July 15, 2020
Antisemitism has stained the speeches and statements of Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan for decades. This past July 4 was no different, as Farrakhan delivered an address replete with antisemitic lies and stereotypes, and calls for his listeners to speak out against Jews.
His speech reverberated in the ensuing days among celebrities and garnered over a million views on social media. Louis Farrakhan may be the most popular antisemite in America, as his messages that espouse hate and division have been given a pass in mainstream society.
During his July 4 address, Farrakhan repeated the false claim that Jews are enjoined by their religion to poison prophets and that Jews had “broken their covenant relationship with God.” He referred to Jews collectively as “Satan” and the “enemy of God,” and claimed that white people “are born with lie [sic] and murder in their nature.” He encouraged listeners to “fight Satan the arch deceiver [and] the imposter Jews who are worthy of the chastisement of God.”
Farrakhan’s speech has been viewed over 1.2 million times (as of July 15) on numerous YouTube channels. One of the YouTube channels that live streamed the event was Revolt TV, a digital cable Network founded by Sean “P Diddy” Combs. (The video has since been removed.)
Combs, like other musicians, athletes and celebrities, continues to lend Farrakhan a measure of legitimacy by amplifying and supporting his well-established record of antisemitism and hate. According to the Nation of Islam newspaper The Final Call, several celebrities attended Farrakhan’s July 4 event, including Nick Cannon, Stephen Jackson, TI, 2Chainz, Rick Ross, Jay Electronica, Stephanie Mills and Syleena Johnson.
Indeed, several celebrities, including a few of the attendees, have since been embroiled in controversies surrounding their own expressions of antisemitism and embrace of Farrakhan:
- On July 4, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson expressed his agreement with Farrakhan’s July 4 speech and repeated his antisemitic sentiments in several posts on Instagram. In one post, Jackson wrote that Farrakhan “spoke facts” during the speech. In another, Jackson included a screenshot of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler that Black people are the “real Children of Israel and to keep Americas [sic] secret,” and that Jews will “blackmail [and] extort America.” After outcry and condemnation, Jackson apologized for his statements and has committed to educating himself on these antisemitic tropes and conspiracies. The Eagles fined Jackson for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
- On July 8, former National Basketball Association player Stephen Jackson, who attended the July 4 speech in person, came to DeSean Jackson’s defense for repeating Farrakhan’s message, and doubled down on other antisemitic messages in a post on Instagram Live. Jackson repeated the antisemitic canard that “the Jews are the richest” people, adding “You know who the Rothschilds are? They control all the banks. They own all the banks.” According the Nation of Islam’s newspaper, Stephen Jackson told a reporter after the July 4 speech that Farrakhan’s message was “what I needed.” He added that Farrakhan is “[my] teacher, he is my leader, and I needed this to continue to keep this fight and to lead the right way.” On Instagram, Jackson shared photos of himself with members of NOI and the caption: “I heard nothing but love, strength, knowledge and power today from the minister. Was everything and more. To all those that said he teaches hate I hope u tuned in he addressed all the nonsense that be on my page today.”
- Nick Cannon, a rapper and actor who has become a radio and TV host, also attended the July 4 Farrakhan speech. Less than a week earlier, he posted on his YouTube channel a recorded interview from August 2019 in which he defended Farrakhan and voiced his own antisemitic sentiments. The full August 2019 interview remains available on Cannon’s YouTube channel, and has been viewed 334,000 times. ViacomCBS fired Cannon after reviewing the interview.
- Rapper TI and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris, also attended the July 4 speech and praised Farrakhan’s message in The Final Call. “Every time I hear the Minister speak, he’s always extremely honest, poignant and his words [are] immensely powerful because of the honesty that he dares to speak from.” TI said. “I was honored to be here, I was completely honored by the invitation as I always am and the message was necessary.” TI’s wife agreed, adding that the speech was “the most powerful thing...and I really appreciate being here.”
- Syleena Johnson, an R&B singer and co-host of “Cocktails with Queens,” a talk-show on FOX Soul, who also attended the July 4 speech, posted on her Instagram account a photo of herself and Farrakhan’s son, Mustafa Farrakhan, saying that the speech was “Epic. One for the books. I thank God that I was able to bare [sic] witness to it.” During the June 1 episode of “Cocktails with Queens,” Johnson promoted the July 4 speech and said that she believes Farrakhan is “able to make an impact because in my eyes this is my personal experience, he has been the only one that has organized black men and has promoted black men in such a singular way and it’s something that we need right now.”
- On July 14, former NBA player Allen Iverson posted a photo of himself on Instagram with Farrakhan. Stephen Jackson commented, “I love you bro.” DeSean Jackson is among over 100,000 people to like the post.
Prior to Farrakhan’s July 4 speech, comedian and author Chelsea Handler shared a 10 minute video on Instagram of Farrakhan on The Phil Donahue Show in 1990. She wrote in her June 14 post, “I learned a lot from watching this powerful video.” Handler eventually removed the video and issued an apology. Also in June, rapper and actor Ice Cube, who has had a relationship with Louis Farrakhan and NOI dating back to the 1990s, used Twitter to elevate Farrakhan.
Farrakhan’s vitriolic antisemitism is but one part of the NOI’s larger anti-Jewish propaganda campaign. The NOI uses its programs, institutions, publications, and social media to disseminate its message of hate.
Just this past weekend, Ishmael Muhammad, who is widely considered to be Louis Farrakhan’s second-in-command, took to the podium at the Nation of Islam’s Mosque Maryam to continue promoting the antisemitic conspiracies and vitriol that Farrakhan has been espousing for decades.
In his sermon, which was streamed live on YouTube and has been viewed more than 30,000 times as of July 15, Muhammad appeared determined to sow division between Jews and African Americans. Muhammad repeated in vivid detail the antisemitic canard that Jews were responsible for the transatlantic slave trade. ‘Jewish merchants owned, insured, and financed slave ships and outfitted them with chains and shackles,’ he said. ‘Jews were the slave auctioneers, the brokers, the wholesalers keeping the slave economy oiled with money…there were rabbis who owned, rented, and sold slaves and denounced abolitionists…and they sold to plantation masters everything from slaves, to drugs, to whips, shackles, and chains.
Muhammad also took aim at the NAACP, arguing that Jews founded the organization in the early 1900s in order to undermine other African American leaders and spy on the group for the U.S. government. “You’ve always been guilty of spying on us,” Muhammad added. He also claimed that in the 1970s Jews helped “cripple Black progress in every field,” and “forced millions of Black out of employment in the skilled trades.”
Ishmael Muhammad also claimed that modern Jews are “slave masters” and “slum lords” who prey on Black people financially. Muhammad argued that Jews have “a devalued view of blacks” as well as other people of color because they “allow us to suffer.” He also repeated the antisemitic canard that Jews are responsible for “all the filth that comes out of Hollywood and perverts the minds of the American people.”
Ishmael Muhammad is considered by some to be Farrakhan’s most likely successor.