Calling both Louis Farrakhan and Rabbi Meir Kahane “cancers on the body politic,” the Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee today urged Black leaders to denounce Farrakhan in much the same way that Jewish leaders have denounced Kahane.
Speaking before the Hadassah national convention here, Hyman Bookbinder said that Black Muslim leader Farrakhan and Kahane had no common goals but had “much in common in their basic intolerance and their basic rejection of the democratic process.” Bookbinder added:
“One major difference that has surfaced in the reaction to these two political cancers (is that) Jewish leadership both in Israel and in the United States has said no to ‘Kahaneism’ …. but the response to Farrakhan in the Black community has been too little and too weak.”
Farrakhan, leader of the Black group known as the Nation of Islam, charged Bookbinder, is “an open, hateful anti-Semite … (who) has openly declared war against the ‘gutter religion’ which is (the Jewish) faith, and would presumably approve of any kind of actions against us.”
And Kahane, the American-born politician who heads the Kach Party in Israel, which is committed to the ouster of all Arabs from Israel, is, in comparison, “an open, hateful Jewish bigot …. (who) insists that he is the only true defender of Judaism and of Israel, “Bookbinder said. But Kahane’s policies, continued Bookbinder, “if implemented, would rob Judaism of its most precious values.”
CITES BASIS OF SUPPORT
Both men, Bookbinder sald, are supported primarily by young people who feel “anger and frustration at their respective situations, “but, he stressed, “if it is not proper to justify Farrakhan’s racist ranting because there are indeed very serious problems facing America’s Blacks, it is similarly not proper to accept Kahane’s racist rantings because Israelis do indeed have critical problems at hom and terrorist horrors facing them every day.”
Turning to the reactions of the Jewish and Black communities to the two men, Bookbinder noted that last week 12 major national Jewish organizations joined in a statement denouncing Kahane for “racism” and “demagoguery,” but, he said, “there has been no comparable response from national Black leadership–at least not publicly.”
“I am sure that the overwhelming majority of Black leaders and Black public officials reject Farrakhan and what he stands for, “said Bookbinder, “but they make a serious mistake if they think they can fight him by silence, Can you imagine the impact that would result from a statement comparable to the one the Jewish community issued that would be signed by the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Council of Negro Women and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference?”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.