ABC7’s Chuck Goudie reported Wednesday the possibility of a coming together between the Jewish community and the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan. “The Anti-Defamation League seems open to a meeting with Farrakhan and Chicago mayor-elect Emanuel,” Goudie said.
The ADL’s regional director, Lonnie Nasatir, said that’s not so. Nasatir told me today that he had pitched a story to ABC7 highlighting Farrakhan’s intensified anti-Semitic statements, pointing to Farrakhan’s keynote speech last Sunday at a Nation of Islam event at the Allstate Arena. Nasatir said that Goudie got 80 percent of the story right, but was absolutely wrong on the possibility of a meeting.
Nasatir says on air, “It’s about time that we sit down with Minister Farrakhan.” But while he clearly says those words, Nasatir still claims that he talked to Goudie for 30 minutes and the words calling for communication with Farrakhan were "taken out of context." There would have to be a “seismic change” in Farrakhan’s rhetoric for such a meeting ever to be considered.
As I waited this morning to tape a radio interview with Charles Ellison, politics editor for theloop21.com in Washington, Ellison asked me about the meeting and we agreed it sounded unlikely. He argued that Farrakhan’s rhetoric has recently amped up—blaming Jews and Israel for the upheaval in Libya—as the Nation of Islam faces the possibility of losing money that it gets from Libya’s beleaguered leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Attempts to contact Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and Nation of Islam spokesman Ishmael Muhammad were not answered by post time.
UPDATE: Chuck Goudie maintains that the quote from Lonnie Nasatir was not taken out of context and he offers this excerpt from the transcript of his interview as evidence:
GOUDIE: What would you recommend to the mayor-elect in terms of responding to what a citizen of his city [Farrakhan] has said about his religion?
NASATIR: If I were giving counsel to the mayor-elect I would say that it’s about time that we sit down with Minister Farrakhan to explain to him that if his goals are to bring communities together by coming out and doing what he’s been doing in terms of attacks against certain communities including the Jewish community and the gay community it is not something that Chicago needs right now.
GOUDIE: So do I hear in there that there is an invitation to sit down with him and with the mayor or whoever might want to do it?
NASATIR: Invitation? We’d be willing to express our concern at what this kind of
language can do, sure.
GOUDIE: Has there ever been an invitation offered to him to come in here and do that or to sit down with any group?
NASATIR: I can’t speak to my position. I have not reached out. I have certainly talked openly about my concerns but I have never been approached to sit down.