Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addresses the audience at the metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in in Washington June 24, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Louis Farrakhan, the 84-year-old leader of the black separatist movement, the Nation of Islam, has certainly lost a lot of the relevance he once possessed in the 1980s. But he hasn’t dropped any of the antisemitic tropes for which he became famous.
It has become customary to expect rabid comments during Farrakhan’s peroration at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day event and this year’s – which took place last weekend – was no different.
He reiterated his term “Synagogue of Satan”; he claimed that Mexican Jews are running Mexico; he said Ukraine, France, Poland and Germany are also under the sway of the Jews; he approvingly cited Rev. Billy Graham and US president Richard Nixon attacking Jews’ “grip on the media” and Hollywood and “how the Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”
“When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door,” Farrakhan said to applause and shouts of encouragement from the crowd. He went on to compare himself to Jesus, claiming that just as Jesus’s disciples were forced under pressure to denounce their teacher, so too were people like Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison who are connected to himself.
He even joked to the participants that if they have Jewish bosses, they should hide the fact that they participated in the Saviours’ Day event when they go back to work.
Farrakhan was anticipating the attacks that would be launched on those who dared to take part in the Nation of Islam event. And he was right. These attacks did not take long to come.
Sunday’s story in The Jerusalem Post noted, for instance, noted that Tamika Mallory, the co-president of the Women’s March movement, attended the rally along with other high-profile Women’s March movement leaders such as Linda Sarsour, who refused to condemn Farrakhan’s antisemitic speech.
During a panel at New York City’s New School in November, Sarsour defended Farrakhan by saying, “If what you’re reading all day long, morning and night, in the Jewish media is that Linda Sarsour and Minister Farrakhan are the existential threat to the Jewish community, something really bad’s going to happen and we’re going to miss the mark on it.”
We believe it is perfectly legitimate for Jewish organizations to call out so-called human rights activists for their hypocrisy. On one hand they claim to be fighting discrimination based on one’s race, gender ethnicity or other aspects of a person’s identity that are not chosen, yet at the same time they are willing to associate with crude antisemites like Farrakhan.
Farrakhan and his fellow travelers resolve the contradiction by claiming, for instance, that given the long history of racial oppression in the US and the Jews’ purported role in that oppression, attacking Jews and Jewish power is a completely legitimate as a form of affirmative action. But similar verbal attacks on blacks, Hispanics or members of the gay community are seen as racist or bigoted because these communities have been victims of oppression.
This point was illustrated when Mysonne, a rapper from the Bronx and left-leaning activist, attempted to defend the Women’s March movement’s Mallory. Yet, as the National Review’s Mairead Mcardle pointed out, Mysonne himself has in the past accused the Jews of oppressing black people, saying in a Twitter post that “Farakahn [sic] has a view of Jews based on the pain and harm that he can prove they’ve inflicted on blacks for hundreds of years!” “To disagree with farakhan [sic] is understandable,” he posted, “but to act as if the violence, pain, control and destruction that people he has evidence that are in fact Jewish have imposed on Blacks is not realistic.”
The twisted logic goes something like this: All Jews are fair game for being derided and lambasted because some Jews might have oppressed black people.
As long as movements such as the Women’s March don’t condemn the likes of Farrakhan and say any antisemitism is unacceptable, they should be kept out of the tent of peace-loving, conflict resolution-seeking organizations.
Their backhanded endorsement of Farrakhan’s views speaks volumes.