In a recent lecture before the national conference of the Theatre Communications Group, Nigerian Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka praised the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as an exemplary human being. We agree.

Mr. Soyinka went on to say on June 8 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis-St. Paul, that others should follow in Minister Farrakhan’s footsteps. Well said!

Sadly, however, there are “haters” in this country who are not content to see well deserved respect paid to Minister Farrakhan by such a distinguished scholar based on his keen intellectual insights and perceptions of objective reality in this world.


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’Nai B’rith in turn, called on Mr. Soyinka to “repudiate” his praise of Minister Farrakhan.

We have been forewarned of such hate. Allah says in the Holy Quran, Surah 3, verse 117:

“O you who believe, take not for intimate friends others than your own people: they spare no pains to cause you loss. They love that which distresses you. Vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and that which their hearts conceal is greater still. Indeed We have made the messages clear to you, if you understand.”

We understand. The messages from the ADL to Black people are unmistakable.

Mr. Soyinka is only the most recent in a long line of Blacks and others who have become objects of attempted intimidation and coercion by the ADL. Blacks in America are well aware of the manipulation of the lives of freedom fighters such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and many others by the FBI’s infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), with its illegal surveillance, harassment, sabotage and even the murder of many Black leaders. Private organizations also participated in and carried out these same acts of infiltration and intrigue for their own purposes–some while posing as friends of Black people.

The ADL is one of those private agencies that has targeted Black leaders and organizations while at the same time claiming–and often with great success–that they are allies in the Black struggle. Their motive is to keep Blacks “in their place” and to stifle criticism of the state of Israel at any cost. Their strategy–as Mr. Soyinka has now come to know–involves intimidation and character assassination.

“It is sad and disturbing that a man of Soyinka’s stature and respectability in the arts world would lionize a man like Farrakhan,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s National Director. What the ADL is really telling Mr. Soyinka and any other Africans or Blacks in the Diaspora, is that they dare not “lionize” Minister Farrakhan, no matter how worthy of praise he may be, without incurring the wrath of Jewish leaders. Plain and simple.

But we have seen the ADL’s repertoire of underhanded techniques. Then, as now, it has always included free-wheeling misinformation targeting Black leaders. Their weapon is the label “anti-Semite,” and the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone who criticizes the policies of the state of Israel. But the ADL’s dirty tricks are not unknown to Blacks in the freedom struggle. Here is a brief summary of the ADL’s underhanded résumé:

– In 1979, the ADL pressured Pres. Jimmy Carter to fire United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young after he attended a diplomatic event also attended by the Palestinian UN Ambassador.

– In 1993, the ADL was indicted for spying on 12,000 individuals and organizations and sharing their illegally obtained information with the apartheid South African and Israeli intelligence agencies. The groups which were spied on by the ADL included the NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition, and anti-apartheid South African groups, as well as prominent Blacks like Rep. Ron Dellums, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

– In 1995, the ADL tried to disrupt and destroy the Million Man March. They insinuated that Black men were too ignorant to choose their own leadership without the ADL’s assistance.

– The ADL accused movie director Spike Lee and entertainer Michael Jackson of being “anti-Semites,” claiming that they portrayed Jews in unfavorable ways.

Mr. Soyinka is in good company, to be scolded in such a way by the ADL.

While there is no comfort to be found in being the victim of unjust accusations of hatred, Mr. Soyinka might find a little solace in knowing that the Jewish animus he’s feeling because of his kind, and true words about Min. Farrakhan should come as no surprise. This year, Jewish critics persecuted the son of a Holocaust Survivor–DePaul University Prof-essor Norman Finkelstein. They successfully campaigned to deny him tenure, because Prof. Finkelstein’s writings and his criticism expose the biases, distortions, and falsifications in what Americans are fed about Israel and the Middle East.

Prof. Finkelstein, who is Jewish, is criticized by other Jews for being a “bigot,” and he has also been labeled “an anti-Semite.”

The knee-jerk condemnations of Minister Farrakhan–who is a good man, doing good work among a people who need him–undermine whatever moral authority the real bigots like those leading the ADL might have once thought they had. Rather than isolating Minister Farrakhan, the bigoted, narrow-minded, bully tactics of groups like the ADL only isolates them and their xenophobic views to their rightful place in the dustbin of 21st Century thought.

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