NEW YORK (Sep. 23)
Mayor Edward Koch yesterday denounced Black Moslem leader Louis Farrakhan as a “Nazi in a clerical collar” and said he hoped Farrakhan’s scheduled rally at Madison Square Garden on October 7 does not draw protest demonstrations “so as not to give him even greater notoriety.”
“I hope that no one will do that,” declared Koch in remarks during dedication ceremonies of the new Riverdale YM-YWHA, the Fred and Anna Landau Building. “But I am sure that those hopes are in vain because there will be people not recognizing that they are helping him, who in justifiable anger — indeed fury — will do that.”
Today, Koch was meeting with Jewish leaders to map strategy regarding Farrakhan’s scheduled rally, it was learned here.
The Mayor noted yesterday that ecumenical services will take place on October 5 in New York marking a “national day of mourning” for Black South Africans and he suggested that this forum be used by leaders — especially non-Jewish leaders — to speak out against Farrakhan. Koch, in other remarks, noted that despite Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic preachings, he “has the right to speak” at the rally.
ANTI-SEMITIC, ANTI-ZIONIST DIATRIBES
Farrakhan, head of the Chicago-based Nation of of Islam, propelled himself into the national spotlight last year with his association with the Rev. Jesse Jackson during the Democratic Presidential primary campaign. He accompanied Jackson to Syria to help negotiate the release of a captured Navy airman. Later, Jackson dropped Farrakhan from the campaign.
But it was Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist diatribes that drew much national attention, and particularly angered the Jewish community. He has been quoted as describing Judaism as a “dirty religion,” and calling “the presence of a state called Israel … an outlaw act.”
In a June, 1984 speech at his headquarters in Chicago, broadcast on local WBEE radio, Farrakhan said Israel “will never have any peace because there can be no peace structured on injustice, lying and deceit and using the name of God to shield your dirty religion under his holy and righteous name.”
But despite the intense criticism of Farrakhan from a wide spectrum of the religious and political community, he has retained his drawing power. Last June he addressed a rally of some 10,000 at the Convention Center in Washington, and earlier this month addressed more than 15,000 at a rally at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Both speeches contained Farrakhan’s ususal vicious anti-Semitic canards. In Washington, he said, “I’m not backing down from the Jews because I know their wickedness. I’m not separating just Zionists out because the Zionists are the outgrowth of Jewish transgressions.”
The speech in Los Angeles, site of the second largest Jewish community in the United States, resulted in serious strains between Black and Jewish leaders. Jewish leaders called on Black civil rights and political leaders to denounce Farrakhan before the speech for his past “anti-Semitic and anti-American” remarks.
‘MODERATE’ BLACK LEADERS FAIL TO ACT
According to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, some “moderate” Black leaders failed to condemn Farrakhan, and he noted, some of these same leaders had seats on the stage at the Forum during Farrakhan’s address.
Mayor Tom Bradley, who is Black, refused repeated private and public requests from Jewish officials in Los Angeles to denounce Farrakhan prior to the speech. Bradley later condemned Farrakhan’s racism and bigotry. Bradley said local Black leaders met at his request with Farrakhan’s representatives seeking to urge the Black Muslim to delete “the rhetoric of racism and hate.”
Farrakhan told his Los Angeles audience: “I did not come here to Los Angeles to attack Jews or to attack anyone but to tell the truth.” He asserted that Jewish groups opposed to him had gone “to Black leaders with an already signed statement telling them to sign it or else.”
He said some Black leaders bowed to the pressure by Jewish leaders while those who did not were told by Jewish leaders they would not forget. Farrakhan then said: “We will never forget who sold our fathers into slavery. Don’t push your six million down our throats when we lost 100 million” in slavery.