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Press ReleaseBlack-Jewish Relations

New York, NY, October 13, 1995...Wellesley Professor Anthony "Tony" C. Martin, one of the featured speakers at a pre-Million Man March conference that blames white racism for the plight of blacks in America, is the subject of a just-released report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). According to the ADL, Martin deliberately distorts historical facts, concocts pernicious lies and promotes an anti-Jewish agenda in his book, The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront.

In a new report, Academic Bigotry: Professor Tony Martin's Anti-Jewish Onslaught, ADL charges that Professor Martin tries to stigmatize Jews involved in Black causes by repeating the lie that Jews dominated the slave trade and are to blame for the "Hamitic Myth," a biblical distortion used to justify the African slave trade. According to ADL, the book is nothing more than a companion volume to the Nation of Islam's (NOI) anti-Semitic tome, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.

"The book insults every Jew who ever participated in the civil rights movement by equating them with the slave owners of the antebellum South," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Martin's intellectual deception has led to mistrust and friction between Black and Jewish students on campus. That's why we are trying to set the record straight," Foxman added.

Martin, a tenured professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley, assigned the NOI book in the spring of 1993 as a primary textbook on African-American history, causing a storm of protest from students, faculty and Jewish organizations, including ADL. The Jewish Onslaught, written by Martin in response to the criticism he received, is described by ADL as the longest of a series of anti-Semitic writings and statements by Martin.

Prefacing the ADL report is a statement by the prestigious American Historical Association, saying: "The AHA deplores any misuse of history that distorts the historical record to demonize or demean a particular racial, ethnic, or cultural group. The Association therefore condemns as false any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the exploitation of slave labor or in the Atlantic slave trade...Never more than a tiny fraction of the white population, they [Jews] never formed more than a minuscule proportion of slaveholders."

Quotes and excerpts from the work of respected scholars who oppose Martin's hatemongering are included in the 33-page ADL report. Among them, Professor Selwyn R. Cudjoe, chairperson of Martin's department at Wellesley, who called the trend of pseudo-scholarship exemplified by Martin's book, "Gangsta history, meant to demean and to defame others and to bring them into disrepute, rather than to enlighten and to lead us to a more complex and sophisticated understanding of social phenomena. It ought to be labeled anti-Semitic."

In its critique of Martin's book, ADL exposes serious errors of scholarship and fact in addition to his misrepresentation of Jewish participation in the slave trade, including:

_ Accusing Joel Spingarn, a Jewish leader and philanthropist, who chaired the NAACP during World War I, of spying on the organization for the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Department. ADL research revealed that Spingarn and others, including prominent African Americans, provided information to assess the extent of German propaganda efforts in the black community. Martin's book mentions only Spingarn's participation and tries to link it to a Jewish conspiracy against blacks. He makes no mention that the Army officer who instigated the investigation was not Jewish and that he recruited the leader of the leading black educational facility of the day, the Tuskegee Institute, and a prominent Nashville African-American minister along with Spingarn.

_ Charging that the 1977 Bakke decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared medical school admissions system unconstitutional because it was based on racial quotas, was part of the Jewish conspiracy to oppress blacks. Although Jewish organizations, including ADL, filed amicus briefs on behalf of Bakke, Martin's paranoid style of attributing the Court's ruling to Jewish power is false. Neither Bakke nor any of the other principals involved in the decision were Jewish.

Underscoring the attention Martin has received in terms of media coverage and speaking engagements, the ADL publication asserts: "The book has made him the center of a debate about academic freedom and responsibility that is national in scope." The controversy has helped Martin cross over from speaking appearances before only Afrocentric circles to receiving an invitation to address the annual convention of the Holocaust- denying Institute for Historical Review. Martin eventually declined to address the group.

"If Professor Martin has achieved fame, and with it an audience for his historical theories, he has done so at the expense of truth and intellectual integrity," the ADL report concludes.

Prepared by the Research and Evaluation Department of the ADL Civil Rights Division, the report is being widely distributed to educators, writers, college campus groups, Jewish community organizations and the media.EDITORS NOTE: The report is available on-line on Nexis search code USNWR and from the ADL Public Relations Department.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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1995 Anti-Defamation League