American Pravda: The ADL in American Society, by Ron Unz - The Unz Review
In our modern era, there are surely few organizations that so terrify powerful Americans as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, a central organ of the organized Jewish community.
Mel Gibson had long been one of the most popular stars in Hollywood and his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ became among the most profitable in world history, yet the ADL and its allies destroyed his career, and he eventually donated millions of dollars to Jewish groups in desperate hopes of regaining some of his public standing. When the ADL criticized a cartoon that had appeared in one of his newspapers, media titan Rupert Murdoch provided his personal apology to that organization, and the editors of The Economistquickly retracted a different cartoon once it came under ADL fire. Billionaire Tom Perkins, a famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist, was forced to issue a heartfelt apology after coming under ADL criticism for his choice of words in a Wall Street Journal column. These were all proud, powerful individuals, and they must have deeply resented being forced to seek such abject public forgiveness, but they did so nonetheless. The total list of ADL supplicants over the years is a very long one.
Given the fearsome reputation of the ADL and its notorious hair-trigger activists, there was a widespread belief that my small webzine would be completely annihilated when I first launched my recent series of controversial articles in early June by praising the works of historian David Irving, a figure long demonized by the ADL. Yet absolutely nothing happened.
During the next three months my subsequent articles directly challenged nearly every hot-button issue normally so fiercely defended by the ADL and its lackies, so much so that a friendly journalist soon described me as the “Kamikaze from California.”Yet despite my 90,000 words of text and the 13,000 comments I had attracted, the continuing silence of the ADL was absolutely deafening. Meanwhile, my articles were read more than half a million times, with the following being a list of the most provocative pieces:
When divine wrath fails to smite the heretic and terrifying enforcers of official dogma seem to have suddenly lost their taste for battle, others gradually begin to take notice and may grow emboldened. Eventually leading pro-Russian and Libertarian websites such as Russia Insider and LewRockwell began republishing some of my most controversial American Pravda articles, thus bringing my factual claims to the attention of broader audiences. After the conclusion of the my series, I began directly ridiculing my strangely timorous ADL opponents, publishing a short column entitled “Has the ADL Gone Into Hiding?” which led the redoubtable Paul Craig Roberts to describe me as “the bravest man I know.”
Apparently the combination of all these factors at long last grew too worrisome for the ADL, and stirring from their secret hiding place, its activists have now finally released a short and rather milquetoast response to my material, one which hardly much impresses me. A few days ago, they Tweeted out their column, together with a photo of their new nemesis.
The ADL may boast an annual budget of $60 million and have many hundreds of full-time employees, but its research skills seem sorely lacking. I discovered that they opened their rebuke by denouncing me as a notorious “anti-immigrant activist.” This seems an extremely odd claim given that I have published perhaps a quarter-million words on that contentious topic over the last twenty-five years, nearly all of it online and fully searchable, and my views have never been characterized in that fashion. To cite just one example, my article “California and the End of White America”appeared as a 1999 cover-story in Commentary, the flagship publication of The American Jewish Committee, and surely anyone reading it would be greatly puzzled by the ADL’s description. Indeed, just a few years earlier, I had been a top featured speaker at the October 1994 pro-immigrant protest in downtown Los Angeles, a 70,000 strong political rally that was the largest such gathering in American history to that date.
I was equally unimpressed that they so hotly denounced me for substantially relying upon the writings of Israel Shahak, whom they characterized as viciously “anti-Semitic.” As I had repeatedly emphasized, my own total lack of Aramaic and Hebrew necessarily forces me to rely upon the research of others, and the late Prof. Shahak, an award-winning Israeli academic, certainly seems a fine source to use. After all, famed linguist Noam Chomsky had lauded Shahak’s works for their “outstanding scholarship,” and numerous of our other most prominent public intellectuals such as Christopher Hitchens, Edward Said, and Gore Vidal had been similarly lavish in their praise. Furthermore, one of Shahak’s co-authors was Norton Mezvinsky, a prominent American academic specializing in Middle Eastern history, himself hardly an obscure figure given that both his brother and sister-in-law served in Congress and his nephew later married Chelsea Clinton. And as far as I’m aware almost none of Shahak’s explicit claims about the Talmud or traditional Judaism have ever been directly challenged, while the online availability of his first book allows those so interested to conveniently read it and decide for themselves.
