Jewish Council won't protest Farrakhan visit

June 08, 1994|By James Bock | James Bock,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore Jewish Council said yesterday that it would not join a protest of black separatist Louis Farrakhan's expected attendance at a NAACP-sponsored summit here Sunday.

In a meeting yesterday, council officers decided with "absolutely no dissent" not to take part in the demonstration against the Nation of Islam leader, said Arthur Abramson, executive director. The council is an umbrella group for 50 Jewish groups and congregations in the Baltimore area.

"Tactically, media attention is exactly what practitioners of hatred and anti-Semitism want," Dr. Abramson said. "It gives them greater credibility in their own community."

While saying the council was "pained and concerned" that Minister Farrakhan, who espouses anti-Jewish beliefs, apparently would attend the summit of black leaders, Dr. Abramson said demonstrations against the Nation of Islam "in all likelihood will produce what is being condemned" -- more public statements of anti-Semitism."

"This may inflame and provoke, rather than attempt to help heal, the discord between the African-American and Jewish communities," he said.

Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish magazine, is to lead a protest at 2 p.m. Sunday outside the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's national headquarters in Northwest Baltimore as the black leadership summit is beginning.

In another response to the expected Farrakhan visit, Rabbi Avi Weiss, president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, will speak on "Hatred and the Nation of Islam" at 8 p.m. Sunday at Ner Tamid congregation, 6214 Pimlico Road. The talk is sponsored by People Against Hate, a Baltimore protest group; the Max & Irene Jacob Fund Against Anti-Semitism; and Ner Tamid's Adult Education Committee.

Rabbi Weiss also plans to join Mr. Lerner's protest and hold a prayer vigil outside the NAACP headquarters Sunday and at the World Trade Center, where Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is to hold a breakfast for summit participants Monday.

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