ADL National Director Abraham Foxman
ADL National Director Abraham FoxmanFlash 90

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment with the members of Detroit City Council and local clergy who met with and embraced the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, during his visit to the city last week.

During his visit to Detroit, Minister Farrakhan was invited by Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, to address the Fellowship Chapel on May 17.  His speech, which was attended by U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Detroit City Councilmember JoAnn Watson, among other prominent city leaders, invoked hateful anti-Semitic canards and open racism.  Thus far, none of the leaders present for his remarks have publicly condemned Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, and several have praised him.

“Although we acknowledge the significant challenges that Detroit faces, providing a platform to an individual with a long history of promoting anti-Semitism and racism is not the solution,” said Heidi Budaj, ADL Detroit Regional Director.  “It is deeply disappointing that so many Detroit leaders are apparently so willing to turn a blind eye to Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism.  Where are the voices in our community who are willing to stand up and say no to racism and anti-Semitism?”

During his speech to the congregation at The Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, Farrakhan spewed hateful anti-Semitic invective, referring to “Satanic Jews” and the “Synagogue of Satan” supposedly controlling major institutions.  He expressed his love for President Barack Obama, but added that the president “surrounded himself with Satan...members of the Jewish community.”

As head of the Nation of Islam Minister Farrakhan has espoused bigoted and anti-Semitic rhetoric over the past 30 years.  In recent years, the NOI’s campaign to demonize Jews, whites, the LGBT community, and others has continued unabated. Not only have the recent speeches delivered by Farrakhan been among the most hateful of his career, but the organization’s media arm has also reinforced these messages through a range of anti-Semitic propaganda.