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Furor Over Farrakhan

September 22, 1985

The leaders of the Jewish community have made a big mistake in their criticism of Mayor Tom Bradley over his reaction to the Los Angeles appearance of Louis Farrakhan.

As a Jew, I am very sensitive to anti-Semitism. But anti-Semitism is not the issue here. No one denies that Farrakhan made anti-Jewish remarks; and, no one is seriously alleging that Mayor Bradley or any other leader of the Los Angeles black community is anti-Semitic.

Instead, Jewish leaders have stirred up a major controversy over their demand that Bradley condemn Farrakhan before Farrakhan made his speech. Why Jewish leaders have threatened to curtail their support for the mayor, after all he's done to bring blacks and Jews together, over such a petty issue as the timing of Bradley's repudiation of Farrakhan, is beyond me.

We Jews must show more respect for the black community's ability to deal with its aberrant members in its own way. We chose to repudiate Farrakhan before he spoke; they chose to give him a chance to speak before criticizing him. Is this difference of approach so great that it should cause a new rift in black-Jewish relations?

It is a sad irony that the actions of the leaders of the Los Angeles Jewish community are helping to bring about exactly what Farrakhan wants--a destruction of positive black-Jewish relations.

JOSEPH KAUFMAN

Van Nuys

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