I hate to sound arrogant, but I feel it’s pretty safe to say, no one in Israel knows more about Muhammad Ali than I do.
If you name a year during Ali’s boxing career, I can probably tell you who he fought and what round he won (or lost depending on the year).
With that being said, I knew this day would come. I saw the video of Joe Frazier’s funeral in 2011 and saw how bad Ali looked and knew it wouldn’t be too long before “the greatest” left this Earth.
I also knew I would write an article about his legacy and pondered what I would say.
I recently saw an article on Arutz Sheva talking about Ali’s dislike of Jews.
Let me try to say this as politically correct as I can, Arutz Sheva is not the most professional news organization out there.
If you go to their radio website, I am still listed as a show host, despite the fact I have not done a show for them in over year. I mean when the head of the English radio department does not speak English you know its amateur hour, so let me really explain Ali’s legacy.
Did Ali say terrible statements, yes, but what people don’t realize, unless you’re an Ali expert likes your truly, is the fact Ali was full of tremendous contradictions…like all of us.
He would spew national of Islam white people are devil garbage, but yet his trainer Angelo Dundee was white, his main doctor Ferdie Pacheco was white and the man who really helped his career was Howard Cossell, a white Jewish man.
What I find fascinating about Ali is despite his inflammatory statements and inflammatory actions, he was and is loved by so many, even if you were in the group he criticized.
Whatever he may have said about white people, he was adored by white college kids. Consistently speaking at college campuses and communicating with them on a personal level.
Many of the boxers Ali beat (both physically and verbally) ended up becoming good friends with him. George Foreman said Ali and he became best friends in 1981, despite the fact in 1974 Ali knocked out Foreman in the 8th round of the Rumble in The Jungle.
Floyd Patterson, Henry Cooper, Ken Norton, Oscar Bonavena and Antonio Inoki were some of Ali’s opponents who became friends with him after he fought them.
Even Joe Frazier appeared on “It’s your life” after three vicious bought with the Louisville Lip.
Ali was considered un-American in the 60’s for refusing to fight in Vietnam, but was invited to the White House by President Gerald Ford in 1974. Many right-wing Americans grew to love Ali, respecting how he persevered to become champion three different times.
Perhaps this tells you there is more than meets the eye, or in this case the mouth.
How can a Jew be mad at Ali for saying black people should only marry black people, when we believe the same thing about our own people?
Can you be mad at Ali for saying white people are devils if you say “Shlo asani goy” every morning?
Can you be mad at Ali for being a separatist if you moved all the way to Israel so you can take part in a Jewish country?
Despite whatever mistakes Ali made, he constantly did charitable work and thanked G-D, even if he called G-D a different name than the name we give G-D.
A con man can pull the wool over the eyes of people for a short period of time, but I have a hard time believing they can do it for 50 years. If people loved Ali as much as they did, then he probably did something right in his life.
However, you can be the judge.
Listen to one of the finest interviews I ever conducted, as America’s finest writer Brin-Jonathan Butler talked about Ali on my show 18 months ago.