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Speech of Hate – Louis Farrakhan’s Latest Anti-Jewish Tirade



The Neo-Nazi planned “Day of Hate” targeting Jews across America spread fear but resulted in no reported assaults; while one of the most vocal and influential Jew-hating bigots drew thousands of cheers in a packed Chicago arena for his vehement rant against Jews.


Louis Farrakhan regularly uses his position and influence as the leader of the anti-Jewish Nation of Islam to spread hatred, lies and propaganda against Jews. Farrakhan’s latest onslaught at the end of February highlights a massive source of antisemitism in the U.S. that continues unabated.


Farrakhan’s firebrand speech – The War of Armageddon Has Begun ­– highlighted the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day event at the Wintrust Arena. The agitator focused nearly his entire speech on Jews by promoting numerous anti-Jewish tropes and conspiracy theories, including the Synagogue of Satan’s control of America. The ‘Synagogue of Satan’ is how Farrakhan refers to Jews and Judaism.


Farrakhan’s speech attracted thousands of attendees who paid via Ticketmaster to hear his diatribe –the day after white supremacists called for a “Day of Hate” against Jews. Their anti-Jewish rhetoric across social media was intended to instill fear in local Jewish communities: “The one true enemy of the American people is the Jew,” and “our aim is to piss off our enemies, and embolden our comrades.


There were no reported attacks against Jewish individuals or institutions. Police and security agencies advised Jews to be on alert on Shabbat amid an increased police presence at synagogues around the country. Jewish organizations encouraged increased synagogue attendance and responded with messages of #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate and A Shabbat of Love. This turned a day of hate into a show of resolve and solidarity – bringing the Jewish community together.


Farrakhan has a long history of making anti-Jewish sermons to his followers – among them a paramilitary organization trained in combat tactics, teens in uniforms as well as young children. His hateful conspiracies invoke the Holocaust and include slanderous accusations of Jewish involvement in the slave trade as well as assertions that Jews control the U.S. government. He warned his then 335,000 Twitter followers about the “Satanic Jew,” and in a 2018 speech marking the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March, Farrakhan compared Jews to termites.


Several hip-hops stars have shared the limelight with Farrakhan over the years including Kanye West and rapper 2 Chainz, who attended his recent speech. At a celebrity’s 2018 funeral – an event that did receive notable media coverage – Farrakhan sat in the VIP section, three seats from President Clinton, with Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson seated between them.  


Farrakhan spoke to a sellout crowd of 10,000 at the Chicago arena, built to host concerts, conventions and DePaul University basketball games. Public funding supplied more than half the cost of building the arena.


Tens of thousands of viewers watched his speech online, including on YouTube and Facebook. Neither company took action despite the content violating their community guidelines, and no news media covered the incendiary Jew-hating tirade. Many event hashtags trended on Twitter. Louis Farrakhan’s hateful speech also targeted the LGBTQ+ community, as he has in the past.


"[Farrakhan’s] never been more formidable because when you hear a Kanye say the things that he said about the Jewish people, much of that is what Louis Farrakhan's been saying for decades,” said Dumisani Washington, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel. [video] “He influenced some of the hip-hop world, some in the professional sports arena, in politics. He has enjoyed access to some of the most powerful Black people in the country for a long time and has influence because of that."


1.    Hate speech is a threat to American values

The U.S. was founded on the principles of freedom of speech and expression, but these freedoms are not absolute. Hate speech is incompatible with American cultural values and when it is directed against Jews it marginalizes them and creates a climate of fear and intolerance. Synagogues and other Jewish institutions often require armed guards and a police presence to help protect American Jews. Hateful words incite violence and often lead to hate crimes. The deadly Black Hebrew Israelite shooting at a NJ kosher grocery, and the white supremacist  synagogue attacks in Pittsburgh and Poway, CA, are tragic examples. Hate speech undermines American values by promoting bigotry and division.

