|Zionism, not Farrakhan is the
problem, rabbis say
by Nisa Islam Muhammad
years ago in defense of Rev. Jesse Jackson, the sum of the relationship
between Minister Louis Farrakhan and some members of the Jewish
community equaled a grave misunderstanding that those Jews have wielded
from then until now like a weapon to multiply a negative press campaign
against the Minister. All that ended Feb. 24-27 when rabbis of the
Neturei Karta Orthodox Jewish community divided themselves from that
In an historic Feb. 28 announcement, the rabbis told
the world of their support for Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam
during a press conference after the Saviours’ Day weekend celebration.
"We’ve had hours and hours of conversations
with Minister Farrakhan, " said Rabbi David Weiss, "Minister
Farrakhan is a strong-willed person. The Jews misconstrued his
statements. They (Zionists) changed Judaism with their new style. This
is Zionism. Judaism is not like this."
Rabbi Weiss led a delegation of rabbis that were
invited to Saviours’ Day by Min. Farrakhan as part of their ongoing
dialogue and reconciliation. The rabbis spoke throughout the weekend and
addressed the capacity crowd at the United Center on Feb. 27.
"Zionism is a transformation from godliness to
materialism," explained Rabbi Weiss. "Know the difference
between Zionism and Judaism. We are diametrically opposed. We apologize
for those who attacked Minister Farrakhan. Those who attacked represent
the façade of Judaism."
This example of peace and reconciliation has not been
received by all as good news for the faithful. On the contrary,
so-called mainstream Jewish groups have attacked this bond as insincere.
In news reports Micheal Siegel, president of the
Chicago Board of Rabbis, said that "the Jewish community is fairly
well-organized and there are bodies equipped to have a conversation.
(Farrakhan) knows their phone numbers and the fact that he chose to go
elsewhere shows the lack of sincerity" in his outreach.
But the rabbis pointed out that Min. Farrakhan has
made outreach for dialogue with his attackers.
Their own relationship with the Nation began last
summer when they approached the Muslims seeking help in securing the
release of several Jewish rabbis held in Iran for alleged spying.
That led to additional meetings to foster a better
relationship. "This Jewish community is an excellent example of how
Black and Jewish relations can be," said Nation of Islam Chief of
Staff Leonard F. Muhammad.
Before the 1984 elections there was hardly a mumbling
word about Min. Farrakhan and Jews. The waters were parted with the
great divide when Min. Farrakhan defended Rev. Jackson against Jews
seeking to "ruin" his campaign. Those Jews labeled the
Minister a new "Hitler."
Although Min. Farrakhan condemned Hitler as being
wicked for his deeds, somewhere and somehow that message got deleted
from the media reports and all that was played over and over in the
press was that Min. Farrakhan called Hitler great.
The next media distortion was the misinterpretation
of the following quote: "Now, that nation of Israel never has had
any peace in 40 years, and she will never have any peace because there
can never be any peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying and
deceit and using the name of God to shield your dirty religion under His
holy and righteous name."
Again, the media had a field day with that and soon
all that was reported was that Min. Farrakhan called Judaism a
In their new pamphlet, "Exile and Redemption:
The Torah Approach, An Introductory Exploration of Zionism,
Jewish-Gentile Relations and the Recent Dialogue with the Nation of
Islam by a Friend of Neturei Karta, " that remark is explained by
"The media widely reported that the Minister had
referred to Judaism as a ‘gutter religion.’ This error (or
distortion) was deeply troubling to the Nation of Islam. The reason was
that in Minister Farrakhan’s vocabulary the phrase ‘dirty religion’
has a particular meaning. It referred to adherents of a faith who sinned
against the tenets of that faith. The ‘dirty religion’ is the
distorted faith which emerges from its manipulation by hypocrites or
sinners ... . The use of ‘dirty religion’ in the Minister’s
lexicon could have been discovered by any researcher interested in
generating light instead of heat," the statement reads.
Photo: Leonard F. Muhammad, Nation of
Islam chief of staff, talks with rabbis following press conference where
they defended Min. Farrakhan.