The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council is once again condemning Louis Farrakhan after he delivered another vehemently antisemitic speech, this time at the Nation of Islam Savior’s Day event in Chicago (February 28).  As always, his remarks were replete with vile messages of hate, perpetuating the myth of the “Satanic Jew” as well as several conspiracy theories blaming Jews for all of society’s ills.

The Nation of Islam, under Mr. Farrakhan’s leadership, continues to be one of the worst traffickers of antisemitic stereotypes in our country, publishing, promoting and selling volumes of blatantly anti-Jewish propaganda.  Along with Mr. Farrakhan’s abhorrent speech, we are troubled by the support expressed by Tamika Mallory of the National Women’s March leadership team after condemnation of his comments began to spread.  It does a great disservice to an organization created to combat discrimination, misogyny, and oppression when its leaders publicly support a racist like Farrakhan.

The Jewish community is extremely disappointed by the inadequate response of U.S. Representative Andre Carson to Mr. Farrakhan’s most recent public display of hate directed at Jews.  Representative Carson’s repeated refusals (Fox 59 interview March 11; Indianapolis Star interview reported March 13) to expressly and unequivocally denounce Mr. Farrakhan’s antisemitism is inconsistent with Representative Carson’s public record of opposing bigotry and hatred.  Jewish Hoosiers expect more from their elected officials, particularly one who claims to “be against all the -isms and phobias.”  Leaders and members of organizations from all sides of the political divide, including Representative Carson, must combat antisemitism with the same fervor they fight other forms of discrimination, and distance themselves from any organization that promotes the denigration of minorities, including Jews.

At such a challenging time for the Jewish community, with the FBI reporting that Jews are the number one victims of religiously motivated hate crimes, and with the Anti-Defamation League documenting substantial increases in antisemitic incidents (up 113% in the Midwest in 2017 compared to 2016), Farrakhan’s words and leadership must be confronted.

Centuries-old forms of Jew-hatred are simply not being adequately recognized or forcefully-enough condemned.  Perhaps more sinister is the cloaking of antisemitism in anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric.  If anything positive can come from the attention garnered by Louis Farrakhan and his supporters, it would be seizing the opportunity to raise awareness of how pervasive antisemitism is today in our country – and how easily it finds fertile ground.

The Indianapolis JCRC will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies to fight racism and discrimination.  We call on our partners in this battle to stand with us to fight the disease of antisemitism, which, when unchecked, has found a way to spread in every century with devastating consequences, not just for Jews, but for all peoples.  The world’s oldest hate must not be given sanctuary anywhere in today’s society.