The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has an international reputation as a respected Jewish “civil rights” organisation. Among other things it keeps track of “hate groups”, a monitoring which, in the cyber-age, has extended to the Internet. In his 1997 book Conspiracy, Middle East watcher Daniel Pipes speaks favourably of the ADL claiming that “For relief from these many hate-mongers, the Anti-Defamation League provides original research and documentation, primarily but not exclusively about antisemitic groups...” (1) Pipes is either a dupe, a mischief-maker or a fellow traveller, for any objective investigation of the activities of the ADL reveals it to be anything but a panacea for intolerance, none more so than an investigation into its origins.
The inspiration for the Anti-Defamation League was the Leo Frank case. The story as it is usually related is that the ADL was founded in response to the anti-Jewish bigotry engendered by the trial and subsequent lynching of the totally innocent Frank who had been scapegoated by the wicked anti-Semitic bigots of the Deep South for a senseless murder which no Jew could possibly have committed. (2) As with many Jewish tragedies though, particularly those which emerged out of World War Two, there is a canyon wide gap between the legend as it is portrayed by a fawningly philo-Semitic media (and its academic pimps) and a cold appraisal of the salient facts.
Leo Frank was a Jew who was convicted of the murder of a young factory worker at the Atlanta, Georgia pencil plant which he managed. He was sentenced to death, reprieved, then lynched by a gang which broke into the gaol where he was being held, and kidnapped him for that purpose. Jewish author Leonard Dinnerstein refers to this case as “ONE OF the most infamous outbursts of anti-Semitic feeling in the United States...”, (3) and comparisons have often been made with the Dreyfus case in France. In fact, the conviction of Leo Frank for murder - if not his subsequent lynching - was more indicative of lack of racial bigotry on the part of White Southerners, and bigotry on the part of Frank’s supporters, many of them Jewish.
After Mary Phagan, a young white girl not quite fourteen, was found battered to death in the early hours of April 27, 1913 by the plant’s Negro watchman, it quickly became clear that there were only two serious suspects: the respectable, upper middle class and quite wealthy Northerner Frank; and Jim Conley, a low class Negro of poor character and with a liking for drink.
Frank was the last person (bar the murderer?) to see the victim alive, and Conley was the principal witness against him. Conley claimed to have helped Frank cover up the murder, and in spite of his antecedents he made a good impression on the jury. It is doubtful though if Frank’s expensive lawyer made such a good impression because, with his client on trial for his life, he disparaged Conley in the most vile terms asking the jury how could they, decent white people, convict a respectable white businessman like Frank on the word of a black man. It was absurd, he suggested, that “the word of a ‘filthy, criminal, lying Negro’ should be taken in an effort to hang a man”. (4)
“Who is Conley? Who was Conley as he used to be and as you have seen him? He was a dirty, filthy, black drunken, lying nigger...Who was it that made this dirty nigger come up here looking so slick? Why didn’t they let you see him as he was?” (5) What could be better calculated to alienate a jury of twelve ordinary decent people?
Author Dinnerstein doesn’t seem to realise the lawyer’s folly any more than Frank’s legal team and supporters did themselves, but another Jewish author, and an uncharacteristically impartial one, saw things very differently. The distinguished American scholar Nathaniel Weyl wrote in his book The Jew In American Politics that “Five members of prominent Jewish families were on the grand jury which indicted Frank and most Atlanta Jews seem to have at first believed him guilty.” (6) This is something which tends to be forgotten nowadays in the incessant wailing and whining which always accompanies any allegation of Jewish wrongdoing.
Another Jewish academic whose commitment to historical truth outweighs his commitment to fighting “anti-Semitism” is Professor Lindemann, who in his excellent book Esau’s Tears candidly admits that “Frank’s innocence was less clear at the time of the trial than many accounts have suggested. Similarly, anti-Semitism seems to have been of marginal importance in both his arrest and conviction.” (7) He adds too that Frank had a stiff and distant personality and an odd appearance, (8) which, rightly or wrongly, clearly leant credence to some of the scurrilous gossip which was circulated about him at the time.
Whether or not Frank should have been convicted is a different matter. Most people, including the current writer, would consider it dangerous to convict a man - any man - of so grave a crime as murder solely on the word of a man of the character of Jim Conley, who had not only admitted to helping cover up the crime but had lied repeatedly to the police, but the suggestion that a white man should not have been convicted simply because his accuser was black would have alienated most jurors, even White Southerners in those days, especially when couched in such terms.
There were more than two hundred defence witnesses, most of them white and of good character, and many of them swore that Conley was a damned liar, yet the jury preferred the testimony of a low class Negro to that of a white man of good character. Not even Doreen Lawrence could find racism in that.
