. They knew before I did. Just before the election [June 4] we had
Memorial Break. And that's when the news coverage really started. Remember,
the Jewish media. They started putting word out, they wanted everybody
to know, because... obviously they felt that the money they had, that
they put in, that they were going to beat me. And they felt that, at
least, there was going to be a runoff.
me tell you, they put their money behind their convictions.
What would you have done if you had gotten a 'heads
there's no question, I would have raised money. The only thing I needed
at that point was
money, man, just to fight off the negative ads. Just to come back on
TV and say, all these are lies and made up circumstances. I never did
get the money to do a real, balanced counterattack. If I had to do it
all over again, I just would have raised money.
told all my good friends, members of the Black Caucus, the only way
you're going to deter this is, they need to have $700,000 or $800,000
ready to go at the beginning of their campaigns. And we need mechanisms
so that we can instantly raise money when one of us gets in trouble
with a special interest group targeting us.
got to start thinking. We've got to create some institutes to get our
views out. We've got to create some centers of excellence so that we
can research and put statistics together so that we can show what's
happening with the money that flows from the United States... to Israel.
got to put together some political action committees so that when someone
who has a voting record that the NAACP has given an "A" to
for the last five years is in trouble, because of another special interest
group which has interests counterproductive to ours, that Black people
will be able to financially react and protect that brother or sister,
instantly. That's the challenge for me and for others, to make sure
that what has happened doesn't continue to happen.
Is a million dollars for such an emergency fund
a lot of money?
million dollars is a lot of money when you don't have it. It's not a
lot of money for African Americans to have sitting around waiting for
these types of situations. There is no question that we have to set
up and forge foundations, institutes, political action committees, to
protect our interests. If we continue to have these revolutions, we
will look around and all the battles we've won will have been for naught.
Because we are losing what we gained.
not talking in terms of individuals. I'm talking about all the other
things we won: affirmative action, school desegregation, preferences,
set-asides, there are so many things we won. Now, they are taking away
these rights. Why vote if it's not going to be counted?
got rid of affirmative action and set-asides in Texas, and we ended
up with one Black person in law school. We are losing all these things....
If we don't set up protective-type organization... we are going to lose
it again. And we will always be at the bottom of the heap.
Have any Jewish individuals or Jewish groups come to you, at all, and
said that they found this kind of conduct deplorable and destructive?
for Peace. They came to me this morning. This is an organization that
for the last ten years has been getting Jewish kids and Arab kids in
camps, so that they could help with the peace process. Individuals have
come to me. Another Jewish group wrote an article in the paper, recently
- Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel.
But, have you heard from any 'mainline' Jewish
you mean, Have any of my adversaries come to say, We did it to you?
Jewish organization wrote me and said that I ought to stop whimpering
because, after all, they didn't replace me with a white [laughter].
They know that they couldn't get away with that. That's going too far.
But does it make a difference, if the guy's from Harvard, went to predominantly
white schools, like my opponent, replacing someone from South Side High
School, Booker T. Washington High School, Alabama State undergrad school
and Howard Law School....
on "class warfare"
is class warfare in the Black community. In Birmingham and Tuscaloosa,
in the areas of Birmingham where what we call the New Blacks live, those
that work for corporate Alabama, those that live in subdivisions that
are predominantly Black, Davis won just like he did in the white areas.
These are things we have to look at. We need scholars to come in and
interpret these things.
don't even understand what is happening to us because we let other people,
other scholars, interpret our presence. We have people who work in corporate
environments who are afraid to associate with their natural brothers
and sisters, because of what church they attend, what school they attend,
and the neighborhood they live in. We have kids who won't introduce
their mothers or their brothers and sisters to their coworkers, because
they know their mothers, their brothers or their sisters may crack a
verb, or don't have the educational level that they enjoy.
You refer to a "natural progression"
in Black politics that has been interrupted.
because it was natural - Blacks building on what the previous generation
had added to the foundation. And everything that the succeeding generation
did reflected back to the dreams and aspirations of the elders.
was an intervention, which has created an unnatural progression. In
our society it has been, basically, other groups - and, mainly, Jews.
So when you look at the natural progression from Martin Luther King,
you would think that you would get to [Kweisi] Mfume, but we've been
sidestepped. We've had a Clarence Thomas. We have a Colin Powell. We
have Cynthia Tucker [Editorial Board, Atlanta Journal-Constitution].
We have all these other people whose ideals and views don't sit on the
foundation. It's not building for the masses, or building for the race.
It's building for self.
when you have these people who have gone to predominantly white elementary
and high schools, and have graduated from predominantly eastern universities,
they have not had the experience with the Black community that the elders
had. They are black in skin tone but, philosophically, they are not.
So, whites understand them better than we do.
don't go to Howard, or Morehouse, or Alabama State to get people to
run against the Mayor of Newark, or Andy Young, or Craig Washington.
They go and get those from the eastern schools who have a white-oriented
philosophy. Or, who have been educated to compete on an individual level.
So that, when the tally is in, they think: I did it. I made it through
Harvard and Yale and Princeton on my own. I'll make it in life on my
own. I don't need the tribe, I don't need the group, I don't the race.
So you have a Condoleezza Rice: I made it because I'm smart, and because
of myself. I didn't need affirmative action, I don't believe in it.
If I can make it, everybody else can make it.
we've got to clear the field, and get back to the natural progression.
