'Farrakhan Rips Lieberman'
Jude Wanniski
August 14, 2000


To: Rupert Murdoch, publisher New York Post
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your “anti-Muslim” newspaper

You may remember getting a memo from me last month, Rupert, when I pointed out that your tabloid, the New York Post, repeated the canard that sometime, somewhere Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said “Judaism is a dirty religion.” I wrote a letter to the paper asking the correction be made, but the letter did not run and there was no correction. Yesterday, when I picked up my copy of the Sunday paper, I noted a headline on top of the front page which read: “Farrakhan Rips Lieberman.” On page 25, I found this story:

Unorthodox views. Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman has come under fire from a likely source: Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam head who has made anti-Semitic remarks in the past, questioned whether Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, would be more loyal to Israel than the United States.

"Mr. Lieberman, as an Orthodox Jew, is also a dual citizen of Israel," Farrakhan said. "The state of Israel is not synonymous with the United States, and the test he would probably have to pass is: Would he be more faithful to the Constitution of the United States than to the ties that any Jewish person would have to the state of Israel?"

Democratic and Jewish leaders were quick to condemn Farrakhan's remarks. "A leopard doesn't change its spots," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who called Farrakhan's comments "as absurd and anti-Semitic as I can imagine."

"For 12 years, I guess, Senator Lieberman has had loyalties elsewhere than the state of Connecticut," Foxman continued. Referring to the Nation of Islam leader, Foxman wondered, "This is the man who is complaining that we don't accept him, that we don't reach out to him, and that he's repented?"

"It's sad," he said. "And it goes on." Rick Hess, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said "I'm sure most Americans would repudiate those remarks." Lieberman was observing the Sabbath yesterday and couldn't be reached for comment. He scoffed at a similar question last week, saying that "in my work in the Senate, and if I am honored and fortunate enough to become the vice president ... my first and primary loyalty is, of course, to the United States of America."

Farrakhan once called Jews "wicked deceivers of the American people."

That’s what your editors and reporters came up with, Rupert. Here, though, is the press release sent out by the Nation of Islam after Minister Farrakhan was asked a question about Senator Lieberman in Los Angeles.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Comments on
Democratic Party's Selection of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D.-Conn.)

Calls choice of a Jewish Vice President a test for White America

LOS ANGELES--Is white America ready to have a Jewish vice-president, who is a heart beat away from being the President of the United States of America, was the question raised today by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during an hour-long, morning press conference held at the Radisson Hotel on Aug. 11. "If America answers that question well, then America has indeed matured," he said.

Currently on a nationwide tour in support of the October 16, 2000 Million Family March on Washington, Min. Farrakhan said that the country has to grow beyond its own anti-Semitism and called Mr. Lieberman's nomination "a great test for America."

When asked about Mr. Gore's choice for vice president, Min. Farrakhan offered the context in which a vice president should be chosen. "Really, the top consideration should be, should the evil accident of time or something unfortunate happen to the President of the United States, that the vice president in his experience and wisdom be able to step in and run the country," said the Nation of Islam leader. Most everyone believes that the Connecticut Senator has the ability to step in and run the country if anything should happen, he said.

Citing a comment attributed to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., the Minister said the choice of Mr. Lieberman shows the maturity of the Democratic Party in choosing a member of the Jewish faith to be the vice president. "That choice now, must be accepted by the American people" and that choice is not a problem of Blacks, but a test for whites, he said.

Mr. Lieberman, known for his conservative political views, needs to clarify his commitment, Min. Farrakhan said, on issues sensitive to Blacks such as affirmative action, charter schools and school vouchers. Min. Farrakhan reminded the gathering that four decades ago, President John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic to be nominated for president and the concerns of the public then, was whether or not he would be more loyal to the Vatican and the Pope, or to the Constitution of the United States. "Mr. Kennedy passed that test. Unfortunately, he was assassinated," Min. Farrakhan said.

Mr. Lieberman, as an orthodox Jew, is entitled to dual citizenship in both the U.S. and in Israel under the law of return. "The state of Israel is not synonymous with the United States," Min. Farrakhan said. "The test that he would probably have to pass is would he be more faithful to the Constitution of the United States than to the ties that any Jewish person would have to the state of Israel," he said. In addition, the Minister noted Mr. Lieberman's assertion, that the cornerstone of America's foreign policy is the security of Israel.

"Now that to me is significant," Min. Farrakhan said. Any Arab or Muslim country not in agreement with Israel under this kind of assertion may be interpreted as a threat to U.S. foreign policy. "Then America's foreign policy would lean toward ostracizing, vilifying or maligning those Muslim states," he said. Min. Farrakhan said that he hopes that if Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman become the President and Vice President of America, that a just and fair policy would come from the government of the U.S. toward Muslim states who may have some disagreement with Israel.

"If I were Jewish, and I saw a presidential hopeful, I would want to know what their position is on Israel. As a Black man and as a Muslim I want to know what your position would be with the Muslim states," he concluded. In addition to the Lieberman question, Min. Farrakhan spoke of the moral decay of America, the corporate buy-out of government, and the need to reconstruct the family and the restoration of family values. He also addressed at length the success of the 1995 Million Man March on Washington and explained the vision for this year's fifth anniversary of that march.

With a million families gathering on the Washington Mall, Min. Farrakhan said, armed with a National Agenda addressing policy issues and programmatic plans of action for a new century, it will leverage a new beginning for America, "if America is to survive," he said.

* * *

Now I have come to expect that Abe Foxman of the “Defamation League” would do everything he can to promote hatred of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan. He’s been doing nothing much else for the last dozen years since he became executive director of the ADL. But do your editors report about him or to him? If you did read the NOI press release, you will note Min. Farrakhan made every effort to be complimentary to Sen. Lieberman and to accept the consensus that if something happened to a President Gore, Lieberman was capable of running the country. The only question he raised, politely, was a legitimate one, given Senator Lieberman’s statements about the primacy of Israel in U.S. foreign policy. When the talk shows this weekend tried to get the Rev. Jesse Jackson to distance himself from Min. Farrakhan on this matter, Jesse actually stood by Farrakhan and said this was a concern raised by other black leaders.

I’m not writing another letter to your newspaper, Rupert, because the editors do not want to be bothered with my constructive criticism. You, though, are a man for whom I have great respect, both as a century-class entrepreneur and as a political philosopher. I’m sure you want to do what is right, but tend to believe what you read in the newspapers. If your reporters were serious about keeping track of what is going on in the black community instead of parroting Foxman, they would note the recent reconciliation of Min. Farrakhan with Elijah Muhammad’s son, Imam Warith Mohammed, after more than a generation of estrangement. They would also note the increased willingness of other black leaders to support the efforts of Min. Farrakhan in trying to repair the black family. A recent issue of the Final Call had a front-page photograph of Min. Farrakhan flanked by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.

And by the way, I did note that in the Post story, there was missing the assertion that Min. Farrakhan had once said “Judaism is a dirty religion,” or “gutter religion,” which had been a staple in the paper for many years. Maybe my memo to you did some good. I also notice they now have a new staple. He once called Jews “deceivers of the American people.” Notice the word “Jews” was left outside the quote marks, a sure sign the other words were taken out of context.

You may as well do something about this now, Rupert, as I will continue to bug you until the Post cleans up its act.