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Amiri Baraka Accuses ADL of Slander;
League Says Charges are "Absurd"
Updated: July 9, 2003

Amiri Baraka was stripped of his title as New Jersey poet laureate on July 2, 2003, when Gov. James E. McGreevey signed into law a bill officially eliminating the position. Baraka refused to apologize or resign despite the firestorm over his poem, "Somebody Blew Up America."

On October 2, 2002, he used his appearance at poetry reading in Newark to repeatedly attack the Anti-Defamation League for what he described as "character assassination" and "slander." At the time, ADL was one of the most outspoken critics of Baraka’s poem.

"Baraka's latest charges are absurd ," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said at the time. "Baraka continues to be the unrepentant anti-Semite that we always knew he was, and no amount of explanation can change the fact that he has bought into the big lie about September 11."

Baraka's poem, a lengthy diatribe about September 11, repeats the conspiracy about Jews and Israel having foreknowledge
Amiri Baraka:
In His Own Words
of the attacks and the false rumor that 4,000 Israelis did not show up for work at the World Trade Center. The poem has provoked national outrage and has prompted calls for the poet to resign from various government officials, including Gov. James E. McGreevey.

More on the controversy:
• ADL Praises Gov. McGreevey
• Read the Poem: "Somebody Blew Up America"
More on The Big Lie:
• ADL Urges Western Leaders to Denounce the Big Lie (9/10/02)
• "Blaming Jews for 9/11 Must Stop" -- op-ed by Abraham H. Foxman (11/27/01)

Related Materials
Someone Blew Up America
by Amiri Baraka
ADL Writes to New Jersey Governor McGreevey
ADL 2002 Survey on
Anti-Semitism in the U.S.
Summary of Major Findings!

ADL Survey: Anti-Semitism in America (2002) (.pdf 431Kb)
(requires Acrobat Reader)
Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in America (1998)
Audits of Anti-Semitic Incidents
More on Anti-Semitism
ADL Anti-Semitism Home Page
Anti-Semitism in the Arab World
Jews often alone against anti-Semitism
by Art N. Teitelbaum
This article was published in the Miami Herald on Wed, Jun. 19, 2002
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