The ADL similarly denounced me for taking seriously the theories of Ariel Toeff, another Israeli academic. But Prof. Toeff, son of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, certainly ranks as one of the world’s leading scholarly authorities on Medieval Jewry, and working together with his graduate students and other colleagues, he had devoted many years of effort to the research study in question, drawing upon extensive primary and secondary sources produced in eight different languages. I found his 500 page book quite persuasive, as did Israeli journalist Israel Shamir, and I have seen no credible rebuttals.
Now the work of all these prominent academics and intellectuals may not necessarily be correct, and perhaps I am mistaken in accepting their factual claims. But I would need to see something far more weighty than a casual dismissal in a few paragraphs contained within an anonymous ADL column, whose author for all I know might have been some ignorant young intern.
Those glaring flaws aside, most of the ADL’s remaining catalogue of my numerous heretical positions seemed reasonably accurate, though obviously presented in a somewhat hostile and derogatory fashion and sorely lacking any links to my original pieces. But even this desultory listing of my mortal transgressions was woefully incomplete, with the ADL strangely failing to include mention of some of my most controversial claims.
For example, the authors excluded all reference to my discussion of the thoroughly documented Nazi-Zionist economic partnership of the 1930s, which played such a crucial role in laying the basis for the State of Israel. And the ADL similarly avoided mentioning the nearly 20,000 words I had allocated to discussing the very considerable evidence that the Israeli Mossad had played a central role in both the JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks. Surely this must be one of the few times that the ADL has deliberately avoided leveling the charge of “conspiracy theorist” against an opponent whom they might have so easily slurred in that fashion. Perhaps they felt the evidence I provided was too strong for them to effectively challenge.
The worrisome incompetence of ADL researchers becomes particularly alarming when we consider that over the last couple of years that organization has been elevated into a content gatekeeping role at America’s largest Internet companies, helping to determine what may or may not be said on the most important Social Media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
My local paper is the San Jose Mercury News and a couple of weeks ago it published a major profile interview with Brittan Heller, the ADL Director tasked with policing “hate speech” across the America-dominated portions of the Internet. She seemed like a perfectly pleasant young woman in her mid-thirties, a Stanford English major and a graduate of Yale Law, now living in Silicon Valley with her husband and her two cats, Luna and Stella. She emphasizes her own experience as a victim of cyber-harassment from a fellow college student whose romantic overtures she rejected and the later expertise she had gained as a Nazi-hunter for the U.S. government. But does that resume really provide her with the god-like knowledge suitable for overriding our traditional First Amendment rights and determining which views and which individuals should be allowed access to some two billion readers worldwide?
There is also a far more serious aspect to the situation. The choice of the ADL as the primary ideological overseer of America’s Internet may seem natural and appropriate to politically-ignorant Americans, a category that unfortunately includes the technology executives leading the companies involved. But this reflects the remarkable cowardice and dishonesty of the American media from which all these individuals derive their knowledge of our world. The true recent history of the ADL is a remarkably sordid and disreputable tale.
In January 1993, the San Francisco Police Department reported that it had recently raided the Northern California headquarters of the ADL based upon information provided by the FBI. The SFPD discovered that the organization had been keeping intelligence files on more than 600 civic organizations and 10,000 individuals, overwhelmingly of a liberal orientation, with the SFPD inspector estimating that 75% of the material had been illegally obtained, much of it by secret payments to police officials. This was merely the tip of the iceberg in what clearly amounted to the largest domestic spying operation by any private organization in American history, and according to some sources, ADL agents across the country had targeted over 1,000 political, religious, labor, and civil rights organizations, with the New York headquarters of the ADL maintaining active dossiers on more than a million Americans.
Not long afterward, an ACLU official who had previously held a high-ranking position with the ADL revealed in an interview that his organization had been the actual source of the highly controversial 1960s surveillance on Martin Luther King, Jr., which it had then provided to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. For many years Hoover had been furiously denounced in the national media headlines for his use of tapes and other secret information on King’s activities, but when a local San Francisco newspaper revealed that an ADL spying operation had actually been the source of all that sordid material, the bombshell revelation was totally ignored in the national media and only reported by fringe organizations, so that today almost no Americans are aware of that fact.
