Last Friday night, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, in a speech he gave at a Detroit Baptist church, attacked what he called “Satanic Jews” and the “Synagogue of Satan,” claiming Jewish people control the news media, the Detroit Free Press reported. Farrakhan also said President Barack Obama “surrounded himself with Satan … members of the Jewish community.”
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Detroit Democrat, who was sitting in the audience, on Thursday apologized for Farrakhan’s antisemitic comments.
Conyers issued a strong statement distancing himself from those vile remarks, which had been blasted earlier this week by the ADL.
“Farrakhan made unacceptable racist, antisemitic and homophobic statements, which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Conyers said. “It was my expectation that Minister Farrakhan’s speech would focus on the many challenges facing the city of Detroit. In previous days, he had discussed efforts to revitalize our city by purchasing property and investing in blighted neighborhoods. Regrettably, he used this opportunity to promote views that have no place in civilized discourse.”
I must say I share Rep. Conyers’ frustration at the fact that the same man who is capable of giving such inspiring speeches like the one he gave before Detroit’s elected officials—it was a thrilling discussion of community empowerment, it was realistic and optimistic, and very much respectful of members of other faiths—that the same man would then turn around and sound, once again, like a racist thug, only a few hours later.
Frankly, Rep. Conyers, 84, who’s been serving in Congress seemingly since it opened (actually, only since 1965—this is his 25th term) didn’t need more excitement in his life. A series of scandals and family problems have taken their toll on the second-longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. His wife, Monica, former president of the Detroit City Council, is serving a 37-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to bribery conspiracy charges.
Some suggested that Conyers connected to his wife’s scandal, and it—and his newly drawn (by the Republican governor) district—made his most recent reelection bid very difficult, especially for a politician so used to running unopposed.
Conyers is considered an anti-Israel voice in Congress. He has been against Iran sanctions and against to U.S. funding of the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system. But I don’t think he’s so much an antisemite as he is a typical left wing Democrat who prefers to see the government concentrate on fixing things at home.
Conservative websites on Wednesday gave it good to Conyers for even attending Farrakhan’s speech. Drudge attacked him, and the ADA urged Conyers and other Detroit leaders to condemn Farrakhan’s remarks at the church ceremony, which is led by the head of the Detroit Branch NAACP, Rev. Wendell Anthony.
Conyers said in his statement: “The fact that Minister Farrakhan has engaged in important charitable work aimed at expanding economic opportunities for under-served communities does not excuse these statements. I sincerely offer my apologies to my constituents and others who also may have been offended by the minister’s words.”