Responding to hate
Andrew Silow-Carroll mistakenly claims that ZOA urged President Obama to send a letter to Louis Farrakhan condemning his latest anti-Semitic letter/threat in order “to establish an ideological kinship between Obama and Farrakhan” (“Burning man,” July 8). Farrakhan’s letter was sent to 15 groups including the ZOA, ADL, and AIPAC, calling Jews “the worst enemy…and deceitful so-called friends” of the African-American community. Furthermore, he threatened the Jews with “disgrace and ruin.”
Firstly, a kinship between Farrakhan and President Obama has already been established by Obama’s publicly acknowledging his attendance at Farrakhan’s Million Man March in Washington. Secondly, Farrakhan continues to have a significant and loyal following among blacks through his frequent speeches, publications, and his newspaper, The Final Call. And he still inspires blacks to hate Jews and Israel. President Barack Obama’s pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose church presented Farrakhan with a “Life Achievement Award” in 1977, is one such follower
This hatred, promoted by Farrakhan, is so venal and intense, we fear it could even lead to violence. Islamic and Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes only last week wrote an article about Farrakhan’s letter agreeing that it was a veiled call for violence against Jews. As the great historian Paul Johnson’s warned in A History of the Jews, “one of the principle lessons of Jewish history has been that repeated verbal slanders are sooner or later followed by violent physical deeds. Time and again over the centuries, anti-Semitic writings created their own fearful momentum which climaxed in an effusion of Jewish blood.”
Therefore, in light of the fact that our first black president repeatedly spoke about healing the racial divide, and said that he would be in the best position to reduce the tensions between blacks and Jews, ZOA asked the president to send a letter condemning Farrakhan’s horrific anti-Semitic letter. We believe this could have a great impact in reducing the positive feelings a significant number of blacks have toward Farrakhan, thus reducing his vile and dangerous influence.
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America