Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Farrakhan Has NEVER Harmed a Jew: Countless Jews Have Exploited and Devastated American Negroes

theatlantic |  On a blustery Baltimore night in the late 1980s, I went to hear Louis Farrakhan speak to a packed crowd at Morgan State University, a historically black college. For more than five decades, the Nation of Islam leader has railed against Jews, variously describing them as “satanic,” “bloodsuckers,” and “termites.” He was at the peak of his influence at the time. As the editor of the weekly Baltimore Jewish Times, I wanted to experience firsthand the impact his hate-filled invective had on audiences.

I went with a fellow editor from the paper, and ours were among a handful of white faces in the large crowd. In one of his long and angry tirades that night, Farrakhan focused his venom on white people, Jews, and the media.

Taking notes as surreptitiously as possible, my colleague and I exchanged worried glances, keenly aware that we represented a trifecta of evil in Farrakhan’s world. We sensed some hard stares from those around us, and as the gifted orator ratcheted up his pitch, rousing his listeners, we feared for our safety. A word from the reverend and the crowd might have turned on us. But then, as he neared the end of his rant, his pace slowed, his voice lowered, and he called on his listeners to show their pride and dignity when encountering television reporters outside the auditorium.

Farrakhan’s words had an immediate calming effect. I remember feeling a tug of gratitude for the shift in his tone and message, and noted how quickly a crowd can be stirred up or calmed down.
Amid the terrifying wave of anti-Semitism in the United States of late, I have thought of that scene and wondered what has stirred up such anger against Jews now.

How do we explain Jews being shot to death at Shabbat prayer in their synagogue by hate-filled white nationalists in Pittsburgh and Poway, California; and visibly Orthodox men and women violently attacked in Brooklyn and Monsey, New York, and shot down next door to a synagogue in Jersey City, New Jersey?

These headline-grabbing incidents are part of a broader pattern. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) began tracking anti-Semitic hate crimes four decades ago. This past year brought the third-highest spike on record. Jews make up less than 3 percent of the American population, but the majority of reported religiously based hate crimes target Jewish people or institutions. In a new study by the American Jewish Committee, 35 percent of American Jews said they had experienced anti-Semitism in the past five years, and one-third reported concealing outward indications of their being Jewish.