Rabbi at Ali funeral draws multiple ovations with message of social justice


Muhammad Ali, a prominent fighter for social justice, certainly would have loved the eulogy given by rabbi Michael Lerner at the boxing legend's funeral in Louisville on Friday.

Lerner, who lives in Berkeley, California represented the Jewish faith at the funeral, and drew several standing ovations as he touched on everything from income inequality and racism to campaign financing and drone warfare.

And as three-time world heavyweight champion Ali was farewelled, Lerner's remarks drew a loud response at the public memorial service.

"Tell the one per cent who own 80 per cent of the wealth of this country that it's time to share that wealth. Tell the politicians who use violence worldwide and then preach nonviolence to the oppressed that it's time for them to end their drone warfare and every other kind of warfare, to close our military bases around the world, to bring the troops home," he said.

"Tell those who invented mass incarceration that it's time to create an -- a living income for everyone ... Tell judges to let out of prison the many African-Americans swept up by racist police and imprisoned by racist judges."

Lerner added: "Tell our elected officials to imprison those who authorize torture and those who ran big banks and investment companies that caused the economic collapse of 2008.

"Tell the leaders of Turkey to stop killing the Kurds. Tell Israeli prime minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu that the way to get security for Israel is to stop the occupation of the West Bank and help create a Palestinian State.

"The way to get security is for the United States to become known as the most generous and caring country in the world, not the most powerful."