Analysis: Louis Farrakhan is not a fringe lunatic; he is dangerous

Over the years, the charismatic Farrakhan would speak to African-American crowds without a filter, letting them know that it’s OK to hate, especially if their hatred is directed at the white man and Jews.

By Rashi Rosenzweig

Louis Farrakhan believes himself to be the sole advocate and leader of black people in the U.S., and even on a global scale. Unlike many radical or reactionary leaders, he’s very articulate and probably the most charismatic of them all.

His manner of speech is very attractive, intelligible, eloquent, and intriguing. It’s easy to see how black people from all walks of life could get hooked by his words. Additionally, Farrakhan is very relatable: He was raised by a single mom and doesn’t know much about his father, and he and his family struggled financially while he was growing up. He’s also very talented; he’s an excellent violinist and doesn’t have a bad voice.

Over the years, Farrakhan would speak to African-American crowds without a filter, letting them know that it’s OK to hate, especially if their hatred is directed at the white man and Jews.

Regarding the Jews, his mad obsession is very plain. Think about it: How many rabbis on any given Shabbat spend more than a fraction of a second discussing Farrakhan or the Nation of Islam? But all Farrakhan talks about is Jews. He’s not only madly obsessed with Jews, but his hatred likely stems from his deep jealousy of us.

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Jewish congregations throughout North America and the rest of the world boast scientists, lawyers, CEOs, Nobel Prize winners, etc. But how many of those can the Nation of Islam claim?

Many people dismiss Farrakhan as a fringe lunatic — but that is a very dangerous game.

In Germany during the 1920s, people had the same dismissive attitude about a homely, lonely, unsuccessful artist from Austria, who was also raised by a struggling single mom following the death of his father. Hitler may have been a loser in art school, but he had the art of rhetoric down pat. His words hypnotized and mesmerized the masses on a grandiose scale, very similar to what Farrakhan does today.

People need to understand how monumental tragedies such as the Holocaust begin. It is not with ruthless beatings and murder at the outset; their origins are much more subtle. They begin with words; they begin with articles in the local newspaper seasoned with age-old anti-Semitic jargon; the next step is speeches in front of small crowds, which lead to speeches in front of larger crowds. The slow burn of Farrakhan’s hatred is easy to ignore — until it’s too late.

Accepted warmly by supporters

Twisting public perception even more, Farrakhan is a celebrity of sorts. His interviews and televised speeches are accepted warmly by many of his supporters. At the funeral of Aretha Franklin, Farrakhan was not only an invited guest, but was seated at the dais with other dignitaries, including former president Bill Clinton. Astonishingly, nobody in the audience seemed to care.

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One of the leaders of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory, when asked about Farrakhan’s racist and anti-Semitic remarks, tends to downplay and even ignore the questions. She has even gotten flustered and frustrated because she sees nothing wrong with him. She doesn’t understand why his views against Jews — whether or not she agrees with them — would be at all relevant.

At best, Mallory has stated that she “doesn’t agree with everything that Minister Farrakhan states.” Yet at the same time, she aligns herself with him and enjoys a close mentor/student relationship with him. Needless to say, Mallory has yet to criticize her beloved mentor for his blatantly ugly antisemitic speech.

There is always someone who pushes the envelope. It begins with shaming on social media, then verbal abuse in public. Before you know it, it leads to outright assault. In recent years, anti-Semitic violence has increased dramatically throughout Europe and America. Even on the streets of New York City, which has been a haven for Jews for well over a century, Jews have been harassed and attacked.

The most recent horror, the massacre at a Conservative synagogue in Pittsburgh, was the result of the culmination of race-baiting that is now commonplace among enemies of the Jews on the right and the left.

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One thing is certain: Somebody needs to confront Farrakhan on his claims and beliefs and publicly shame him for preaching hatred. This is the first step in neutralizing the strife that he’s nurtured over the decades. Farrakhan isn’t just a nutjob; he’s dangerous. And if he isn’t confronted, this danger will only grow.

Rashi Rosenzweig was born and raised in Belle Harbor, New York, and has lived in Ra’anana, Israel for over 20 years.