(JTA) – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan decried what he called Jewish control of the media and accused “Zionists” of trying to push America into war with Iran.
Farrakhan spoke for three hours Sunday before thousands of supporters at the Nation of Islam’s 82nd annual Saviors’ Day celebration in Chicago.
In his address, along with the accusation about a war with Iran, Farrakhan asserted that Jews were responsible for a controversial 2008 cover of The New Yorker that depicted President Obama in Muslim garb, according to the Religion News Service.
“I’m not anti-Semitic, I’m just telling the truth,” he said. He also said that “In 100 years, they control movies, television, recording, publishing, commerce, radio, they own it all.”
"Jewish people were not the origin of Hollywood," he added, "but they took it over."
On the topic of Iran, Farrakhan said: “I advise white and black America, Hispanic and Asian America, why would you send your children to die in a war engineered by Zionists who love Israel more than they love the United States of America? Don’t send these children to war for the sake of Israel.”
Farrakhan also reportedly attacked Israel’s policies and its relationship with United States.
“Listen good now, no matter what President Obama has said or done to show Israel his commitment, somehow or another he is failing on some aspect of what they desire him to do," Farrakhan said. "He has invaded into every country the neocons have told him to do. He went and got the stimulus plan to bail out Wall Street. There is nothing that he has not done for Israel, but they are still not happy.“
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Farrakhan’s annual address to the Nation of Islam was dripping with anti-Semitism and hatred, and should stand as a textbook example of the continuing potency in some circles of anti-Semitism in America.
“Rather than laugh him off the stage, tens of thousands of supporters cheered him on and encouraged his anti-Semitism and bigotry," Foxman said, adding that "In the past few years Farrakhan has turned his message and the mission of the Nation of Islam into a wide-ranging campaign to demonize and scapegoat Jews.”
In addition to Farrakhan’s speech, the convention included a plenary session that sought to demonstrate disproportionate Jewish involvement in the slave trade. The session, titled “Business is Warfare: The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” borrowed its name from a set of Nation of Islam books alleging that Jewish exploitation of blacks during the slave trade has caused deep and prolonged repercussions for African Americans.