‘Respect’: Rabbi defends Muslims, Palestinians at Ali’s memorial

Rabbi Lerner: ‘We will not tolerate politicians or anyone else putting down Muslims and blaming Muslims for few people’

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People on social media hailed a speech by an American rabbi defending Muslims and Palestinians with some Twitter users giving him “respect” while others described his words as “dropping gems” at Muhammad Ali’s interfaith memorial in the legend’s home city of Louisville, Kentucky.


Rabbi Michael Lerner, a political activist and editor of the Jewish magazine Tikkun, brought the crowd to its feet four times with a fiery speech.

Rabbi Lerner, who was representing Jewish Americans, expressed his community’s solidarity with the African American “struggles,” and “today we stand in solidarity with the Islamic community in this country and all around the world.”

He added: “We will not tolerate politicians or anyone else putting down Muslims and blaming Muslims for few people.”

He also called on the “United States to stand up to the part of the Israeli government suppressing Palestinians.”

The rabbi said Jews “understand that our commitment is to recognize that God created everyone in God’s image, and everyone is equally precious, and that means that the Palestinians people as well as other people in this planet.”

Of course, the rabbi paid his tribute to Ali.

He said: “Ali stood up to immoral war, risked fame to speak truth to power. The way to honor him is to be like him today,” in reference to the champ’s refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War - a stand that cost him his boxing title.

Ali was laid to rest in his hometown Friday after an all-day send-off that was a lot like Muhammad Ali himself - serious at times, but also exuberant, bracingly political, and funny.

Ali made one final journey through the city he adored via a fist-pumping funeral procession through the streets of Louisville. The burial was followed by a star-studded memorial service where the boxing great was eulogized as a brash and wildly charismatic breaker of racial barriers.

(With AP)

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