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Israel a 'Wicked Hypocrisy'--Farrakhan : Forum Speech Before 14,000 Touches on Foreign Policy, Economics

September 15, 1985|PENELOPE McMILLAN and CATHLEEN DECKER | Times Staff Writers

Calling Israel a "wicked hypocrisy" and describing himself as a modern-day Jesus Christ, Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan issued a broad call Saturday night for economic independence for black Americans.

As dozens of protesters marched across the street from the Forum in Inglewood, watched by police, Farrakhan urged blacks to "get control of our own wealth".

While most of his speech centered on economic issues, Farrakhan repeated some of the anti-Semitic remarks that have divided blacks and Jewish groups and plunged Mayor Tom Bradley into a firestorm of political criticism.

Refers to Holocaust

At one point, he declared that he was not anti-Semitic, saying: "America, you were wrong allowing the Holocaust to take place in Germany." The crowd of 14,000 rose in a standing ovation.

But, he added later: "Don't push your six million down our throats when we lost 100 million (to slavery). We weep for Jews but who weeps for us?"

Blacks the Chosen People

Farrakhan, 52, said he had not "come here to Los Angeles to attack Jews." But, he added: "I am declaring for the world that they are not the chosen people of God. I am declaring for the world that you, the black people, are.

"Why are they (Jews) so excited?" he asked a wildly cheering crowd. "Black men have been coming in and out of Los Angeles for years but never has a black man been feared like Louis Farrakhan. Why are they so upset?"

His strongest remarks concerned America and the state of Israel.

"When President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt knew the Jews were suffering . . . he turned the other way . . . He was Christian.

Says Land Was Stolen

"Now out of guilt, knowing you hate the Jews yourself, that you turned your back while they were suffering . . . to make up for your wickedness you permit the stealing of land from the Palestinian homeland . . . you support the state of Israel with billions of taxpayer dollars.

"Because I have the courage to speak out . . . now I'm an anti-Semite. I have been saying the Jews were to be returned by the Messiah to the Promised Land, not by Ben Gurion (Israel's first prime minister).

"Why did not you (Israel) wait for the Messiah? It is because of your disbelief in God and your disbelief in the scriptures and your wicked hypocrisy that you would not wait . . . you stole your land."

The Nation of Islam leader said he was "privileged" to be so controversial. "Jesus appeared . . . and his message was controversial. Moses appeared . . . and his message was controversial. Whenever a man speaks against the popular version of the truth he is considered controversial."

National Prominence

Farrakhan, who has long been a well-known figure in the black community but rose to wider national prominence last year with his support of presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, was escorted on stage by a half-dozen security guards in dark suits. His first statements were muted by a faulty microphone.

"I'm not surprised," he said with a smile. "They don't want you to hear what I have to say."

Black community leaders met earlier this week with Farrakhan representatives and through them asked the Muslim leader to confine his speech to economic issues. But Farrakhan spokesmen said then no formal agreement had been reached.

Farrakhan has been heatedly criticized in the past for his characterization of Judaism as a "dirty religion" and for a July speech in which he referred to the "wickedness" of Jews.

Bradley Dilemma

Bradley had refused to denounce Farrakhan's appearance despite heavy pressure by Jewish groups to do so. Instead, Bradley acceded to the requests of black community leaders who urged him to maintain a low profile and allow them to confront Farrakhan.

Farrakhan noted that Bradley had scheduled a Sunday press conference to discuss the controversial minister.

"If you repudiate me tomorrow morning, which you plan to do anyway, I shall be around after your press conference and I shall deal with what you say," Farrakhan warned.

Farrakhan used most of the speech to rally support for POWER--People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth--a black economic self-help program he founded in January.

Jobs for Blacks

The project plans to produce household items like toothpaste, deodorants and detergents, at the same time creating jobs for blacks and appealing to the buying power of black consumers. The project was enveloped in controversy when it became known that Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi supplied a $5-million, interest-free loan to POWER.

"You must get up from the foot of your masters and say 'I am a free man.' " he said.

"It is time for black people to come out from under white authority and stop thinking like you are an inferior person."

Inglewood police kept protesters--members of the militant Jewish Defense League, a cadre of Guardian Angels, seven men dressed in Nazi regalia and assorted religious activists--across Prairie Avenue from the Forum.

Vigil at Bradley's Home

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