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September 2, 2018 5:02 pm

Jewish Leaders Outraged Over ‘Black Hitler’ Farrakhan’s Prominent Appearance at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaking in Detroit, Mi. in February 2017. Photo: Reuters/Rebecca Cook.

Jewish leaders voiced outrage on Sunday over the prominent attendance of Nation of Islam leader and notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan at legendary singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Friday.

Farrakhan was given a front-row seat on the dais, sitting next to controversial African-American leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and only three seats away from former president Bill Clinton.

“It was absolutely jarring to see one America’s leading purveyors of antisemitism given a place of such prominence at Aretha’s funeral,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League told The Algemeiner. “We join the country in mourning the Queen of Soul but this was an honor that an unapologetic hatemonger like Farrakhan didn’t deserve.”

Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement to The Algemeiner, “Like millions of other Americans who grew up listening to Aretha Franklin’s amazing voice, I was saddened by her passing. Putting Louis Farrakhan in a seat of honor in the first row on stage, near President Clinton and amidst a generation of African American political and religious leaders was equally saddening.”

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“50 years ago Aretha Franklin received an award from Martin Luther King Jr. and toured the country to raise money for the struggling Civil Rights Movement,” he added. “For decades Farrakhan has stood against everything MLK lived and died for. He hates America and hates Jews. Aretha Franklin wasn’t a hater. The sight of his smiling face on stage soured the heartfelt music and words during the marathon tribute to a great icon.”

“We were dismayed to learn that Farrakhan was seated in a prominent place at the funeral of a widely revered artist,” said Betty Ehrenberg , executive director of the World Jewish Congress North America. “And it is equally dismaying to see him being admired by some newly emerging activists and candidates for office who should not associate with an unapologetic antisemite with a long history of racist views.”

Veteran Jewish leader Abraham Foxman, head of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, told The Algemeiner, “Sadly the African-American community has a blind spot when it comes to antisemitism. They have always given a pass to Louis Farrakhan’s racism and antisemitism. They don’t recognize him as a racist and antisemite, and that’s sad for the relationship between our two communities.”

Speaking on Fox and Friends on Sunday morning, academic, attorney, and activist Alan Dershowitz expressed disappointment with Clinton’s appearance alongside Farrakhan, “I know there was a relationship 30 years earlier between Louis Farrakhan and Aretha Franklin. I don’t know if that relationship continued, or whether the family invited him, but I think any president should have said, ‘No. If you want me on the stage, you can’t have a bigot like Farrakhan sitting next to me.’”

“You just can’t mainstream and allow legitimacy to a man who has expressed the kind of hateful views he’s expressed of Jews, of white people, of gays,” he added.

Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, tweeted, “It’s deeply offensive that Racist bigot Jew hating White hating Louis (Hitler was a great man, Judaism is a gutter religion) Farrakhan was invited to the great soul singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral. And it was also offensive that Bill Clinton shook Farrakhan’s bigoted hand.”

Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was particularly strident, tweeting, “Louis Farrakhan, front and center, treated like royalty? What is this obsession with America’s Black Hitler? In spite of his crude, vicious comments about Jews, whites, gays, he is placed up front with President Clinton? Shocking!”

The NOI chief is notorious for his vicious antisemitism. At a sermon in May, he said, “Whenever you read that God has told the Jews to hear and obey, and they say, ‘I hear and I disobey,’ that’s Satan. … [The Jews] are openly disobeying God,” railed Farrakhan. “He [a Jew] will take down the whole world with him.”

“Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kinds of debauchery, and they give you a little part? It’s called the casting couch,” he added. “See, that’s Jewish power.” Farrakhan regularly refers to Jews as “the synagogue of Satan.”

Farrakhan issued a statement detailing his relationship with Franklin shortly after she died last month, saying, “In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No. 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support.”

“We marveled at her show of courage, fearlessness which was rooted in her profound love for her people and her desire for justice for us,” Farrakhan added.

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