I am not aware of any other private organization in American history that has been involved in even a sliver of such illegal domestic espionage activity, which appears to have been directed against almost all groups and prominent individuals—Left, Right, and Center—suspected of being insufficiently aligned with Jewish and Israeli interests. Some of the illegal material found in ADL possession even raised dark suspicions that it had played a role in domestic terrorist attacks and political assassinations directed against foreign leaders. I am no legal expert, but given the massive scale of such illegal ADL activities, I wonder whether a plausible case might have been made to prosecute the entire organization under RICO statutes and sentence all of its leaders to long prison terms.
In effect, the ADL seems to have long operated as our country’s privatized secret political police, monitoring and enforcing its ideological doctrines on behalf of Jewish groups much as the Stasi did for the Communist rulers of East Germany. Given such a long history of criminal activity, allowing the ADL to extend its oversight to our largest Social Media platforms amounts to appointing the Mafia to supervise the FBI and the NSA, or taking a very large step towards implementing George Orwell’s ” Ministry of Truth” on behalf of Jewish interests.
In his 1981 memoirs, the far right Classics scholar Revilo P. Oliver characterized the ADL as “the formidable organization of Jewish cowboys who ride herd on their American cattle” and this seems a reasonably apt description to me.
Although I had long recognized the power and influence of the ADL, a leading Jewish-activist organization whose leaders were so regularly quoted in my newspapers, until rather recently I had only the vaguest notions of its origins. I’m sure I’d heard the story mentioned at some points, but the account had never stuck in my mind.
Then perhaps a year or two ago, I happened to come across some discussion of the ADL’s 2013 centenary celebration, in which the leadership reaffirmed the principles of its 1913 founding. The initial impetus had been the vain national effort to save the life of Leo Frank, a young Southern Jew unjustly accused of murder and eventually lynched. Not long before, Frank’s name and story would have been equally vague in my mind, with the man half-remembered from my introductory history textbooks as one of the most notable early KKK victims in the fiercely anti-Semitic Deep South of the early twentieth century. However, not long before seeing that piece on the ADL I’d read Albert Lindemann’s highly-regarded study The Jew Accused, and his short chapter on the notorious Frank case had completely exploded all my preconceptions.
First, Lindemann demonstrated that there was no evidence of any anti-Semitism behind Frank’s arrest and conviction, with Jews constituting a highly-valued element of the affluent Atlanta society of the day, and no references to Frank’s Jewish background, negative or otherwise, appearing in the media prior to the trial. Indeed, five of the Grand Jurors who voted to indict Frank for murder were themselves Jewish, and none of them ever voiced regret over their decision. In general, support for Frank seems to have been strongest among Jews from New York and other distant parts of the country and weakest among the Atlanta Jews with best knowledge of the local situation.
Furthermore, although Lindemann followed the secondary sources he relied upon in declaring that Frank was clearly innocent of the charges of rape and murder, the facts he recounted led me to the opposite conclusion, seeming to suggest strong evidence of Frank’s guilt. When I much more recently read Lindemann’s longer and more comprehensive historical study of anti-Semitism, Esau’s Tears, I noticed that his abbreviated treatment of the Frank case no longer made any claim of innocence, perhaps indicating that the author himself might have also had second thoughts about the weight of the evidence.
Based on this material, I voiced that opinion in my recent article on historical anti-Semitism, but my conclusions were necessarily quite tentative since they relied upon Lindermann’s summary of the information provided in the secondary sources he had used, and I had the impression that virtually all those who had closely investigated the Frank case had concluded that Frank was innocent. But after my piece appeared, someone pointed me to a 2016 book from an unexpected source arguing for Frank’s guilt. Now that I have ordered and read that volume, my understanding of the Frank case and its historical significance has been entirely transformed.