Just as his lawyer undoubtedly alienated the jury, so too did Frank’s many wealthy Jewish supporters alienate large tranches of the public by persistently playing “the race card”, and drew comments like: “Are we to understand that anybody except a Jew can be punished for crime?” (9) and “It is a bad state of affairs when the idea gets abroad that the law is too weak to punish a man who has plenty of money.” (10)
Jim Conley was sentenced to a year on a chain gang for his part in the crime and lived to a ripe old age, apparently unmolested by the supposedly so bigoted Southerners whom we are frequently led to believe would lynch a Negro simply for looking at a white girl, much less for murdering one. (11)
In those days lynchings were not uncommon, including of whites (mostly for rape); to this day Leo Frank remains the only Jew ever to have been lynched in America, and indeed he was the first white man to be brought to trial in the Deep South on a capital charge solely on the word of a Negro. (12)
The police appeared sincerely to have believed Frank guilty, and uncharacteristically they didn’t manufacture evidence of his guilt as their contemporaries often do today. (13) With regard to the testimony of Jim Conley, one newspaper questioned whether “this illiterate Negro [could] have conceived and fitted together such a set of detailed circumstances without some foundation in fact?” (14)
Commenting fifty years after the case, McLellan Smith, who covered the story as a cub reporter, wrote that a man of Conley’s mental capacity could have been broken if he was lying; he certainly impressed on the witness stand. (15) As Conley spent a total of sixteen hours undergoing an intense cross-examination, this was no mean feat, (16) either he was an accomplished liar par excellence or he was indeed telling the gospel truth. Dinnerstein himself cites a letter held by the University of Chicago in the Julius Rosenwald Papers in which an unnamed author gives cogent reasons for his belief in Frank’s guilt. (17)
Another newspaperman pointed out paradoxically that “There was a considerable body of evidence for and against Frank.” (18) The campaign to clear Frank’s name - and by implication to clear the name of the Jew - was eventually successful, although one can’t help but think it was accomplished by sleight-of-hand.
In 1982, sixty-seven years after Frank was lynched, a supposed eyewitness came forward. At the time of the murder, Alonzo Mann was 14 years old. Mann, who was white, claimed to have seen Conley disposing of Mary Phagan’s body but kept quiet at the time - and for more than half a century afterwards - out of fear. “If you ever mention this, I’ll kill you”, Conley is supposed to have said, according to Mann when recounting his story to a Nashville newspaper. (19) There is no doubt that Mann was there, he attended the trial, but just how much credibility can be placed on his belated Nashville confession?
One might also ask the rather obvious question “Cui bono?” The ADL and others continued their agitation, and in March 1986 Frank was pardoned. (20) Whatever, the claims - echoed by the ADL and its fellow travellers to this very day - that the trial of Leo Frank was a calculated exercise in racial bigotry, contains not a grain of truth, but this is hardly surprising, because the ADL’s prestigious reputation has been manufactured largely by the ADL itself.
For many years the ADL’s remit has stretched way beyond combatting “anti-Semitism”, which in any meaningful sense has long since ceased to exist in contemporary America, and has ended up poking its unwanted proboscis into the activities of bona fide political and campaigning organisations for the overt purpose of political and racial gerrymandering.
One method of perpetuating the phoney struggle against anti-Semitism is to smear all and sundry as “anti-Semitic”. A 1964 ADL hatchet job, Danger on the right, written by two of its staffers, attempted to smear “Extreme Conservatives” as anti-Semites. One fifth of the American population! A 1992 ADL survey echoed these sentiments; 1 in 5 Americans were said to “hold strong prejudicial attitudes against Jews”. (21) Of the earlier comment Weyl writes “The Anti-Defamation League supposedly exists to refute slanders against the Jewish people and promote tolerance amongst the non-Jewish majority. It is difficult to believe that the best way of bringing this about is for the national chairman of the ADL to slander some twenty per cent of the American people as associates of ‘kooks,’ ‘bigots’ and ‘yahoos.’” (22)
This sentiment is echoed by Rabbi Alan Miller who in an essay on black anti-Semitism wrote: “Jews, who resent generalized collective slander, should be hypercautious about making generalized collective slander where other ethnic groups are concerned.” (23)
In May 1993 the ADL was caught with its hand in the till when a former San Francisco police officer named Tom Gerard was arrested in that city and charged with eight counts of theft of government documents, burglary, conspiracy and computer theft. Gerard was an ADL spy, which was reported to have spied on no less that 950 political organisations and to hold files on 12,000 individuals!
Many organisations, political and non-political, hold files both on numerous individuals and other organisations for all manner of reasons, so the mere fact that the ADL does too is not necessarily sinister. But the ADL’s files included reports on organisations such as Action for Animals, Peace Now and Greenpeace! (24) The anti-Zionist Jew Dr Alfred Lilienthal refers to the ADL as a Jewish Gestapo, (25) an appellation which could be equally well appended to many other Jewish political organisations.
Today, eighty-five and more years after its inception, the ADL’s anti-black roots have grown branches. While still posing as a “civil rights” organisation and the friend of the “oppressed”, including blacks, it continues its spy and smear operations against all and sundry. In October 1996 the ADL’s National Director published a polemic against the charismatic - if at times misguided - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in which he referred to Farrakhan as “a master of manipulation” who preaches a “message of hate”. (26) Farrakhan is accused of racism, “anti-Semitism” and all manner of other bigotry. Such allegations are routinely thrown at white nationalists. Farrakhan has it is true said some unfortunate things about both Jews and whites in general, but the odd “anti-Semitic” or anti-white remark does not make any man a bigot.
In recent years Farrakhan’s organisation has been highly critical of other blacks, and his famous Million Man March on Washington - which didn’t quite live up to expectations - was a praiseworthy effort to direct a positive message towards American blacks, in particular to hammer home the message that black men should stop killing each other (27) and should behave decently towards their womenfolk. (28)
Farrakhan is said to have a “thing” about Jews, one component of which is “the usual exaggerated belief in Jewish power”. (29) Jewish power - and mendacity - is a reality, and the ADL’s National Director would do well to remove the plank from his own eye before attempting to remove the mote from Farrakhan’s.
Farrakhan’s real “crimes” are to recognise Jewish power and to speak out against it when he believes it is inimical to the interests of blacks, with particular regard to the ADL’s and Organised Jewry’s war on race. Strange isn’t it that all advocates of racial separatism are smeared routinely as anti-Semitic? Advocates of all racial separatisms bar one, that is.
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