Ex-Farrakhan aide urges violence in S.F. State speech

Standing before an oversized swastika, a former aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spewed anti-Semitic and anti-white invective to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 400 at San Francisco State University, urging them to "use violence when necessary."

"I want to see a movie that shows us killing white folks so hard the blood is flowing into the popcorn," said the Farrakhan follower, Khalid Muhammad, on Wednesday of last week.

"After all, it's only a movie," he added, and smiled.

Muhammad pulled out all the old canards against Jews during his two-hour tirade on Zionism and even invented some new ones. While he never specifically ordered the audience to commit violence, his thinly veiled missives and clever turns of phrase did little to disguise his promotion of violent warfare against all whites, especially Jews.

He referred to "hook-nosed, bagel-eating, lox-eating, perpetrating-a-fraud so-called Jews" who promoted the slave trade, prostituted their own women and planted AIDS in Africa. Maintaining that "blacks are the true Hebrews," he said "so-called Jews" control Hollywood, the media and the Federal Reserve.

Muhammad claimed the Talmud promotes apartheid and black murder. He dubbed Israel a "criminal settler colony," and the Anti-Defamation League an "international spy and terrorist organization."

Rabbis, he said, his voice rising to a shriek, circumcise young boys by biting off their foreskins and sucking blood from their penises, "according to the Jerusalem Post."

Muhammad shifted from graphic epithets to comedy and Martin Luther King Jr.-style preaching as he glided across the stage in a dark, double-breasted suit and a striped bow tie in traditional Rastafarian colors. Four glaring bodyguards, in a kind of stiff square dance, kept pace with the fiery Muslim who, in a previous appearance, was shot onstage.

Another contingent of security men ringed the auditorium and guarded the exits.

Deputizing the audience into quadrants in case a gunman was among them, Muhammad urged, "Let's get ready to rumble. They may get me, but don't let them get away alive."

While some faculty say black-Jewish relations over the last year have been calm on a campus widely known for its anti-Semitic rhetoric, Muhammad's appearance followed a flare-up after another address the former Farrakhan aide delivered to a state conference of black student associations in April.

Members of the S.F. State Pan Afrikan Student Union had just returned from that conference when they booked the campus' McKenna Theater for the May 21 Muhammad visit. In a May 8 editorial, the college's newspaper, the Golden Gater, denounced PASU for retaining a known hate-monger with student body funds.

In the same issue, the newspaper reported that a statewide alliance of black student organizations had petitioned to remove PASU from its ranks for being too extreme.

Incensed by the article and editorial, PASU members allegedly dumped some 10,000 copies of the papers from newsstands. The harsh words have flowed from both sides ever since.

During Muhammad's speech, the mostly African-American crowd cheered wildly. Fans gave him a standing ovation and thrust their fists in the air to show solidarity.

"I grew up with him. I don't agree with the language, but he speaks the truth," said U.C. Berkeley graduate James Jones.

Kenyan emigre David Kironji said he wasn't too sure about Muhammad's message but agreed with him that whites try to divide the black nuclear family.

S.F. State student Edna Evans said she "loved it."

Many black listeners refused to talk with this Jewish Bulletin reporter, stating that they "don't talk to Jews."

The speech angered the handful of Jews in the audience.

Only 10 minutes into the speech, as Muhammad was denying the Holocaust, Irv Reuben, national chairman for the Jewish Defense League, began screaming, "Liar!" He was ushered out.

Reuben also was angry that PASU charged "discriminatory prices" for admission. Prices, printed on the tickets themselves, were $7 for students, $10 general admission and $15 for "racists." The JDL chair said he was asked at the door to pay $20 because he was a "Zionist."

Gadi Meir, a member of a San Francisco African-American and Jewish relations group called The Isaiah Project, managed to attend the event but found it difficult to listen.

"I am horrified," Meir said.

Jeff Santis, Peninsula director of the Jewish Community Relations Council added, "I felt like I was at a Nuremberg rally in 1936. The overwhelming majority of the people in the audience were supporting Nazism."

A Jewish listener who asked not to be named said Muhammad's S.F. State speech reached new lows in condemning Jews. It surpassed even the infamous 1993 address at Kean College in New Jersey that forced Farrakhan to dismiss him from his position as an aide.

Reaction on campus has been mixed. S.F. State President Robert Corrigan defended Muhammad's right to speak, but said his "misrepresentation of information" would earn him an "F" in class.

Black student groups have held anti-Zionist rallies since the speech, but they were thinly attended.

By week's end, campus Hillel provided the only levity, producing a satirical flier in which the group jokingly admits to controlling everything from campus affairs and prime-time TV to the weather and starting the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

"Everything that bothers you, everything that you feel is unjust, we've had some hand in," the flier read. "We're the monsters under your bed. We're your shadow when there is no sun…However, we're overbooked. We're looking for your help. If you have any suggestions as to how we should set Central American policy for the next five years, please dial our hotline: (800) Go Zion 1."

Jewish studies program director Laurie Zoloth-Dorfman didn't attend the speech, after faculty were "advised to stay home."

The Jewish teacher said the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric at S.F. State is somewhat similar to the casual anti-Semitism of 18th- and 19th-century Germany, which culminated in the Holocaust.

"We need to be alert to the moment that it could turn serious," she said.

Zoloth-Dorfman says she has been encouraged by the support of colleagues as well as non-Jewish students since Muhammad's visit. As a result of his speech, two students have decided to pursue minors in Jewish studies.

"Ninety-nine percent of the student body does not adhere to [the hate speech]," Zoloth-Dorfman said. "S.F. State doesn't want to be a 1960s theme park anymore. This is silly. It's narishkeit [foolishness]."

Lori Eppstein

Lori Eppstein is a former staff writer.