Obama's former pastor accuses Israel of practising apartheid

Rev Jeremiah Wright implored his audience to remember that "Jesus was a Palestinian," and claimed that Israel was practising apartheid.Reuters

Palestinians fighting to keep their homeland are facing "one of the most egregious injustices in the 20th and 21st centuries," a controversial pastor linked to President Obama claimed this weekend.

Rev Jeremiah Wright led Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago from 1972 to 2008, and was once Barack Obama's long-time pastor. The President resigned his membership of the church in May 2008 after intense media scrutiny of some of Wright's more controversial statements, including his assertion that the US government had "failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent" and should be damned.

Clips of that sermon were shown by some US news outlets in the run up to the 2008 Presidential election, causing Obama to distance himself from his former church leader.

This weekend, Wright spoke at the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington DC – a mass civil rights gathering of African-Americans organised by another leader no stranger to controversy, the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan.

In a passionate speech, Wright compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the racial divide in the US. "The youth in Ferguson and the youth in Palestine have united together to remind us that the dots need to be connected. And what Dr King said, 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere', has implications for us as we stand beside our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who have been done one of the most egregious injustices in the 20th and 21st centuries," he said.

Wright implored his audience of thousands to remember that "Jesus was a Palestinian," and claimed Israel was practising apartheid.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from the steps of the US Capitol at the rally billed as "Justice or Else".Reuters

"Apartheid is going on in Palestine. As we sit here, there is an apartheid wall being built twice the size of the Berlin Wall in height, keeping Palestinians off of illegally occupied territories, where the Europeans have claimed that land as their own," Wright said, according to The Hill.

"We are grateful to God to be able to be here and to speak a word on behalf of Palestinian justice. Palestinians are saying 'Palestinian lives matter.' We stand with you, we support you, we say God bless you."

Farrakhan, who has publicly made anti-Semitic comments, said black people in the US had been too quick to forgive their oppressors. "Find me a Jew who forgives Hitler. And they say they're the children of God, and they don't have no forgiveness in them."