Mainstream publishers may often reject books that too sharply conflict with reigning dogma and sales of such works are unlikely to justify the extensive research required to produce the manuscript. Furthermore, both authors and publishers may face widespread vilification from a hostile media for taking such positions. For these reasons, those who publish such controversial material will often be acting from deep ideological motives rather than merely seeking professional advancement or monetary gain. As an example, it took a zealous Trotskyite leftist such as Lenni Brunner to brave the risk of ferocious attacks and invest the time and effort to produce his remarkable study of the crucial Nazi-Zionist partnership of the 1930s. And for similar reasons, we should not be totally surprised that the leading book arguing for the guilt of Leo Frank appeared as a volume in the series on the pernicious aspects of Jewish-Black historical relations produced by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam (NOI), nor that the text lacked any identified author.
Anonymous works published by heavily-demonized religious-political movements naturally engender considerable caution, but once I began reading the 500 pages of The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man I was tremendously impressed by the quality of the historical analysis. I think I have only very rarely encountered a research monograph on a controversial historical event that provided such an enormous wealth of carefully-argued analysis backed by such copious evidence. The authors seemed to display complete mastery of the major secondary literature of the last one hundred years while drawing very heavily upon the various primary sources, including court records, personal correspondence, and contemporaneous publications, with the overwhelming majority of the 1200 footnotes referencing newspaper and magazine articles of that era. The case they made for Frank’s guilt seemed absolutely overwhelming.
The basic outline of events is not disputed. In 1913 Georgia, a 13-year-old pencil company worker named Mary Phagan was last seen alive visiting the office of factory manager Leo Frank on a Saturday morning to collect her weekly paycheck, while her raped and murdered body was found in the basement early the next morning and Frank eventually arrested for the crime. As the wealthy young president of the Atlanta chapter of B’nai B’rith, Frank ranked as one of the most prominent Jewish men in the South, and great resources were deployed in his legal defense, but after the longest and most expensive trial in state history, he was quickly convicted and sentenced to death.
The facts of the case against Frank eventually became a remarkable tangle of complex and often conflicting evidence and eyewitness testimony, with sworn statements regularly being retracted and then counter-retracted. But the crucial point that the NOI authors emphasize for properly deciphering this confusing situation is the enormous scale of the financial resources that were deployed on Frank’s behalf, both prior to the trial and afterward, with virtually all of the funds coming from Jewish sources. Currency conversions are hardly precise, but relative to the American family incomes of the time, the total expenditures by Frank supporters may have been as high as $25 million in present-day dollars, quite possibly more than any other homicide defense in American history before or after, and an almost unimaginable sum for the impoverished Deep South of that period. Years later, a leading donor privately admitted that much of this money was spent on perjury and similar falsifications, something which is very readily apparent to anyone who closely studies the case. When we consider this vast ocean of pro-Frank funding and the sordid means for which it was often deployed, the details of the case become far less mysterious. There exists a mountain of demonstrably fabricated evidence and false testimony in favor of Frank, and no sign of anything similar on the other side.
The police initially suspected the black night watchman who found the girl’s body, and he was quickly arrested and harshly interrogated. Soon afterward, a bloody shirt was found at his home, and Frank made several statements that seemed to implicate his employee in the crime. At one point, this black suspect may have come close to being summarily lynched by a mob, which would have closed the case. But he stuck to his story of innocence with remarkable composure, in sharp contrast to Frank’s extremely nervous and suspicious behavior, and the police soon shifted their scrutiny toward the latter, culminating in his arrest. All researchers now recognize that the night watchman was entirely innocent, and the material against him planted.
The evidence against Frank steadily mounted. He was the last man known to have seen the young victim and he repeatedly changed important aspects of his story. Numerous former female employees reported his long history of sexually aggressive behavior toward them, especially directed towards the murdered girl herself. At the time of the murder, Frank claimed to have been working alone in his office, but a witness who went there reported he had been nowhere to be found. A vast amount of circumstantial evidence implicated Frank.
A black Frank family servant soon came forward with sworn testimony that Frank had confessed the murder to his wife on the morning after the killing, and this claim seemed supported by the latter’s strange refusal to visit her husband in jail for the first two weeks after the day of his arrest.
Two separate firms of experienced private detectives were hired by Frank’s lavishly-funded partisans, and the agents of both eventually came to the reluctant conclusion that Frank was guilty as charged.
