The NOI's Escalating Anti-Jewish Campaign
Support for Qaddafi
Posted: February 23, 2011
Louis Farrakhan has spent much of 2011 blaming "Zionists" for U.S. involvement in Libya and defending Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi against accusations of terrorizing his people.
Farrakhan has become increasingly outspoken since March, when a coalition of international forces launched a military assault in response to the Qaddafi regime's brutal and systemic violence against civilians. During speeches delivered across the country, Farrakhan has chastised the U.S. and the international community for intervening and alleged that the Obama Administration's decision to take part was driven by Zionist pressure.
Speaking at a March press conference he organized expressly to voice his opposition to Western intervention, Farrakhan charged that the President had been "engulfed" by nefarious forces promoting an imperialist, pro-Israel agenda. In June, he alleged that being "surrounded by people that are Zionist-controlled or Zionists" had led to the President's decision to get involved.
Farrakhan laid blame on the pro-Israel lobby even before any international action was taken. During his keynote address at the Nation of Islam (NOI) 2011 Saviours' Day convention in February, Farrakhan charged that Zionists were urging the U.S. to "mount a military offensive" against the Libyan leader.
Succumbing to outside pressure will have grave repercussions for Obama's presidency and for the U.S., according to Farrakhan. "The western world," he said during a June press conference, "will use you and in the end they will suck your blood. They have gathered like vultures and they will pick your blood as soon as they finish picking his."
Farrakhan has also repeatedly downplayed reports of Qaddafi's abuses against his people, claiming that the U.S. government and media have manufactured Qaddafi's reputation as a tyrannical dictator. "What has Muammar Qaddafi done to deserve what this united coalition of demons is putting on him?" Farrakhan asked in June, referring to the U.S., U.N. and NATO. "They say that he has lost the moral right because he has killed his own people. But you have never proved that charge."
Citing their longstanding relationship, Farrakhan indicated as early as February that he would resist pressure to distance himself from Qaddafi, whom he said "has always been my friend."
Farrakhan's associations with the Libyan dictator date back to at least 1996, when Farrakhan visited Libya as part of a 27-day tour of the Middle East and Africa. Since then, Qaddafi has addressed at least one NOI convention via satellite and the NOI has organized multiple events on his behalf, including a rally in support of his September 2009 visit to the U.N. The NOI has also received more than $8 million dollars in loans from Qaddafi over the years.
Though Farrakhan frequently discusses U.S. foreign policy during his speeches, Western intervention in the Middle East and North Africa been a primary focus of his in 2011.
The NOI's recent efforts in support of Libya and the Qaddafi regime extend well beyond Farrakhan's rhetoric. Since the military action in March, the NOI newspaper, The Final Call, has regularly published articles lambasting the U.S. for getting involved and at, times, blaming Jews for the decision to do so.
One such article, published in July by frequent contributor Tingba Muhammad, went to great lengths to defend Qaddafi while assailing President Obama as a "mouthpiece" for the "Zionist dragon" that seeks to control the oil-rich Middle East. Accusing Obama of caving to pressure driven by Zionist greed, Muhammad added, "Zionism, if we remember, is that gangster philosophy that pretends to follow Judaism, but in reality follows whichever raw material will make them the most money the quickest."
In a May article titled, "The Unholy Alliance between The United States and Israel," Final Call assistant editor Ashahed Muhammad, who has a long record of expressing anti-Semitic views, insinuated that Zionists and the pro-Israel lobby control U.S. foreign policy. Interviewed for the article, Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem-based anti-Israel writer/activist who frequently speaks in the U.S., accused Obama of pushing the nation into foreign wars, including in Libya, lamenting the fact that the "Israel first lobby… makes U.S. foreign interest captive."
The NOI has also become increasingly active in left-wing efforts to oppose U.S. action in Libya. Most notably, in June Akbar Muhammad, the NOI's International Representative and emissary to Africa, completed a six-city speaking tour called "Eyewitness Libya." Other featured speakers included former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who headlined the tour and who has been heavily involved in anti-Israel activity in recent years, and several representatives from the ANSWER Coalition, the antiwar group that coordinated the tour.
At the event in New York City, Muhammad indicated that he and McKinney had been "received" by Qaddafi during their visit to Libya in January and expressed gratitude for Qaddafi's longstanding support of the NOI. During her remarks, McKinney called Obama a "war criminal" and likened NATO restrictions on Libyan civilians to Israeli restrictions on Gazans, calling the policies symbolic of the "Israelization" of NATO. In advance of the events, tour organizers indicated that the tour aimed to reveal "the truth" about the U.S. relationship with Libya, which they claimed has been "concealed by the western corporate media."
The NOI is partnering with ANSWER and several other anti-war groups to organize a demonstration against international military action against Libya in August. The protest, which was announced at a press conference in New York in July, is being billed as the "Millions March in Harlem" event—a direct reference to the NOI's 1995 Million Man March in Washington, DC.