Part of the course of any black, brown or other person of colour rising to any position of leadership is to weather accusations made by the inevitable Western establishment detractors. Usually, if they can’t pin any financial discrepancy or moral impropriety then such leader will be accused to have a bigoted and irrational hostility to a demographic the West purports to be in love with, it’s usually the Jewish people but could be others.
Contempt towards the Jewish people is anti-Semitism. Historically, this evil is associated with European political culture which ultimately manifested in the European holocaust in the early 1940s and took the lives of millions of European Jews. Some European Jews had seen a solution to European political cultural contempt for them by aligning with European imperialist elites with a view to transfer European Jews to an imperially administered colony in Africa or Asia. These latter Jews are referred to Zionists. Obviously not all Jews were enamoured with this “solution” to a hitherto a European political-cultural condition.
In 1917, British imperialism found a role for European Jewish-Zionist and issued the ‘Balfour Declaration’ to colonise Palestine. It did so not because it had admiration for Jewish people, but because British imperialist interests neatly dovetailed with Zionists ambitions for a homeland. With no thought given to the indigenous Palestinian Arab population which was well over 95%, the British imperialist solely and eventually created the social and military conditions for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of Britain’s Zionist entity in Palestine in 1948, i.e. Israel.
What Zionist and their supporters currently try to do is imply or state that anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-Semite. This is far from accurate. And, indeed, if a Jewish person doesn’t approve of the colonisation of Palestine and its attendant ethnic cleansing, then s/he is commonly referred to as a ‘self-hating Jew’. However, one of the people who is constantly being assailed with charges of anti-Semitism is the African-American leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam (NOI).
The Minister doesn’t engage in the sickening and twisted holocaust denial as is customary of an actual anti-Semite. On the other hand, he doesn’t avoid sensitive issues, such as that some Jews were very much involved in the trans-atlantic slave trade and also in the American plantations worked on by captured, kidnapped and enslaved Africans. The latter issue is not anti-Semitism, it’s a sensitive historical subject that does require sensitive wording as not to further inflame already existing sensibilities. Elite Jews collaborating with Western elites during slavery is no more a sensitive subject as elite Arabs collaborating with contemporary Western imperialism and Zionism. Indeed, the Minister has called out other communities, including Arabs, for opening businesses in African-American dominated communities and not putting anything back in – basically perpetuating an already dire situation.
In a speech given at Malcolm X College in the early 1990s, the Minister also categorically denied that he had referred to the Jewish faith as a “dirty religion” as he clarified he was talking about the “actions of the Israeli Government”.
Obviously, for those (always Zionists) who see Israel and the Jewish faith as one and same thing this would be considered anti-Semitism and it’s in their political interests to do so because labelling anyone criticising Israel as “anti-Semitic” greatly helps to shut-down any calls for justice for Palestinians and naturally shames people into silence.
But for the ethnic cleansing and general criminality of the Zionist state one only needs to follow the Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss and plenty of other human rights websites which excellently chronicle on a daily basis what British imperialism brought forth into Palestine.
Furthermore, in the same speech, the Minister continued with the following advice for his audience:
“For somebody that suffered as they [Jewish people] suffered under Hitler, to do to the Palestinians what they’re doing to the Palestinians is beyond me to know how you could have suffered that.”
Anti-Semites are revoltingly obsessed with denying the Jewish holocaust, not the Minister. Here, he clearly acknowledges the suffering Jewish people have been through. But most importantly and wisely, he continued with:
“So Brothers and Sisters we got to remember when our day comes, we who have suffered we must never give (vent[?]) that we have suffered to others when we’re in the position of power.”
The final point is essential because nations and empires come and go. No nation or empire remains in zenith forever. Again, for the Minister to point this out shows that he acknowledges that Jewish people have been victims of anti-Semitism and suffered immensely. Yet, at the same time, calls on his followers that although African-American history is also one of suffering, they must not end up as oppressors the way Zionists have. He, in effect, extols that one should not oppress in the name of previous suffering. This is not anti-semitism but the height of excellent religious guidance. It implies forgiveness, a virtue supposedly central to western understandings of Christianity.
In conclusion, the crux of the accusation must be addressed within the context of the NOI claim of the nature of the relationship between African-American and Jewish elites and not within the context of the history of Western, white supremacist, anti-Semitism which led to the holocaust.