A back-and-forth that’s been going on for decades between Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman enjoyed another volley this week when Farrakhan defended pop singer Kanye West from Foxman’s criticism.
In an interview about his commercially messianic “Yeezus” album, Kanye West said “black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people,” to which Foxman and the ADL responded that those types of comments were exactly what fuels anti-Semitic tropes.
In his weekly sermon, published online on Monday, Farrakhan first defended West, then railed against the ADL leader.
In response, Foxman told The Algemeiner, “Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism gets worse with age. It just continues and continues and gets uglier and more arrogant.”
About West, Farrakhan said:
“Did he lie? No. He told the truth. And the ADL, Mr. Foxman, issued a press release on the second day of December, 2013. And this executive director said, ‘If the comments are true as reported, this is classic anti-Semitism. There it goes again; the age old canard that Jews are all-powerful.'”
“No you’re not all powerful. But you certainly are powerful and you control the levers of government. You don’t want to admit it. But as a celebrity you’re telling Kanye West, he should know better. He does know better and that’s why he said what he said. Then you said to him, ‘We hope that he would take responsibility for his words, understand why they are so offensive and apologize to those he has offended.’
“You know what? Mr. Foxman, I wish you and I could have a dialogue. You wouldn’t put that small time stuff over on me that you put on scared to death Negroes, that if they mentioned you and you call them anti-Semitic they start bowing to you and your pressure. Kanye West, don’t bow to the pressure to apologize to anybody. You said nothing wrong. Who are you, Farrakhan, to tell him that he said nothing wrong? I am directly from the Christ and the Messiah, so what I tell you has more weight than anything that these enemies might want to say. You have nothing to apologize for. It is their fear of the truth and that’s why it gives me pleasure to defend my brother.”
Foxman didn’t say if he would take up Farrakhan on his offer of a debate, but Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, another Jewish leader, this week tried to take up former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters on his public offer for a debate on anti-Semitism and Waters’ own support of anti-Israel boycotts.