Ignoring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday welcomed the army of men dispatched to the streets by Farrakhan to stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods.
Farrakhan has a history of making anti-Semitic statements, Chicago’s first Jewish mayor has no interest in revisiting that controversy.
For the last two Mondays, black men in dress suits and bow ties fanned out across violence-plagued Chicago neighborhoods — first Auburn-Gresham, then South Shore — to form a human wall of protection against any sudden outbreak of gunfire.
The army of men, know as the Fruit of Islam, were led by Farrakhan, who ordered the show of force in response to last month’s brutal murder of seven-year-old Heaven Sutton.
Emanuel’s decision to steer clear of Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks is a far cry from the 1994 controversy that followed former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s private meeting with Farrkakhan.
During the meeting, Daley prodded Farrakhan to work out his differences with Jewish leaders in talks arranged by the Commission on Human Relations. Daley even hinted that if those conversations did not take place, the Nation of Islam would have trouble winning the city approval needed for its planned development along the 79th Street commercial strip.
Jewish leaders refused to engage in the dialogue. They were so concerned about the mayor’s private meeting with Farrakhan they demanded an audience of their own to clear the air. Daley used that meeting to deny ever suggesting the give-and-take.
“There’s been a rather longstanding pattern where Minister Farrakhan has talked about wanting dialogue. There have even been a couple of instances where members of the Jewish community have met with him,” Michael Kotzin, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said at the time.
03/02/2011 Nation of Islam leader says his comments on Jews are meant “to pull the cover off Satan” and “Zionists dominate the US government and banks.”
May 27, 2010 JERUSALEM — White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s visit to Israel with his family was meant to smooth over tensions between the two countries, but right-wing Jewish activists cursing him as a “hater of Israel” did their best Thursday to disrupt the visit. The activists have pursued the Emanuel family across the country, attempting to deter them from celebrating the bar mitzvah, or Jewish coming of age, of Emanuel’s eldest son Zach Emanuel.