Issue 140 - June 2 2005



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In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Million Man March, Minister Louis Farrakhan has announced the creation of the Millions More Movement. The Millions More Movement includes Russell Simmons, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dorothy Height and Julianne Malveaux among its supporters.

Farrakhan is still a lightning rod for controversy. As soon as the Millions More Movement was announced Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, chimed in and asked black leaders to disassociate themselves from any involvement with Farrakhan: "When will someone in the African-American community stand up and say that the Million Man March had a positive message, but the pied piper is a racist and anti-Semite?"

Perhaps that will happen as soon as someone points out that Foxman is a hypocritical, ethically challenged, influence peddler.

The responses to Foxman’s criticism were entirely predictable. Al Sharpton called the remarks a “distraction” and added “… we should not allow other people to define and denounce what we’re about.” Russell Simmons wrote to Foxman and called him “misguided, arrogant and very disrespectful of African Americans.” Aside from the snide but amusing remark that Foxman had “single handedly caused millions of persons to flock to see the Passion of the Christ,” Simmons letter did little to tell Mr. Foxman why he should butt out.

Sharpton and Simmons should be able to think of more biting criticisms, if they bother to respond at all. It doesn’t really matter if Foxman doesn’t like the Million Man, Millions More or Million Dollar march. He is irrelevant and so is anyone else who doesn’t understand the appeal of a nationalist message in the black community. Few will admit it now, but there was more nay saying than support among black leaders in the days proceeding the Million Man March in 1995.

In the ten years that have elapsed since the Million Man March a presidency was stolen through the disenfranchisement of black voters and the government is committed to waging a never ending war against the rest of the world. The media is more deeply compromised by corporate interests and the triumphant right wing is making good on its long held fantasy: America of, by, and for the wealthy. Farrakhan may draw an even larger crowd in 2005 than he did in 1995.

Irrelevant or not, Foxman has a long history of displaying easy virtue and should be an easy target for critics. The same man who is apoplectic about Farrakhan “welcomed” the election of the new pope, Benedict XVI, who was a member of the Hitler Youth.

“Though as a teenager he was a member of the Hitler Youth, all his life Cardinal Ratzinger has atoned for the fact. In our years of working on improving Catholic-Jewish ties, ADL has had opportunities to work with Cardinal Ratzinger. We look forward to continuing that relationship,” said Foxman.

Jews usually have a big problem with former Nazis, atoning or not. If the former Nazi becomes powerful, all is forgotten and forgiven.

Abraham Foxman took a bribe from a crook, Marc Rich, and used his influence to get Rich a presidential pardon. The ADL honored the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, after Berlusconi made apologies for Benito Mussolini’s fascist terror. Not to be out done, Foxman joined the New York Times in twisting the words of the Dalai Lama, giving the impression that a peace loving man supports permanent warfare.

The ADL’s decision to honor Berlusconi was a particularly disgraceful one. Berlusconi was quoted as saying that Mussolini was a “benign dictator” who “never killed anyone” – he would only “send someone on holiday in internal exile.”

When Italian Jewish groups expressed dismay they got the back of Foxman’s hand. Tullia Zevi, past president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities had this to say. “To celebrate a man who has said these things is insulting the memory of these people who suffered under these times."

Ms. Zevi didn’t get it. Berlusconi supports the Israeli government, and the occupation of Iraq. If he made comments minimizing the suffering of Jews and others under the Mussolini regime, she was supposed to get over it and keep quiet.

Foxman is so committed to influence peddling that he has formed alliances with right wing Christian groups who believe that the rapture, which will spell the end for all non-Christians, is imminent. Their inherently anti-Jewish beliefs don’t matter to Foxman and his ilk, as long as they toe the proper political line.

Despite their drama with Foxman, Simmons and Sharpton have not managed to engage him in any meaningful way. If they want to respond, here are a few suggestions for the tongue-tied leadership.

“Farrakhan never took a bribe from a crook.”

“Farrakhan doesn’t honor fascists.”

“Unlike Foxman’s allies, Farrakhan doesn’t think that Jesus will return and kill the Jews.”

At this late date in history, black Americans should not be in the position of justifying who they follow or why. If Farrakhan returns to numerological references or offensive remarks we can use Foxman’s line about Berlusconi. He is a good – but he is also a flawed – friend.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City.  She can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at

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