A NOIsome Email // Farrakhanian Fabrications Abound

I always look forward to feedback on columns, whether the responses are positive or critical. The former keep me writing; the latter help me learn.

On occasion, though, a response is just…well…odious.

My column of two weeks ago about the Leo Frank case brought a good number of email responses. They were all either expressions of gratitude for telling the story of the Jewish man who was lynched by a mob in Georgia in 1915 or for illustrating how juries and judges can make grievous errors.

One, though, fell firmly in the odious category. Unsigned, it took issue with my recounting of the well-documented saga of Leo Frank. The email included a link to a webpage that described Frank as a horrible person and asserted that he was indeed guilty of the murder of which he was convicted—and that his accuser, the factory custodian Jim Conley, who, it emerged years later, had been seen with the victim’s body and had threatened the witness, was trustworthy and innocent.

When I saw the title of the book from which those assertions had come, I glanced at my correspondent’s address and understood.

The email had been sent by someone at “NOIRG.” That would be the “Nation of Islam Research Group.” And the book that the webpage cited: the third volume of “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.”

The Nation of Islam (NOI), of course, is the vehicle used by the rabid racist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to spread his hatred and convictions—among them that “The white man is a devil by nature” and “Jews are the most organized, rich and powerful people…in the world…plotting against us as we speak.” He claims he’s not an anti-Semite but “an anti-termite.”

And the “Research Group” arm of NOI is its “historical research department.” Ahistorical would more accurately describe it.

The volume cited, touted on the linked webpage as “a 536-page study referenced with thousands of footnotes and illustrated with maps, diagrams, and graphics”—oh, my!—is typical of the series of which it is part. “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” famously—or, better, infamously—asserts that Jews controlled the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., head of the department of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, called the book “the bible of new anti-Semitism,” which “massively misinterprets the historical record, largely through a process of cunningly selective quotations of often reputable sources.”

Historian and slavery expert Eugene Genovese said about the book, “The absurdity of its pretenses to scholarship are outweighed by its sheer viciousness.”

‘Nuff said.

NOI’s interest in the Frank case stems not only from the fact that Mr. Frank was a Jew (enough for NOI to pronounce judgment on him) but that his accuser, Mr. Conley, was an African-American—a fact that I hadn’t noted in my column, simply because I didn’t think it germane.

What is germane, though, and ignored by the NOI’s “research department,” is that Frank’s accuser had a rap sheet that included public intoxication, disorderly conduct, assault, gambling and attempted robbery. Not to mention, as I did in my column, that he signed contradictory affidavits and was glaringly inconsistent in his testimony.

I decided not to ignore the email and responded that I wasn’t inclined to consult a book that had been judged by historians to be unworthy, or to waste my time ferreting through its fabrications.

I added that I “bemoan the fact that all the wonderful African-Americans I have been privileged to know are overshadowed by hateful others… Jews and African-Americans are both vilified and targeted by white supremacists. I can only hope that more Jews and African-Americans will come to appreciate that fact.

Unfortunately, Louis Farrakhan and his mindless followers are unlikely to care. It’s easier to just hate. ●

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