As the investigation moved forward, a major break occurred as a certain Jim Conley, Frank’s black janitor, came forward and confessed to having been Frank’s accomplice in concealing the crime. At the trial he testified that Frank had regularly enlisted him as a lookout during his numerous sexual liaisons with his female employees, and after murdering Phagan, had then offered him a huge sum of money to help remove and hide the body in the basement so that the crime could be pinned upon someone else. But with the legal noose tightening around Frank, Conley had begun to fear that he might be made the new scapegoat, and went to the authorities in order to save his own neck. Despite Conley’s damning accusations, Frank repeatedly refused to confront him in the presence of the police, which was widely seen as further proof of Frank’s guilt.
By the time of the trial itself, all sides were agreed that the murderer was either Frank, the wealthy Jewish businessman, or Conley, the semi-literate black janitor with a first-grade education and a long history of public drunkenness and petty crime. Frank’s lawyers exploited this comparison to the fullest, emphasizing Frank’s Jewish background as evidence for his innocence and indulging in the crudest sort of racial invective against his black accuser, whom they claimed was obviously the true rapist and murderer due to his bestial nature.
Those attorneys were the best that money could buy and the lead counsel was known as the one of the most skilled courtroom interrogators in the South. But although he subjected Conley to a grueling sixteen hours of intense cross-examination over three days, the latter never wavered in the major details of his extremely vivid story, which deeply impressed the local media and the jury. Meanwhile, Frank refused to take the stand at his own trial, thereby avoiding any public cross-examination of his often changing account.
Two notes written in crude black English had been discovered alongside Phagan’s body, and everyone soon agreed that these were written by the murderer in hopes of misdirecting suspicion. So they were either written by a semi-literate black such as Conley or by an educated white attempting to imitate that style, and to my mind, the spelling and choice of words strongly suggests the latter, thereby implicating Frank.
Taking a broader overview, the theory advanced by Frank’s legion of posthumous advocates seems to defy rationality. These journalists and scholars uniformly argue that Conley, a semi-literate black menial, had brutally raped and murdered a young white girl, and the legal authorities soon became aware of this fact, but conspired to set him free by supporting a complex and risky scheme to instead frame an innocent white businessman. Can we really believe that the police officials and prosecutors of a city in the Old South would have violated their oath of office in order to knowingly protect a black rapist and killer from legal punishment and thereby turn him loose upon their city streets, presumably to prey on future young white girls? This implausible reconstruction is particularly bizarre in that nearly all its advocates across the decades have been the staunchest of Jewish liberals, who endlessly condemned the horrific racism of the Southern authorities of that era, but then unaccountably chose to make a special exception in this one particular case.
In many respects, the more important part of the Frank case began after his conviction and death sentence when many of America’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish leaders began mobilizing to save him from the hangman. They soon established the ADL as a new vehicle for that purpose and succeeded in making the Frank murder case one of the most famous in American history to that date.
Although his role was largely concealed at the time, the most important new backer whom Frank attracted was Albert Lasker of Chicago, the unchallenged monarch of American consumer advertising, which constituted the life’s blood of all of our mainstream newspapers and magazines. Not only did he ultimately provide the lion’s share of the funds for Frank’s defense, but he focused his energies upon shaping the media coverage surrounding the case. Given his dominant business influence in that sector, we should not be surprised that a huge wave of unremitting pro-Frank propaganda soon began appearing across the country in both local and national publications, extending to most of America’s most popular and highly-regarded media outlets, with scarcely a single word told on the other side of the story. This even included all of Atlanta’s own leading newspapers, which suddenly reversed their previous positions and became convinced of Frank’s innocence.
Lasker also enlisted other powerful Jewish figures in the Frank cause, including New York Times owner Adolph Ochs, American Jewish Committee president Louis Marshall, and leading Wall Street financier Jacob Schiff. The Times, in particular, began devoting enormous coverage to this previously-obscure Georgia murder case, and many of its articles were widely republished elsewhere. The NOI authors highlight this extraordinary national media attention: “The Black janitor whose testimony became central to Leo Frank’s conviction became the most quoted Black person in American history up to that time. More of his words appeared in print in the New York Times than those of W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Booker T. Washington—combined.”
Back a century ago just as today, our media creates our reality, and with Frank’s innocence being proclaimed nationwide in near-unanimous fashion, a long list of prominent public figures were soon persuaded to demand a new trial for the convicted murderer, including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Jane Addams.