The field is very muddy now. Many African Americans are saying, Well,
the civil rights era is over. You can make it on your own even if you're
Black, if you do what you're supposed to do.
Opponent and Seniority
me say this. I'm a foot soldier. I was a foot soldier in the civil rights
movement. I was one of those who marched behind Dr. King. I've been
winning battles and losing battles all my life. There will be others
that I will lose, there will be others that I will win. But it's interesting
to see how the battlefield changes. There are young African Americans
who don't even realize how they are being used. The sad part about it
is, they are generally the most educated in the African American community.
They think that these people are coming to them and supporting them,
because of how great they are, how wonderful they are. They have no
understanding of what it means to get rid of someone with seniority.
60 years old, almost twice the age of my opponent. Philosophically and
politically, we are going to see things differently. He comes in having
committed to support Israel. We give, all told, probably 10 to 12 billion
dollars to the aid of Israel, every year - about 3 billion directly,
another four or five billion militarily, either to them in arms, or
in the case of Egypt and Syria and other places, we give them billions
of dollars to be friendly with Israel. So it's translated to about ten
to twelve billion dollars. Where does this money come from? From taxpayers,
from our district, the poorest of the poor districts.
[Davis] is going to vote for the support of Israel blindly, he's going
to vote to take money out of poor areas in poor districts to benefit
remember hearing my opponent say that the only difference between how
he is going to vote and the way I voted, is the way I voted on Middle
East issues. To hear him say that let's you know that he has made a
pact with the Israelis. And if he really believes that, then he really
doesn't understand that he was used. Even during slavery we had those
who were used to keep the other slaves in line. So, he doesn't know
that his victory sent a message to other Blacks of my era that they
better be careful what they say or how they deal with the Israeli or
explains his distrust of Blacks who come out of the Ivy League.
[Davis] ran against me two years ago, we [Hilliard and some Congressional
Black Caucus colleagues] were talking one day and started comparing
notes. And we found out that Representative Ed Towns [Rep-NY] had a
guy who had been to Harvard Law School, who had worked in the DA's office,
who was running against him. We found out that Bobby Rush [Rep-IL] had
a guy who had attended Harvard Law School, who had worked in the DA's
office, who was running against him. And a guy who had attended Harvard
Law School, who had just finished working in a DA's office, was running
against me. You ask if there is a conspiracy. Yes and no. White folks
know what Blacks they can use to turn against other Blacks. That is
the reason why the person that replaced Gus Savage [former Rep-IL] was
from Yale, the person that replaced me was from Harvard, the person
that replaced Craig Washington [former Rep-TX] was from Yale, the person
they are trying to replace Cynthia McKinney with is from Princeton,
the persons that they tried with Ed Towns and Bobby Rush were Harvard.
Note: Denise Majette, Cynthia McKinney's opponent, is a graduate of
Yale, 1976, and Duke University School of Law, 1979. Rep. McKinney graduated
University of Southern California, 1978. Craig Washington was defeated
by Sheila Jackson-Lee in 1994. She is a 1972 Yale graduate, University
of Virginia law degree.]
people are different, philosophically, from other people in the Black
community. They are Black enough to get support from the Black community,
but they are philosophically "right" enough - and I mean,
to the Right - to get the support of the white community. So, that makes
them just right. And they are being sought after by these groups that
wish to create a new order.
me say this: I'm not crying because of the election. I accept the results.
I've been in 18 races and I've lost only one, so 17 and 1 ain't bad.
I am more concerned at this point about Cynthia McKinney, about Jesse
Jackson, Jr. [Rep-IL], about Donald Payne [Rep-NJ]. They're angry with
Donald because he helped the Mayor [Newark's Sharpe James] against the
guy who they put up against him.
mad at Stephanie Tubbs-Jones [Rep-OH] because she helped collect money
for me and is doing it for Cynthia.
Andrew Young targeted, and Colin Powell
remember when they got rid of [former US Ambassador to the United Nations]
Andy Young. They put so much pressure on Jimmy Carter, he asked Andy
Young to leave, to keep from firing him. And that's because Young wanted
to talk to the Palestinians. How can you solve a problem without talking
to both sides? They got rid of Andy Young. And if Bush had not been
strong when Powell called for a Palestinian state and they rose up against
him, Colin Powell would have been gone. But Bush stood with him. Bush
called for it and, I guess they didn't want to attack the President
of the United States.
Could you give us a summation of your
don't want anybody to control elections in African American communities
except African Americans.
is a group out there that wants to dominate us. They want us to do what
they want us to do... and to Hell with our agenda if there is a conflict.
I just want to help build brother's and sisters' organizations that
can protect us so that we can carry out our agenda.
am not an advocate of the Arab position nor the Muslim position. I am
an advocate of the African American and American position. I am not
against Jews or people from Israel. I am for Americans and for America,
and for African Americans, and for protecting American interests.
will be times when I will vote for or against the interests of Arabs
and Jews. I hope they will all understand that. I am a free man.
What kind of reception are you getting from your
runs the gamut. Some people think it's something I did. And, in a sense,
it is, because I not only voted my convictions, I lived them. I'd do
it all over again. I don't think I'd change any votes I had. The only
thing I would have done is built a stronger fort around me, to have
more money to fight off what I never really took to be a real threat.
Are you planning to run for Congress, again?
not, but I don't know. There are so many things that we have to do to
build a strong African American foundation. I came out of the movement,
and I don't like what I see in this new generation.
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