Ministry of Lies: The Truth Behind the Nation of Islam's the Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews

Harold Brackman, Author Four Walls Eight Windows $10 (160p) ISBN 978-1-56858-016-6
In October 1991, the Nation of Islam's Historical Research Department anonymously published The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, a book claiming to use ``the most respected Jewish authorities'' to charge Jews with ``monumental culpability'' in the slave trade. At the behest of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Brackman, a professor of African American history at UCLA-Riverside, analyzed the book that Louis Farrakhan touted in lectures, on radio and on TV. Brackman effectively refutes The Secret Relationship's central charges that Jews dominated not only the Atlantic slave trade but also medieval European slavery. In the process, he makes no claims of Jewish moral superiority (although he mentions rabbinic prohibitions against sex with slave girls and Maimonides's quote, ``He who increases the number of his slaves increases sin and iniquity in the world'') but rather emphasizes the fact that Jews were frequently barred from participation. He then goes to The Secret Relationship's real purpose: a clearly political rewriting of history aimed at reflecting blame away from Muslim nations. (As Brackman points out, Saudi Arabia did not outlaw slavery until 1962, Oman until 1970.) Throughout, Brackman considers the toll that anti-Semitism takes not only on Jews but also on African Americans. For them, he says, the American dream of equality and achievement ``remains a dream significantly denied or at least deferred.... Their grievances are real and their frustrations deserving of understanding. What they need, however, is not scapegoating but solutions.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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