WASHINGTON (JTA) — Louis Farrakhan blamed the Jews, among others, for President Obama’s difficulties.
In a 3 1/2-hour speech marking Saviours’ Day, a Nation of Islam holiday, the movement’s leader told 20,000 followers in Chicago’s United Center that Obama’s political difficulties came after he stood up to the Jewish lobby at an Oval Office meeting.
"When they left the White House, his problems began," the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Farrakhan as saying.
Obama’s meeting last summer with leaders of Jewish groups was mostly friendly, but there were differences over his administration’s tone in dealing with Israel’s Netanyahu government. All sides since then — the White House, the organized Jewish leadership and the Israeli government — have tried to tamp down public criticism.
“The Zionists are in control of Congress,” Farrakhan said Sunday as he listed off a slew of Jewish economic advisers, adding that the “bloodsuckers of the poor” were rewarded with a bailout.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, responded to Farrakhan’s inflammatory remarks.
“It’s the same Farrakhan: ugly and anti-Semitic," Foxman said. "With age he doesn’t get milder, he gets uglier.”
In the same speech, Farrakhan said “the white right is trying to set Barack up to be assassinated,” and reiterated his conviction that 9/11 was an "inside job."
During the presidential campaign, Obama distanced himself from Farrakhan for his history of anti-Semitism.