THE NATIONAL HOUSE—The meeting began with prayers—one in Hebrew, another in Arabic—and then a spirited and spiritual dialogue began between the leader of the Nation of Islam and seven members of the Neturei Karta International orthodox Jewish community.
The historic meeting occurred Nov. 9 at the home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Hyde Park, a quiet and diverse Chicago community inhabited by Muslims, Christians and Jews, blacks and whites.
"On behalf of the Nation of Islam, I am honored to have you in the home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad," the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, extending a warm welcome to the Jewish delegation led by Rabbi Moshe Beck.
"We have believed all along that a day like this would come. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad hinted to us in one of his writings that the problem between the Jewish community and us in the United States would be worked out. So we believe that this (meeting) is not accidental … this is a part of God’s divine planning for us," Min. Farrakhan said.
The meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting that was quietly held June 9, when the delegation visited Chicago for a meeting with the Nation of Islam Board chaired by Chief of Staff Leonard F. Muhammad. That meeting concerned the arrest at that time of members of the Jewish community in Iran who were accused of spying for Israel. At that time, the Jewish delegation appealed for whatever help the Nation of Islam could provide in seeking a resolution to the crisis.
The Nov. 9 meeting, however, was not to focus on the Iranian Jews, said Rabbi David Weiss, spokesman for the group who translated for senior Rabbi Moshe Beck, but to "sanctify God’s name … to clarify what is a Jew … and what our position is to all the nations of the world and, specifically, what our position is to the Nation of Islam and to the revered Honorable Minister Farrakhan."
Rabbi Beck’s opening prayer called for God’s blessing upon Min. Farrakhan for "long life and healthy years to continue preaching the truth and doing good deeds."
After the prayers, the delegation presented the Minister with a plaque stating: "May God bless you and safeguard you. May God illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you. May God turn His countenance to you and establish peace for you. Presented with the deepest respect to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan by the representatives of Torah Jewry."
Rabbi Weiss explained that the words are a traditional blessing for a king or nobility.
Explaining that orthodox Jews strictly follow the Torah, Rabbi Weiss said his community and other orthodox Jews lead simple lives absent of many of the material items of the world such as televisions. He said they are bound by their holy book to be humble and peaceful and to be loyal citizens, obedient to the rulers of the land in which they live. He said they regretted that some members of the Jewish community had attacked Min. Farrakhan and vilified his name in the media, and that the orthodox community should have spoken out against the attack.
Jews are in exile, he said, and the orthodox community is awaiting the return of The Messiah who would deliver them from exile. However, today the voice of the orthodox community has been silent or drowned out by the voice of Zionism that has placed itself in the seat of Judaism, Rabbi Weiss said. Orthodox Jews do not agree with the establishment of the State of Israel and support liberation for the Palestinians and their land, he continued.
"The issue is the mistake in the notion that Judaism and Zionism are synonymous," said Rabbi Chaim Fryman, who is active in non-governmental organizations at the United Nations. He also attended the Israeli/Palestinian peace conference in Madrid, Spain, and Washington, D.C., to "rebut the Zionist Prime Minister (of Israel) that he is the representative of the Jews."
"I am overwhelmed by the terrible suffering and the crimes committed by the Zionist occupation and the settlers in the Holy Land, unspeakable crimes which the media are aware of," he said.
Rabbi Fryman said the meeting with Min. Farrakhan "is a landmark that should have come about earlier."
"You should look at us as activists representing a universal opinion of Torah Jewry as it always was presented. We wanted to counteract the negative influence of the media and Zionist lobby," he said.
A major problem for orthodox Jews, said Rabbi Beck, is the Zionists during the early days of the establishment of the State of Israel used scare tactics and propaganda to convince the orthodox community that if Israel was not successful, then Arabs and anti-Semites would further persecute Jews.
Rabbi Beck, through translation, said that attacks on some synagogues in the Middle East were carried out by Israeli terrorists and blamed on Arabs.
For his part, Min. Farrakhan said that the unfair and false attacks on him by members of the Jewish community were hurtful. Those attacks started in 1984 when he came to the defense of the presidential campaign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. At that time, members of the Jewish community ran full-page ads in major newspapers calling for the "ruin" of Rev. Jackson’s efforts.
"But when you try your best to serve the one God, He insulates you from the insults, the maligning, the evil spoken words and attitudes of those who either purposely misrepresent the truth or in ignorance misrepresent the truth," he said.
Min. Farrakhan said Muslims are bound to respect the people of the Book because to do so is to respect Him who revealed the Book. He said Muslims also respect Jewish houses of worship and "any house where the one God is worshipped."
"This is why no matter what we have suffered from the misrepresentation of the Zionist-controlled media, you have never heard of an incident where one of my followers ever attacked a person … because of their faith tradition," he said.
Min. Farrakhan defined a Jew as someone with a unique and special covenant with God who is bound by obedience to the laws of the Torah. But he also warned that whenever God reveals His word to a people, "that wisdom and revelation becomes a trial for those who receive it.
"If we use the wisdom to oppose God’s law, God’s commandments, then the wisdom of the revelation causes us to become Satanic," he said.
Encouraging the rabbis to be more vocal in their opposition to falsehood, Min. Farrakhan said America is being destroyed because of its moral degeneracy and the destruction of the family. He said only the family values taught in the Torah, Injil (Gospel) and the Holy Qur’an, "properly administered and fought for" will save America from a destruction that "will make Sodom and Gomorra … look like child’s play."
"Satan is winning because the righteous are divided and are weak. Sometimes the righteous are cowardly in that we are afraid to stand up for God so He can prove that even though we are small in number, He will make us prevail over armies as He showed you the history of the Children of Israel," he said.
"We do not believe that Jesus of 2000 years ago was the Messiah. We believe the Messiah was yet to come, and this is the time period that the Messiah would make himself manifest," Min. Farrakhan said.
He added that his teacher, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, told his followers to study the history of the Jewish people because it is full of lessons for Blacks in America who have suffered a 400-year bondage "unlike the slavery of other human beings."
"After 400 years, (God) gave them Moses, the liberator," he said. "And we, too, believe that Allah has been merciful to us and it is our time now to come out of exile, but it is also your time as well.
"We believe that Elijah, who was to come before that great and dreadful day of the Lord … has come into the world, not only to turn our hearts back to our fathers, but to turn the hearts of the people of the Book, who have strayed from the path of God, turn them back, because only in turning us back to the path of God can we truly come out of exile and again be called the people of God," he said.
Related Site: Neturei Karta International orthodox Jewish community
Photos: #1-(L-R) Min. Farrakhan
(center with plaque) receives presentation from Rabbis Moshe Beck,
Yisroel Feldman, David Weis, Chaim Fryman, Hilel Deutsch, Yisroel
Feldman and Chaim Lefkowitz.; #2-Sitting at the table: "Min. Farrakhan (at head of table) and Chief of Staff
Leonard F. Muhammad listen as Rabbi David Weiss (far left) interprets for