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March 09, 1990 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Farrakhan Blast Leaves
Jewish Leaders Cold

What does Louis Far-
rakhan want, and where do
the Jews fit into his
impenetrable scheme? Those
were the questions cir-
culating in Washington last
week in the wake of a long
interview in the Washington
Post, part of a major media
blitz by Nation of Islam offi-
cials.
But in the interview, Far-
rakhan blasted an alleged
Jewish cabal in the media
and in Hollywood, and at-
tacked Israel for "using God

Louis Farrakhan:
`Dirty religion.'

and religion as a cover for
what I said was lying, steal-
ing, murder, using God's
name as a shield for your ,
dirty religion, meaning
you're preaching one thing,
but you are practicing an-
other."
Jewish leaders here were
not impressed.

"There is clearly an inter-
est in polishing their
image," said Rabbi Andrew
Baker, regional director for
the American Jewish Com-
mittee. "They seem eager to
capitalize on the recent
positive attention they've
received because of their
drug programs. But is this a
genuine effort to begin a
dialog? If this interview is
all we have, it clearly is
not."
There was widespread
speculation in political
circles that Farrakhan hopes
to play a renewed role in any
Jesse Jackson presidential
bid, and in the political
debate over the drug crisis.
But for that to happen, Far-
rakhan would have to blunt
charges that he is a virulent
anti- Semite — something
that he apparently failed to
do in his two- page Post
interview.

In a curious sidelight to
the issue, Washington
Post columnist Richard
Cohen wrote a column the
next day lambasting his
paper. Cohen argued that
the Post, in running the long
interview, was giving Far-
rakhan a forum despite the
overt bigotry of his views;
the paper, he suggested,
would not have run a similar
interview with a white bigot.

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Cohen denied that there
was anything unusual about
publicly challenging his own
newspaper. "I don't make a
habit of it," he said. "But
this is an issue I cared about;
I disagreed profoundly with
what I read in the paper."

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Child Care Issue
Sets Agudah Apart

Agudath Israel of
America's Washington
representative, Abba Cohen,
was one of 15 activists in-
vited for a meeting with
President George Bush to
discuss the child care issue
recently.
And the fact that Agudah
was the only Jewish group at
the meeting was no accident;
the Orthodox group has gone
against the Jewish main-
stream in Washington on
critical church-state lang-
uage in the bitter child care
debate.
"We've been pushing

several issues," said Abba
Cohen. "We've been espe-
cially interested in the use of
certificates that could be
used in religiously affiliated
institutions; we believe it is
constitutionally permitted.
Also, in regard to hiring and
administration, religiously
affiliated child care institu-
tions should be able to adopt
policies in conformity with
their religious tenets."
In practical terms, this
means Agudath Israel wants
Jewish day care centers to
have the right to show pre-
ference for people.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

35

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