New York, NY, June 16, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was disturbed by reports of New York elected officials’ attendance at a meeting in Harlem with Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI).
According to reports, Minister Farrakhan held a closed door meeting on June 5 as part of a multiple city tour he is conducting to promote the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The meeting was reportedly attended by over 200 guests, including Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, New York City Council Members Jumaane Williams, Andy King and Assembly member Charles Barron.
Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director, issued the following statement:
We are extremely disturbed that any elected representative, particularly those with strong records of condemning anti-Semitism and racism, could turn a blind eye to the bigotry of Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Even as our nation celebrates the anniversary of landmark civil rights achievements, we know that the struggle against bigotry and hate and for equal rights and fair treatment is not a history lesson.
Progress on this front requires all community members of good faith to come together. However, discussions convened under the auspices of Farrakhan, one of the most polarizing and divisive figures in America – an individual not only with a decades-long history of promoting vicious anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and racism, but one who in recent months has even stepped up his attacks on American Jews – cannot be a productive way forward.
The presence of elected officials at a Farrakhan event serves only to elevate his importance and legitimize his message, but is certainly not progress. We call on elected officials to make clear that they do not support Farrakhan’s long history of hate.
As head of the NOI, Minister Farrakhan has espoused bigoted and anti-Semitic rhetoric over the past 30 years. In recent years, the group’s campaign to demonize Jews, whites, the LGBT community, and others has continued unabated.
In March, ADL said Farrakhan reaffirmed his status as “the leading anti-Semite in America” after he devoted a large portion of his annual address to followers in Chicago top the anti-Semitic myth that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY