do that to me."
And when, in 1984, someone in a crowd
in Washington responded, "Kill them,"
after Mr. Farrakhan asked what to do
with black leaders who seek Jews' sup-
port, he responded, "I didn't say that. I
just seconded the motion."
any attempt that
may make to do to
others what has been
done to them. I know
wasteland to which
that road leads...-
others is debasing
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
yen though Louis Farrakhan
uttered what Jews deem to be
a classic anti-Semitic canard
as far back as 1972 — Jews
control the mass media — it
wasn't until 1984 that Louis Farrakhan
gained a national reputation as an anti-
Semite. From his vantage, everything
that happened those nine years ago is in-
extricably entwined with Jesse Jackson's
presidential candidacy — and with Jews'
opposition to it.
In February 1984, Mr. Farrakhan in-
troduced Jesse Jackson at a rally in
Chicago. He had recently heard that 100
death threats had been made against the
Oval Office aspirant — and seen a dossier
on the candidate published by the Anti-
Defamation League that was promul-
gating the view that Mr. Jackson was
anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. Convinced
that the ADL was so poisoning the air
against Mr. Jackson that it was encour-
aging threats on his life, Mr. Farrakhan
warned from the rally's podium,
"If...[Jews] harm this brother, I warn you
in the name of Allah, this will be the
last...[black leader] you harm. We are not
making any idle threats...If you want to
defeat him, defeat him at the polls. We
can stand to lose an election, but we can-
not stand to lose a brother."
Nathan Perlmutter, then head of the
ADL, quickly compared Mr. Farrakhan
to Hitler. In a March 1984 radio broad-
cast, an enraged Farrakhan fumed that
the only "similarity" between him and
Hitler was that both sought to "rais[e] our
people up from nothing," a quality which
had made Hitler "a very great man."
Then, speaking directly to Jews, he
cautioned, "What have I done? Who have
I killed? I warn you, be careful, be care-
ful. You're putting yourself in dangerous,
dangerous shoes. You have been the killer
of all the prophets. Now, if you seek my
life, you only show that you are no better
than your fathers."
These remarks, the minister now says,
"were really innocuous, and were not in-
tended in any way to harm the Jewish
community." Instead, he adds, Jews used
them as tools to "derail" Mr. Jackson's
candidacy and "that no words of mine
used under other circumstances would
ever have made the obituary page."
When asked the next month at a
Washington press conference whether,
indeed, he thought Hitler was "great," he
answered, "I don't think you would be
talking about Adolf Hitler 40 years af-
ter the fact if he was some minuscule
crackpot that jumped up on the European
continent. He was...a great man, but also
wicked — wickedly great."
Designating Hitler "great" twice in the
space of a few weeks sealed Mr. Far-
rakhan's fate as the New Devil. Further
demonizing him was a June 1984 state-
ment that Israel will "never have...peace
because there can be no peace structured
on injustice, lying and deceit and using
the name of God to shield your dirty reli-
gion under his holy and righteous name."
Mr. Farrakhan now says that the
phrase, "dirty religion," was "not appro-
priate. It was my mistake."
Judaism, he said cannot be "dirty" "be-
cause Islam came from the same God."
He was talking, he says, not about the re-
ligion of the Jews, but of how "specific ac-
tions of the Israeli government against
Palestinians" deviate from Judaism's
teachings regarding justice.
Moreover, he said, he was not singling
out the Israeli government as adhering
to a "dirty religion? Nation of Islam cat-
echism also uses the phrase to refer to
Christians and Muslims whose personal
practices diverge from their religion's
Since 1984, Mr. Farrakhan's repeated
calls for meetings with Jewish leaders
have all gone unanswered. And during
those nine years, relations have worsened
between him and Jews. In 1988, for ex-
ample, he endorsed claims by a Chicago
mayoral aide that Jewish doctors had in-
jected black babies with the AIDS virus.
A few months later, newspapers report-
ed — in what he tags a "gross misstate-
ment" — that he had bragged, "Jews
cannot defeat me. I will grind them down
and crush them into little bits."
According to Mr. Farrakhan, the press
distorted a passage from the Christian
bible (Matthew 21:44) that he had cited
at a dinner in Flushing, N.Y.: "And who-
ever shall fall on this stone [a man of God]
shall be broken; but on whomsoever it
shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
He — Louis Farrakhan — was the
"stone" whose words of truth the Jews, a
wayward people, had ignored. Thus, their
grinding into "powder" — or "little bits,"
as the New York Post reported.
The latest installment in the Jewish-
Farrakhan imbroglio came in 1991 when
the Nation of Islam published the 334-
page "Secret Relationship Between Blacks
and Jews." Culled only from works writ-
ten by Jewish scholars, the book concludes
that Jews "used kidnapped black Africans
disproportionately more than any other
ethnic or religious group in New World
The tome, which does not mention
Arab, black or European gentile involve-
ment in slavery, was not intended to be
balanced, admits Mr. Farrakhan: "I didn't
want to give to the world the world's en-
slavement of blacks because that has al-
ready been documented. We all heard
that Arabs were involved, but nobody told
us Jews were involved."
Three more volumes of the "Secret Re-
lationship" will be published by the end
of the year. These will reportedly address
such topics as Jewish control of Holly-
wood — and the film industry's portray-
al of blacks. Mr. Farrakhan also says a
book dealing solely with Muslim in-
volvement in the slave trade will "be out
very, very soon."
After being told that some scholars cal-
culate Jews' role in slavery as minuscule
— in 1830, for instance, of 12,000 South-
ern slave owners who had 50 or more
slaves, only 20 were Jewish — Mr. Far-
rakhan said, "But what kind of a role did
[John] Demjanjuk have? Was it 2 percent?
Three percent? Do Jews really care?"
(An Israeli court recently overturned
Mr. Demjanjuk's conviction for killing and
torturing prisoners at Treblinka.)
"As long as someone was involved in
the Holocaust, Jews feel they have a right
to go after them. In Germany, right now
the innocent Germans are paying repa-
rations to Israel for what the wicked Ger-
mans did to the Jewish people. Who is
going to repair the damage done to black
"Jews don't mind labeling me anti-
Semite. I've never done one act against