Ironically enough, Lasker himself plunged into this crusade despite apparently having very mixed personal feelings about man whose cause he was championing. His later biography reveals that upon his first personal meeting with Frank, he perceived him as “a pervert” and a “disgusting” individual, so much so that he even hoped that after he managed to free Frank, the latter would quickly perish in some accident. Furthermore, in his private correspondence he freely admitted that a large fraction of the massive funding that he and numerous other wealthy Jews from across the country were providing had been spent on perjured testimony and there are also strong hints that he explored bribing various judges. Given these facts, Lasker and Frank’s other major backers were clearly guilty of serious felonies, and could have received lengthy prison terms for their illegal conduct.
With the New York Times and the rest of the liberal Northern media now providing such massive coverage of the case, Frank’s defense team was forced to abandon the racially-inflammatory rhetoric aimed at his black accuser which had previously been the centerpiece of their trial strategy. Instead, they began concocting a tale of rampant local anti-Semitism, previously unnoticed by all observers, and adopted it as a major grounds for their appeal of the verdict.
The unprincipled legal methods pursued by Frank’s backers is illustrated by a single example. Georgia law normally required that a defendant be present in court to hear the reading of the verdict, but given the popular emotions in the case, the judge suggested that this provision be waived, and the prosecution assented only if the defense lawyers promised not to use this small irregularity as grounds for appeal. But after Frank was convicted, AJC President Marshall and his other backers orchestrated numerous unsuccessful state and federal appeals on exactly this minor technicality, merely hiring other lawyers to file the motion.
For almost two years, the nearly limitless funds deployed by Frank’s supporters covered the costs of thirteen separate appeals on the state and federal levels, including to the U.S. Supreme Court, while the national media was used to endlessly vilify Georgia’s system of justice in the harshest possible terms. Naturally, this soon generated a local reaction, and during this period outraged Georgians began denouncing the wealthy Jews who were spending such enormous sums to subvert the local criminal justice system.
One of the very few journalists willing to oppose Frank’s position was Georgia publisher Tom Watson, a populist firebrand, and an editorial he reasonably declared “We cannot have…one law for the Jew, and another for the Gentile” while he also later lamented that “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.” A former Georgia governor indignantly inquired “Are we to understand that anybody except a Jew can be punished for a crime.” The clear facts indicate that there was indeed a massive miscarriage of justice in Frank’s case, but virtually all of it occurred in Frank’s favor.
All appeals were ultimately rejected and Frank’s execution date for the rape and murder of the young girl finally drew near. But just days before he was scheduled to leave office, Georgia’s outgoing governor commuted Frank’s sentence, provoking an enormous storm of popular protest, especially since he was the legal partner of Frank’s chief defense lawyer, an obvious conflict of interest. Given the enormous funds that Frank’s national supporters had been deploying on his behalf and the widespread past admissions of bribery in the case, there are obviously dark suspicions about what had prompted such a remarkably unpopular decision, which soon forced the former governor to exile himself from the state. A few weeks later, a group of Georgia citizens stormed Frank’s prison farm, abducting and hanging him, with Frank becoming the first and only Jew lynched in American history.
Naturally, Frank’s killing was roundly denounced in the national media that had long promoted his cause. But even in those quarters, there may have been a significant difference between public and private sentiments. No newspaper in the country had more strongly championed Frank’s innocence than the New York Times of Adolph Ochs. Yet according to the personal diary of one of the Times editors, Ochs privately despised Frank, and perhaps even greeted his lynching with a sense of relief. No effort was ever made by Frank’s wealthy supporters to bring any of the lynching party to justice.
Although I have now come to regard the NOI volume as the most persuasive and definitive text on the Frank case, I naturally considered conflicting works before reaching this conclusion.
For nearly a half-century, the leading scholarly account of the incident had probably been Leonard Dinnerstein’s book The Leo Frank Case, first published in 1966, and Dinnerstein, a University of Arizona professor specializing in Jewish history, entirely supported Frank’s innocence. But although the work won a national award, carries glowing blurbs from several prestigious publications, and has surely graced the reading lists of endless college courses, I was not at all impressed. Among other things, the book appears to be the original source of some of the most lurid examples of alleged anti-Semitic public outbursts that apparently have no basis in reality and seem to have been simply fabricated by the author given his lack of any citations; the NOI authors note these stories have been quietly abandoned by all recent researchers. Even leaving aside such likely falsifications, which were widely cited by later writers and heavily contaminated the historical record, I found the short Dinnerstein work rather paltry and even pitiful when compared to that of its NOI counterpart.
