Memo To: Seth Lipsky, editor & publisher, Jewish Weekly Forward
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Farrakhan & Kemp
As I’ve been keeping you informed about Jack’s work in the last year in trying to bring about a reconciliation between the Jewish community in general, the Anti-Defamation League in particular and the black community in general, the Nation of Islam in particular, I am pleased to report that Louis Farrakhan has responded positively to Jack’s challenge that he renounce anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry, once and for all. He actually delivered the response two weeks ago in St. Louis, at the speech he gave to a black political convention, as I told you I thought he might. The national press corps for some reason did not report these remarks, only mentioning some of his comments about how President Clinton and the Democrats have betrayed black Americans. Even those comments did not make the major national newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Considering the fact that this man one year ago was responsible for persuading at least one million black men to come to Washington, DC, on their own time and expense, to vow to be better men, citizens, husbands and fathers, it almost seems like a conspiracy of silence by our press corps.
Over the weekend, Jack was asked about these remarks on the October 12 "Evans&Novak" show. I append Farrakhan’s remarks as they were presented in this week’s issue of The Final Call, which we might consider as the counterpart to your important weekly in the New York Jewish community. I also include Jack’s comments to "Evans & Novak." Note his comment on how a year ago he tried to bring about a reconciliation between the Nation of Islam and the Anti-Defamation League, which have been the most aggressive combatants in the tensions between black and Jewish Americans. Farrakhan a year ago was willing to sit down with Abe Foxman of the ADL, but as you know that offer was rejected. I have now learned that in preparation for this Wednesday’s first anniversary celebration of the Million Man March -- a Day of Atonement at United Nations Plaza -- a Farrakhan emissary called Foxman last week and extended the offer directly, in the spirit of answering Jack’s challenge. The report is that Foxman rejected the offer. I’m told the American Jewish Committee had also been contacted and had not yet responded to the reconciliation offer.
As I explained to you via telephone a few weeks ago, neither Kemp nor I have been able to get to the original source of this long-running, nasty argument between the Nation and the ADL. The Farrakhan supporters say the ADL struck the first blows more than a decade ago and the ADL insists the Nation began the conflict. I learned from my father more than 50 years ago that when my brother and I went to him seeking justice, each complaining that the other had started a scrap, that he would say he would have to punish us both or neither, and we might as well shake hands and start fresh. It was the same practice I followed with my two sons. I would hope that you would find a way to use your good offices to find out if there is not some way to support Jack’s efforts in negotiating a truce. As Farrakhan said last year, If Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Shamir could shake hands across a river of blood, we should be able to shake hands with the ADL when there are no rivers of blood between us. Jack and I both have a great many friends in both communities and have been impressed with the evidence of Minister Farrakhan’s willingness to seek reconciliation. It would be a shame if there might be a missed opportunity here. Can you help?
The Final Call -- October 22, 1996
ANSWER TO CRITICS
A response to comments made by Jack Kemp
By Minister Louis Farrakhan
(Editor's note: Last month Republican Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp made complimentary remarks about Min. Farrakhan and was called to explain himself before presidents of 12 powerful Jewish organizations. During the meeting with 12 presidents, Mr. Kemp challenged Min. Farrakhan to denounce anti-Semitism. Contrary to some media mis-reports, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan recently responded to comments made by Kemp. The Minister's response was made Sept. 28 during his keynote address at the National Convention of the Oppressed in St. Louis. Those remarks are printed below.)
When I was out of the country the Vice Presidential candidate, Mr. Jack Kemp, said some kind words about Farrakhan and my work. He committed a cardinal sin, because you are not even supposed to recognize the good that God blesses me to do.
Twelve presidents of the major Jewish organizations called Mr. Kemp on the carpet and beat him up. I think these are the same twelve presidents that met with Boutros Boutros Ghali of the United Nations and told him that if he quieted down his criticism of Israel when they were bombing Southern Lebanon they would guarantee that America would pay the U.N. the billion dollars that America owes. Mr. Clinton just went to the U.N. and promised to pay. Was that because of these twelve presidents? Well, don't beat up on Mr. Kemp.
I hope to come to New York. I would be glad to sit down with the twelve presidents. I don't think that they are the twelve disciples of Jesus.
You don't have to talk about me. Talk to me. That is the manly thing to do. Jack Kemp said that he wanted Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam to denounce anti-Semitism. Let me say frankly, I denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms, and anybody, who would hate Arabs, Jews, or any people because of their faith or color, I denounce that. It is easy for me to denounce anti-Semitism, because I know that in the eyes of God I am not that. I am critical of the conduct of some members in that community that ill effect my people and that ill effect this nation. I have a right to speak as I speak without being called anti-Semitic.
After all, there are none of us that are so sacred that we cannot be criticized. Particularly, if God says He makes all things new. He has justified why He is making all things new by condemning the things that presently exist.
You criticize me and I don't call you anti-Black. I criticize government, but I am not anti-Government. I criticize America, but I am not anti-America. I criticize white people and I am not anti-White. I criticize Arabs, but I am not anti-Arab. I criticize Blacks, but I am not anti-Black. I am critical of those things that God Himself has Judged and Condemned and I want all of us to come into the favor of God. So, I cannot hold my tongue because you will feel offended. If something I say of truth steps on your toes, then, straighten up your life. I am trying to straighten up mine so that we can come into the favor of God.
The Federal Reserve must come back under Congress. The IRS should either be abolished or altered and a proper taxing situation should be set up. The mis-use of American soldiers for the greed of corporate America must cease.
Excerpts from October 12 "Evans & Novak" Show:
ROBERT NOVAK: Jack Kemp, several weeks ago you challenged Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, to denounce anti-Semitism. You said the ball is now in his court. This week, in his publication, Mr. Farrakhan said, “I denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms and anybody who would hate Arabs, Jews or any people because of their faith or color.” Is the ball now in your court? And how do you respond to that?
JACK KEMP: Well, I am -- I have, throughout my whole career, Bob, tried to play to role as a bridge for reconciliation, not only between black and white but between the African-American community and the Jewish community, to both of whom I have very close ties, in my whole career, whether it was professional football or now in politics. And I was pleased to see that statement. I would hope that there would be a response from the Jewish community. And that was a very positive statement.
ROBERT NOVAK: By Mr. Farrakhan.
JACK KEMP: Clearly the proof is in the pudding. And I hope, as do all Americans, that we can go into the next century with a better understanding in our national family between the African-American community and all its leaders and the Jewish community, as I would like to see between black and white. So clearly that was a positive statement. My hope would be that it would be something that people -- to which people could respond. And perhaps I might have played a small role in doing it. But I can’t possibly be the only one in the country to make a response.
ROBERT NOVAK: Do you see, sir, that you have a further role in brokering some kind of meeting between Jewish leaders and Minister Farrakhan?
JACK KEMP: Well, a long time ago, after the march, I asked my friend Abe Foxman, who has taken over for Nate Perlmutter, a long-time and dear friend of mine at the ADL, to respond to the message of the million-man march. And clearly that statement that you read is a very positive development.
Dr. Louis Sullivan, the author of the Sullivan principles for South Africa and a very dear and close friend of mine, said to me a long time ago, when I was in the Congress working with Bill Gray on behalf of this cause, that Kemp -- he told me that Jack Kemp could play a role as a bridge between the races and between religions. And I took that seriously. And I’ve been captain and quarterback of every team I’ve ever played for. I’ve always believed that we’ve got to have a country in which people can talk and reconcile these long differences -- long-held views and differences. So my hope is that the climate is more propitious today than it was two weeks ago.