Two people, same dreams

Two people, same dreams

On page one of this week’s Chronicle, we report that Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who is notorious for his anti-Semitic rhetoric, will appear at the new August Wilson Center, Downtown, Friday, March 11, for a town hall program.
Among Farrakhan’s, or at least Nation of Islam’s, claims about Jews is that we are somehow responsible for slavery and the “black genocide.” This is contained in his new book Nation of Islam is putting out titled “The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews.”
We were curious, so we took a look at some pages from the book, which are posted online. Yep, the slavery accusations are there.
So are several bulleted statements taken from Jewish publications over the years that say the Nation of Islam is anti-Semitic (they apparently disagree).
One of those quotes is from — you guessed it — The Jewish Chronicle, 1963 to be exact:
“The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh labeled the NOI ‘the anti-Semitic Negro extremist group known as the Black Muslims,’ the book says.
That’s the extent of the quote, no context, no explanation.
We searched our archives, but couldn’t find the quote. No matter, we did find lines from other stories from 1963 where the wording is similar, so we’ll assume the quote is accurate.
With that in mind, here’s a shout-out to our Chronicle staff of yesteryear: Nice job fellows!
The stories the Chronicle ran that year were accurate and true — Nation of Islam has been guilty of some of the most hate-filled, vicious anti-Semitic statements and claims in American history. So perhaps many Jews are anti-Nation of Islam, the same way they are anti-Nazi. Can you blame them?
But we’re not anti-black. If anything Jews have walked in black people’s shoes, and they in ours.
Here’s a passage from a 1963 Chronicle editorial that Nation of Islam chose not to reprint:
“We believe Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the National Association of Colored People, says correctly that Negro anti-Semitism, ‘is not virulent and exists among relatively few Negros.’”
Amen, we still believe that. Sadly, we also believe that many of those “relatively few” people of color who hold anti-Semitic views congregate under the Nation of Islam banner.
How else can you explain such a hate-filled and heartless statement such as this one by Malcolm X, which was reprinted in a April 19, 1963, Chronicle story about the Black Muslims (CBS news reported the quote first):
“When these Jews come up in your face, trying to get you to cry for them over what happened to them, you tell them you don’t have any tears left. You have shed too many tears for your own kind.”
That’s too bad, because Jews do have tears for those other than our own kind. We have reported many times in this paper about Jews rallying to the cause of Darfur refugees who have been rousted from their homes, robbed, raped and murdered by their fellow citizens of Sudan.
And, yes, Jews stood with blacks during the Civil Rights movement, risking their very lives — in some cases giving their lives — for the cause. Cases in point: the freedom riders and walking with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery.
Russell Simmons, a blogger for the Huffington Post and founder of, said it very well: “So for generations, Jews and Blacks have marched together in the streets of Birmingham and Washington, and shared the stage at venues in Harlem and elsewhere. Our two communities are not afraid to stand side by side, continually defying those who would prefer to see us behind solitary bars and forgotten, not in front of cheering crowds.”
We’re disappointed that Farrakhan will appear at so prestigious a Pittsburgh cultural address, but when the program ends, nothing will change. Blacks and Jews are still two people forged by similar experiences and the same dreams.