2.  Companies and local governments must reject Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam’s annual event was implicitly supported by a range of organizations. Illinois is providing $500,000 in funding to an NOI-inspired group while halfway across the country, the NY City Council voted to name a street after the NOI’s founder, Elijah Muhammad. In contrast, The Creative Community for Peace gathered more than 120 signatures from the entertainment industry to protest Ticketmaster’s facilitating of ticket sales; its CEO didn’t respond. The funding for the arena hosting Farrakhan primarily came from public taxes and a bond fund. Local Jewish organizations contacted a Chicago government agency to cancel the event to no avail. As long as private companies and public institutions continue to provide Farrakhan platforms to spew his hate, his impact will only grow.

3.  The American news media must report all incidents of anti-Jewish hate

Jews are the most targeted minority group in America. Yet, many attacks against Jews go under-reported or are not covered at all. There was a complete lack of media coverage of Farrakhan’s latest tirade. This is in stark contrast to the local and national media coverage of the white supremacist “Day of Hate” that was planned for the previous day. Journalist Yair Rosenberg recently wrote about what he called, “The invisible victims of American antisemitism.” The writer described how the recent shootings in LA received little media coverage outside of the city, and how routine attacks against Jews in NY and NJ are likewise receiving mostly local news coverage. The national news media must cover all assaults against Jews – not just those committed by white supremacists but also by radical Islamists, anti-Zionists on university campuses and some high-profile progressive politicians.

4.  Kids are influenced by prejudice and taught to hate

Most parents and educators want their children to grow up to be respectful and to live in harmony with others, regardless of their differences. Unfortunately, some children are exposed to negative attitudes from biased news, social media, friends or family. In other cases, kids embrace harmful stereotypes or discriminatory behaviors from their immediate environment or community. Pictures from the Farrakhan event show a number of children in attendance. It is crucial to actively promote positive attitudes and values that embrace diversity and inclusion. Children should be taught to appreciate the unique qualities of every individual, recognize and challenge unjust behaviors and attitudes and stand up for others. It is also important for adults to model and reinforce positive attitudes.

5. Farrakhan is not representative of the African American or Muslim communities

While Farrakhan is an influential leader within the African American community, he is far from representative of the larger community. Unfortunately, Farrakhan is not a fringe figure, but an influencer with a dedicated following, who must be condemned by other leaders, influencers and politicians. African American leaders previously condemned Farrakhan’s role in stoking Jew-hatred. The late Congressman John Lewis stated that, “We all have a moral obligation to speak out against hate and antisemitism, especially when it is promoted by someone with a platform as large as Minister Farrakhan's.” Also, the Nation of Islam's beliefs aren’t widely accepted by mainstream Muslims. The NOI emphasizes racial separatism and black nationalism. These views are incompatible with Islamic teachings, which emphasize the unity of all believers regardless of ethnicity.


A. Call out hatred of Jews, no matter its source

Demand that companies, governmental officials, law enforcement, the media and civil society take an active stance against Jew hatred. Contact your U.S. Representatives, Senators and state and local officials asking them to support legislation to combat antisemitism in all its forms – no matter its source.


B. Hold media accountable to report antisemitic acts accurately and fully

Letters to the editor still have an impact. Contact the publishers or news directors of your local media and insist that they take acts of Jew hatred more seriously, cover them accurately and give them the prominent placement they deserve.


Hatred of Jews in America

Stories Impacting the U.S. and Israel

Abraham Accords


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Antisemitism is not just a Jewish issue. Hatred against Jews can open the flood gates of hate against other minority communities. Shutting down bigotry and pushing back against Jew hatred is a global responsibility of anyone who values human rights and democracy. Looking the other way and justifying it with “antisemitism isn’t about me, so why should I get involved?” is what gives it the green light to continue spreading.

The Focus Project develops and distributes weekly talking points on timely issues to help influencers and organizations in their efforts to combat antisemitism and de-legitimization of Israel. The objective is to enable the community to speak with more consistency and focus, so that its messaging has greater resonance and reach with the general public. 

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