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Louis Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan, who in the past has characterized Judaism as a “dirty religion,” recently tweeted, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” Many expressed shock, but this outrageous statement/denial has long been his signature.

Farrakhan has always been adamant that his anti-Semitic statements do not constitute “Jew-bashing.” “I have to tell the truth,” he once said. What is the truth? The Book of Revelations in the New Testament teaches, “Count the number of the beast…his number is 600, three score, and six.” According to Farrakhan, this beast is none other than “the symbol adopted by Jews and Zionists, the Star of David, which consists of two equilateral triangles…form[ing] six sides, six angles, and 60 degrees each.”

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“The true identity of the Satanic people,” he revealed, is the Jewish people. We are the Satanic “beasts” destroying the foundations of civilization.

Farrakhan claims not to be anti-Semitic. Indeed, he has said he cannot possibly be anti-Semitic because he “performed a full violin concerto of the Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn.” Moreover, Jews are “not Semites themselves,” he claims. They “adopted the faith of Judaism up in Europe…. They have nothing to do with the Middle East – they’re Europeans…not Semitic people. Their origin is not Palestine.”

Indeed, according to the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI), which Farrakhan has headed since 1977, only blacks – designated by the NOI as the “Original People” – settled and created the Middle East ancient illustrious civilization.

Farrakhan reportedly led chants of “Death to America!” on his recent trip to Iran. That, too, should not have elicited surprise. The NOI – which has presented itself as a variant of Shi’ite Islam and its founder, W.D. Fard, as the Mahdi (savior) – has long exhibited a strong attachment to Iran. It was Iran that issued the first stamp honoring Malcolm X, a longtime member and minister of the NOI.

According to Farrakhan and the NOI, after his death in 1933 Fard went to Japan to construct the “Mother Wheel” – a spaceship that supposedly contains 1,500 smaller spaceships, packed with incendiary bombs, which will be dropped initially on the United States and England. Why England? Because it issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, promising to support the restoration of the Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The United States for its part, the NOI assures us, will burn in a sea of fire for 390 years. After cooling for another 610 years, the saved – who are only black – will not even remember that the country ever existed. If Farrakhan therefore chanted “Death to America!” in Iran, he would have only been following in the tradition of foundational NOI tenets.

Similarly, Farrakhan’s recent statement in Iran blaming Jews for Iran’s conflict with Saudi Arabia – “Satan needs to divide Muslims and wants them to kill each other, while Allah tells us in the Koran to be united” – reflects a centuries’ old Islamic and NOI teaching that the Jews (or one particular Jew) caused the original Sunni-Shi’a split in the 7th century.

During his trip in Iran, Farrakhan also warned the U.S. not to pull “the trigger of war in the Middle East at the insistence of Israel.” That, too, was vintage Farrakhan. In 2012, he told 700 students attending the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference at the University of California, Berkeley, that “Israel [is] pulling America into another war.” His script barely changes.

Instead of expressing shock, therefore, commentators should immediately recognize and dismiss Farrakhan’s claims about Jews as only the latest incarnation of his anti-Semitic obsessions, and disregard his invariable denials of his hatred of the “Jewish neo-slavemasters” and “unrighteous” Jewish state.

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Dr. Eunice G. Pollack is the author of "Racializing Antisemitism: Black Militants, Jews, and Israel, 1950 to the Present" and co-editor of the two-volume "Encyclopedia of American Jewish History."