JERUSALEM (Dec. 3)
The leader of the Nation of Islam will not be prevented from entering Israel should he decide to visit.
But no state official will meet the Rev. Louis Farrakhan unless he apologizes for his anti-Semitic remarks and denial of the Holocaust, the Foreign Ministry decided Tuesday.
The ministry said that since Farrakhan was a U.S. citizen he could enter Israel for a private visit.
The Israeli Embassy in Washington forwarded the decision to Farrakhan’s office in Chicago.
Farrakhan notified the embassy Monday that he planned to visit Israel in January as part of a three-month international tour.
Farrakhan, who has often sparked controversy with his anti-Semitic and anti- Zionist rhetoric, announced Sunday that he wants to advance the Middle East peace process.
He said during an interview on CNN that he hoped to visit Israel during an upcoming 52-nation tour that is scheduled to include Syria, Iraq, Libya and Cuba.
“I want to be a voice for peace,” he told CNN. “I don’t think that the politicians of the region are doing their utmost for peace.”
Farrakhan, who was slated to leave on the tour this week, ducked a question on whether he would call on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to suspend terror attacks on Israel.
“I would also advise the Israelis to stop building Jewish settlements in Jerusalem,” he said, adding when the question was again put to him, “Hamas leaders have already said that they’re ready to exchange violence for a dialogue toward peace.”
Farrakhan said that he was not sure Israel would be willing to host him.
“My image there is terrible,” he said.