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article imageOp-Ed: Peter Rosenberg, Louis Farrakhan, and Kanye West

By Layne Weiss     Dec 19, 2013 in Politics
New York - Earlier this month, Kanye West made some comments during a radio interview that the Anti-Defamation League denounced as "classic antisemitism."
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, Kanye discussed the obstacles President Obama has faced in office."Black people don't have the same level of connections as Jewish people," he said.
More specifically: "Man, let me tell you about George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money,” West said. “People want to say Obama can't make these moves or he's not executing. That's because he ain't got those connections. Black people don't have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don't have the same connection as oil people."
The ADL said Kanye's comments were antisemitic.
“If the comments are true as reported, this is classic anti-Semitism,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a press release. “There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government. As a celebrity with a wide following, Kanye West should know better. We hope that he will take responsibility for his words, understand why they are so offensive, and apologize to those he has offended.”
Minister Louis Farrakhan issued a statement last Saturday telling Kanye he didn't owe the Jews an apology and that he shouldn't "bow to Jewish pressure."
"Did he lie?" Minister Farrakhan asked in his weekly address. " No. He told the truth."
Do I think Kanye is antisemitic? No. I'm not sure anyone really thinks that. I think he's stupid. I think he puts his foot in his mouth. A lot. And as Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg said this morning, not only was Louis Farrakhan probably not the best person to come to Kanye's defense, Kanye really didn't need to be defended.
Rosenberg said he agreed with the minister that Ye didn't have to apologize to the Jewish community for his comments. I agree too. I don't necessarily agree with his "don't bow to Jewish pressure" comment. I don't like how that sounds, "Jewish pressure." But Peter Rosenberg and I share the same sentiment on that in general.
As fellow Jews, Mr. Rosenberg and I are on the same page.
Rosenberg then went onto say that Louis Farrakhan defending Kanye West is like George Zimmerman releasing a video defending a cop accused of police brutality.
His co-host, Cipha Sounds went onto compare Farrakhan's defense to to the cops who beat Rodney King making a YouTube video.
Rosenberg then goes onto say that he has love for Minister Farrakhan, but he shouldn't have gotten involved in the issues between Kanye West and the ADL.
The segment ends with program director Ebro Darden mocking Minister Farrakhan.
So, a representative for Minister Farrakhan, New York Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad calls into the show to defend Minister Farrakhan.
He says what Kanye said was the truth, and that the major issue here was the skit mocking Minister Farrakhan. Minister Muhammad then goes onto say Minister Farrakhan and the Nation Of Islam are not antisemitic.
Peter Rosenberg says he has a great relationship with Minister Farrakhan and the Nation Of Islam. But says "we have to admit Minister Farrakhan has used words that are offensive to the Jewish community." Brother Hafeez says he can't agree with that statement.
Rosenberg presents him with this quote said by Minister Farrakhan in 1998.
"The Jews have been so bad at politics, they lost half their population in the Holocaust. They thought they could trust in Hitler and they helped get the Third Reich on the road."
Brother Hafeez said he didn't know those really the words of Minister Farrakhan. Peter Rosenberg said that comment about the Jews and politics came up "several times" in the late 90s.
Like Peter Rosenberg, I don't think that Minister Farrakhan hates the Jews. We can both see the positives in some of what the Minister says. BUT as Jews, there are things he has said that make us "cringe."
For instance, in May of this year, at an event in Detroit, Minister Farrakhan made statements about "satanic Jews" and the "Synagogue of Satan."
In 2012, he was quoted by the ADL as saying “Did you know that the Koran says that Jews are the most violent of people. I didn't write it, but I'm living to see it.”
I wasn't there to see him say those things. And I know the ADL has the ability to take things out of context and make a big deal out of silly things. Kanye West's comments were silly. If Minister Farrakhan did indeed say these things, it's not so silly.
I don't know what kind of background Peter Rosenberg has. I went to Jewish Day School from Kindergarten to 8th grade. We had Hebrew teachers every single day telling us that we're the "Chosen People" and everyone else "hates us" or is "jealous of us." It was completely messed up! Luckily, I had parents who taught me differently. Even as a Jew, I could see how wrong it all was.
I stopped going to synagogue after a rabbi gave a sermon about all these awful things going on in the world. He kept saying "That is not the Jewish way." I said to my mom, "No, It's not the HUMAN way." I was so personally sickened. I never went back.
I was raised to believe in the good of all people, not just the Jewish people. I might be too idealistic for some, but I really want to meet and speak with Minister Farrakhan someday. If he's been misquoted, I want to know. If he's really said some of these things I want to understand why because like I said, I don't believe he hates Jews. I don't believe he thinks we're the spawns of Satan. I believe he is a good man. But there are quotes that are still hurtful.
I do not agree that everyone "hates us." I do not agree with the concept and foundation of Zionism. I certainly don't agree with any of Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies. And even as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I have written a few times on here about wishing I had learned more in school about other genocides. Up until grad school, I had pretty much only learned about the Holocaust. It's like what? We spend a week on slavery in middle school, IF that. And not very many people go to grad school, especially for what I did. So most never really learn about African genocide. And when we learn about the Holocaust, we learn about the Jews, not the Romanis.
I've gone totally off tangent and I've blabbered on enough. But to sum up, as Peter Rosenberg said, I agree with Minister Farrakhan that Kanye didn't owe anyone an apology. I believe the ADL blew things way out of proportion. I agree Minister Farrakhan is a good man with a good heart who doesn't hate the Jewish people, but he has made hurtful comments. And I would honestly just like to be able to understand him better. If there's a Jewish girl in this world, who COULD understand him, it's probably me. I'm open to all sorts of points of view. I'm extremely empathetic and I get it. As much as anyone in my shoes possibly can.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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