Last month, Louis Farrakhan, the “National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam,” sent a three-page letter to the leaders of 16 major Jewish organizations demanding reparations for alleged crimes Jews have perpetrated against African Americans.
Along with the letter, Farrakhan sent two books, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” and “Jews Selling Blacks: Slave Trade by American Jews,” written by unidentified members of the Nation of Islam’s Historical Research Team. Elijah Muhammad’s National Representative claims that the books contain evidence of Jewish crimes against the black community.
“We can now present to our people and the world a true, undeniable record of the relationship between Blacks and Jews from their own mouths and pens,” the letter reads. “These scholars, Rabbis and historians have given to us an undeniable record of Jewish anti-Black behavior, starting with the horror of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping, the labor movement of the North and South, the unions and the misuse of our people that continues to this very moment.”
The written diatribe continues with the Farrakhan proclaiming, “We could charge you [Jews] with being the most deceitful so-called friend, while your history with us shows you have been our worst enemy.”
Farrakhan graciously, however, provides Jewish leaders with a means for redemption: “This is an offer asking you and the gentiles whom you influence to help me in the repair of my people from the damage that has been done by your ancestors to mine. This is a wonderful way of the present generation of Jews to escape the Judgment of Allah (God) by aiding in the repair of His people.”
Of course, if they fail to bend to his wishes, Farrakhan “respectfully warns,” “in the Name of Allah (God) and His Messiah, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, that the more you fight and oppose me rather than help me to lift my people from their degraded state, Allah (God) and His Messiah will bring you and your people to disgrace and ruin and destroy your power and influence here and throughout the world.”
Despite Farrakhan’s offered path to redemption, Jewish leaders didn’t take the letter well.
“This is an ugly and despicable document,” Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and one of the recipients of Farrakhan’s letter, told The Daily Caller. “The most frightening aspect of the letter was the threat of ruin and destruction if we do not comply with his demands, which is why we, at the ZOA, have sent a letter to President Obama urging him to speak out against it…The President has spoken about healing divisions between Jews and the Black community, this is a great opportunity for him to do so.”
Klein continued, “I am very concerned about the possibility of violence from this,” he said. “Every week outside our office there are several of Farrakhan’s men in bow ties passing out ‘The Final Call.’ They listen to everything he says. You know, it only takes one to act on his threat and that is quite concerning.”
“Dialogue does not begin with bigoted accusations,” said Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and another letter recipient, in a public statement. “Farrakhan’s call for dialogue with Jews is so outrageous and disingenuous that you can’t believe anyone would take him seriously. And yet he continues to fill convention centers with those eager to bear witness to his bigotry, and to believe that he holds the truth. One wonders why there aren’t more voices in the African-American community willing to stand up and reject his hatred, his anti-Semitism. When will good people in the community be courageous enough to stand up and say, ‘enough already?'”
“This is nothing new for Farrakhan,” Ken Stern, director of American Jewish Council’s Department of Anti-Semitism and Extremism, told The Daily Caller. “Anti-Semitism is at the center of his movement and ideology. Back in the 90’s he was doing the same thing, calling for peaceful dialogue but engaging in some of the most violent anti-Semitic language you’ve heard.”
Stern continued by noting that the books Farrakhan included in his package are just modern versions of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the infamous anti-Semitic tsarist forgery that claimed Jews were plotting to control the world.
“Like the Protocols blames all the ill in the world on Jewish conspiracy, Farrakhan is just trying to recast the Jews as being responsible for the plight of blacks,” he said.
The leaders targeted in Farrakhan’s letter were:
Abraham Foxman, President, Anti-Defamation League
Alan Solow, Chairman, American Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
William Hess, President, American Zionist Movement
Bob Elman, President, American Jewish Committee
Dennis W. Click, President, B’nai B’rith International
Richard S. Gordon, President, American Jewish Congress
Rabbi Moshe Kletenik, President, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Jerry Silverman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of North America
Stephen J. Savitsky, President, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
Martin Schwartz, Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee
Lee Rosenberg, President, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Wayne Firestone, President, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
Herb Rosenbleeth, National Executive Director, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Morton Klein, President, Zionist Organization of America
Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director, J Street