Governor James McGreevey
Office of the Governor
State House, CN001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Governor McGreevey:
It was a pleasure speaking with you today. As we discussed, at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of New Jersey, recited a poem entitled "Someone Blew Up America". While typically ADL does not take issue with the content of poetry or other forms of expression, no matter how repugnant, the fact that Mr. Baraka is the Poet Laureate of New Jersey and was introduced as such at a major New Jersey poetry festival attracting a large audience, brings his performance to a higher level of concern and spurs us to write you.
We know that you as Governor of the State of New Jersey do not agree nor support the anti-American hostility, tied to the terrorist attack on America, expressed in the poem. We are also heartened by your condemnation of the perpetuation of the "big lie" (see ADL web site at www.adl.org/PresRele/ASInt_13/4155_13.asp and www.adl.org/presrele/asint%5F13/4157%5F13.asp) that Israel knew, in advance, of the pending terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and warned 4000 Israeli World Trade Center workers not to come to work that day, thereby implying that Israel was somehow involved in the terrorist plot itself.
This insidious implication in Baraka's poem is clear:
The Anti-Defamation League, 60 Minutes and a number of other news organizations have exposed that much of the Muslim world believes that Israelis and Jews, not Al Quada, were responsible for the attacks on 9/11, because of the spread of this "big lie". It may be that as a poet, Mr. Baraka may say what he chooses, no matter how ugly, irresponsible or deceptive. However, we don't believe that the residents of New Jersey, nor their representatives should have such venom spewed in their name.
Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed|
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?
Therefore, we are pleased that as Governor of the State of New Jersey you condemn Amiri Baraka's remarks and will urge him to consider resigning from his post as Poet Laureate of the State of New Jersey. What 9/11 served to underscore is that words of bigotry lead to acts of bigotry which in turn lead to the kind of murder that occurred on 9/11. The lesson of the Holocaust is that those who stay silent in the face of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are responsible for the consequences of such silence.
Time and again you have spoken out against hatred and all its manifestations. As a sponsor of the New Jersey Holocaust Commission, the first Governor to formerly endorse the ADL's Break the Wave of Hate ™ campaign to stop global anti-Semitism, a proponent of professionalism within law enforcement and an opponent of racial profiling, you stand as a national example in our battle against all forms of bigotry. Thank you again for your understanding and willingness to stand up and speak out for that which is right.
State Chair - Elect