A far longer and more substantial recent work was Steve Oney’s 2003 And the Dead Shall Rise, which runs nearly 750 pages and won the National Jewish Book Award, the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel, probably establishing itself as today’s canonical text on the historical incident. Oney had been a longtime Atlanta journalist and I was favorably impressed by his narrative skill, along with the numerous fascinating vignettes he provided to illustrate the Southern history of that general era. He also seemed a cautious researcher, drawing heavily upon the primary sources and avoiding much of the falsified history of the last century, while not entirely suppressing the massive evidence of bribery and perjury employed by the Frank forces.
But although Oney does mention much of this information, he strangely fails to connect the dots. For example, although he occasionally mentions some of the funds spent on Frank’s behalf, he never attempts to convert them into present-day equivalents, leaving a naive reader to assume that such trivial amounts could not possibly have been used to pervert the course of justice. Furthermore, his entire book is written in chronological narrative form, with no footnotes provided in the text, and a large portion of the content being entirely extraneous to any attempt to determine Frank’s guilt or innocence, contrasting very sharply with the more scholarly style of the NOI authors.
To my mind, a central element of the Frank case was the massive financial temptations being offered by Frank’s Jewish backers, and the huge number of Atlanta citizens, both high and low, who apparently shifted their positions on Frank’s guilt in eager hopes of capturing some of that largess. But although this obvious theme was heavily emphasized in the NOI book, Oney seems to mostly avoid this obvious factor, perhaps even for personal reasons. Print publications have suffered massive cutbacks in recent years and I noticed on the book flap that although Oney is described as a longtime Atlanta journalist, he had subsequently relocated to Los Angeles. Once I checked, I immediately discovered that Oney’s book had became the basis for an independent film entitled The People v. Leo Frank, and I wonder whether his hopes of capturing a sliver of Hollywood’s vast lucre may not have encouraged him to so strongly suggest Frank’s innocence. Would an account of Leo Frank as rapist and murderer ever be likely to reach the silver screen? The quiet influence of financial considerations is no different today than they were a century ago, and this factor must be taken into account when evaluating historical events.
The NOI authors devote nearly all of their lengthy book to a careful analysis of the Frank case provided in suitably dispassionate form, but a sense of their justifiable outrage does occasionally poke through. In the years prior to Frank’s killing, many thousands of black men throughout the South had been lynched, often based on a slender thread of suspicion, with few of these incidents receiving more than a few sentences of coverage in a local newspaper, and large numbers of whites had also perished in similar circumstances. Meanwhile, Frank had received benefit of the longest trial in modern Southern history, backed by the finest trial lawyers that money could buy, and based on overwhelming evidence had been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young girl. But when Frank’s legal verdict was carried out by extra-judicial means, he immediately became the most famous lynching victim in American history, perhaps even attracting more media attention than all those thousands of other cases combined. Jewish money and Jewish media established him as a Jewish martyr who thereby effectively usurped the victimhood of the enormous number of innocent blacks who were killed both before and after him, none of whom were ever even recognized as individuals.
As Prof. Shahak has effectively demonstrated, traditional Talmudic Judaism regarded all non-Jews as being sub-human, with their lives possessing no value. Given that Frank’s backers were followers of Reform Judaism, it seems quite unlikely that they accepted this doctrine or were even aware of its existence. But religious traditions of a thousand years standing can easily become embedded within a culture, and such unrecognized cultural sentiments may have easily shaped their reaction to Frank’s legal predicament.
Influential historical accounts of the Frank case and its aftermath have contained lurid tales of the rampant public anti-Semitism visited upon Atlanta’s Jewish community in the wake of the trial, even claiming that a substantial portion of the population was forced to flee as a consequence. However, a careful examination of the primary source evidence, including the contemporaneous newspaper coverage, provides absolutely no evidence of this, and it appears to be entirely fictional.
