(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League condemned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as the “leading anti-Semite in America” after a speech in which he blamed “Israelis and Zionist Jews” for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“At a time when anti-Semitic attitudes are at historic lows, Farrakhan’s unabashed promotion of anti-Semitism is a throwback to the intolerance of another era,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued Thursday.
Farrakhan, who has a long history of anti-Semitic remarks, delivered his speech on Sunday in Chicago as part of his Saviors Day 2015 sermon.
“It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in the key roles of the 9/11 attacks,” Farrakhan said. “If they can prove me wrong, I’ll pay with my life, since they want to kill me anyway. Prove me wrong. We’re dealing with thieves and liars and murderers.”
Some of Farrakhan’s other claims in that speech relating to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks include that “an Israeli film crew dressed as Arabs were filming the Twin Towers before the first plane went in” and “many Jews received a text message not to come to work on Sept. 11.”
Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, once led by Malcolm X, is labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Farrakhan left the religious group in 2007 due to health problems but has continued to give public speeches promoting anti-Semitic claims in recent years.