LOS ANGELES -- Mayor Tom Bradley Sunday condemned a speech by Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan as anti-Semitic, and conceded that his private attempt to stop the minister from making inflammatory remarks was only a 'partial success.'
'The sad truth is that there were passages that contained undercurrents of anti-Semitism,' Bradley, who is black, said at a news conference. 'I repudiate racism, hatred, violence and bigotry wherever it occures. I make no exception. This includes Minister Farrakhan.'
Bradley's refusal to speak out against Farrakhan before the minister's speech at the Forum sports arena Saturday night ignited wide criticism against him, most from the Jewish community and elected officials including Gov. George Deukmejian, whose re-election the mayor is expected to challenge next year.
Bradley said he had tried, with the help of other black leaders, to persuade Farrakhan not to make anti-Jewish remarks during his stay in Los Angeles.
'I reasoned that if I simply joined the voices of others who all week long attacked Farrakhan before he spoke, surely he would be encouraged' to make inflammatory remarks, Bradley said.
'If on the other hand I tried an appeal for restraint, and if it worked, it would be a great victory for Los Angeles. It was a calculated risk.'
Bradley insisted that the minister had 'toned down his words' and avoided the 'harsh language' of earlier speeches, and thus, he said, 'I believe that the strategy (of quiet persuasion) was a partial success. I tried to do what I thought was right.'
Rabbi Allen Freehling, president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, denounced Farrakhan's remarks, saying they promoted division between Jews and blacks.
'Farrakhan suggests there is a contest between Muslims, Jews and Christians or between blacks and whites,' Freehling said. 'That invitation is an invitation of divisiveness that down the road leads only to continue to put black against white and Christians and Jews against Muslims.'
Farrakhan, whose Southern California visit drew criticism from several quarters including politicians and Jewish officials all week, told a predominatly black aueience that he had not come to the nation's second largest city to attack the Jews.
But moments later he insisted, in a comment that drew rousing cheers, 'I am declaring for the world that they are not the chosen people of God. I am declaring for the world that you, the black people, are.'
During his speech, Farrakhan made a mocking reference to Bradley's planned news conference, telling the crowd, 'The Jews have an iron grip on the politicians ... If the mayor comes out against me tomorrow, they'll say, 'Well, you waited too long.' You can't please these people.'
In another criticism of Jews, he said, 'Don't push your 6 million (Holocaust victims) when we lost 100 million (in slavery).'
Farrakhan also suggested that Bradley might be a better governor for California than Gov. George Deukmejian, who had called the Muslim leader 'a messenger of hate and bigotry' a few days earlier.
Farrakhan asked why Deukmejian was criticizing him instead of worrying about the problems of a state 'filled with homosexuals and degenerates.'
'Can you imagine the governor calling me a bigot?' he said. 'Mr. Deukmejian, I hope you are not as ill-informed about state matters as you are about me. We need a new governor, maybe Tom Bradley.'
Farrakhan heads the group POWER -- People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth -- which preaches that black people should be independent and own the communities in which they live. Several times during his speech, he urged blacks to unite economically and follow his leadership.