The NOI authors note that prior to Frank’s trial American history had been virtually devoid of any evidence of significant anti-Semitism, with the previous most notable incident being the case of an extremely wealthy Jewish financier who was refused service at a fancy resort hotel. But by totally distorting the Frank case and focusing such massive national media coverage on his plight, Jewish leaders around the country succeeded in fabricating a powerful ideological narrative despite its lack of reality, perhaps intending the story to serve as a bonding experience to foster Jewish community cohesion.
As a further example of the widely promoted but apparently fraudulent history, the Jewish writers who have overwhelmingly dominated accounts of the Frank case have frequently claimed that it sparked the revival of the Ku Klux Klan soon afterward, with the group of citizens responsible for Frank’s 1915 lynching supposedly serving as the inspiration for William Simmons’ reestablishment of that organization a couple of years later. But there seems no evidence for this. Indeed, Simmons strongly emphasized the philo-Semitic nature of his new organization, which attracted considerable Jewish membership.
The primary factor behind the rebirth of the KKK was almost certainly the 1917 release D.W. Griffith’s overwhelmingly popular landmark film Birth of a Nation, which glorified the Klan of the Reconstruction Era. Given that the American film industry was so overwhelmingly Jewish at the time and the film’s financial backers and leading Southern distributors came from that same background, it could be plausibly argued that the Jewish contribution to the creation of the 1920s Klan was a very crucial one, while the revenue from the film’s distribution throughout the South actually financed Samuel Goldwyn’s creation of MGM, Hollywood’s leading studio.
In their introduction, the NOI authors make the fascinating point that the larger historical meaning of the Frank case in American racial history has been entirely lost. Prior to that trial, it was unprecedented for Southern courts to allow black testimony against a white man, let alone against a wealthy man being tried on serious charges; but the horrific nature of the crime and Conley’s role as the sole witness required a break from that longstanding tradition. Thus, the authors argue not unreasonably, that the Frank case may have been as important to the history of black progress in America as such landmark legal verdicts as Plessy vs. Ferguson or Brown vs. Board. But since almost the entire historical narrative has been produced by fervent Jewish advocates, these facts have been completely obscured and the case entirely misrepresented as an example of anti-Semitic persecution and public murder.
Let us summarize what seems to be the solidly established factual history of the Frank case, quite different than the traditional narrative. There is not the slightest evidence that Frank’s Jewish background was a factor behind his arrest and conviction, nor the death sentence he received. The case set a remarkable precedent in Southern courtroom history with the testimony of a black man playing a central role in a white man’s conviction. From the earliest stages of the murder investigation, Frank and his allies continually attempted to implicate a series of different innocent blacks by planting false evidence and using bribes to solicit perjured testimony, while the exceptionally harsh racial rhetoric that Frank and his attorneys directed towards those blacks was presumably intended to provoke their public lynching. Yet despite all these attempts by the Frank forces to play upon the notorious racial sentiments of the white Southerners of that era, the latter saw through these schemes and Frank was the one sentenced to hang for his rape and murder of that young girl.
Now suppose that all the facts of this famous case were exactly unchanged except that Frank had been a white Gentile. Surely the trial would be ranked as one of the greatest racial turning points in American history, perhaps even overshadowing Brown v. Board because of the extent of popular sentiment, and it would have been given a central place in all our modern textbooks. Meanwhile, Frank, his lawyers, and his heavy financial backers would probably be cast as among the vilest racial villains in all of American history for their repeated attempts to foment the lynching of various innocent blacks so that a wealthy white rapist and murderer could walk free. But because Frank was Jewish rather than Christian, this remarkable history has been completely inverted for over one hundred years by our Jewish-dominated media and historiography.
These are the important consequences that derive from control of the narrative and the flow of information, which allows murderers to be transmuted into martyrs and villains into heroes. The ADL was founded just over a century ago with the central goal of preventing a Jewish rapist and killer from being held legally accountable for his crimes, and over the decades, it eventually metastasized into a secret political police force not entirely dissimilar to the widely despised East German Stasi, but with its central goal seeming to be the maintenance of overwhelming Jewish control in a society that is 98% non-Jewish.
We should ask ourselves whether it is appropriate for an organization with such origins and such recent history to be granted enormous influence over the distribution of information across our Internet.