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Martin Speech Tests Hillel-BSA Relationship

Wellesley Prof. Viewed as Anti-Semitic

By Jeff Beals

Members of both the Black Students Association (BSA) and the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel are seriously assessing the damage done to their relationship after a speech on Wednesday night by a Wellesley professor who is widely criticized as being anti-Semitic.

The event, sponsored by the BSA, was entitled The Bell Curve and Other Issues of Racism," but Wellesley Professor of Africana Studies Anthony Martin devoted much of his hour-long address to what he alleged was a Jewish "tradition" of persecuting Blacks.

Martin is the author of the 1993 book The Jewish Onslaught, which alleges a pattern of Jewish racism against Blacks.

"If the future of Black leadership is that people like [BSA President] Kristen Clarke are going to invite people like Tony Martin, this is terrible," Martin Lebwohl '96, a member of Hillel's coordinating council, said yesterday.

The chair and associate chair of Hillel distributed a one-page letter denouncing Martin to the more than 60 students who attended the event at Boylston Hall Wednesday.

"We are shocked and saddened by the choice of this divisive speaker," the letter reads.

BSA officers have stood firmly behind their choice of Martin.

"In inviting him we were not trying to push the campus to one view, but to open it up to a variety of views," BSA Treasurer Joshua D. Bloodworth '97 said.

Many Hillel members have objected to the choice of Martin, saying there are a variety of other scholars who have publicly protested The Bell Curve, the controversial book by former Harvard Professor Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles A. Murray '65.

The book has drawn fire from ethnic groups across the country for the links it draws between race and IQ.

"I think the fact that they know him and chose him over other people who are more qualified is abhorrent and insensitive," Scott L. Alport '98 said.

"They knew that Tony Martin was going to come here and talk about Black persecution by Jews. There's no excuse," Lebwohl emphasized.

BSA President Kristen M. Clarke defended the choice after the speech Wednesday.

"Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact," she said.

The leaders of the two organizations are unclear about their future relationship after the controversy over Martin's speech.

"It's not like we said we're never talking to each other again," Hillel Chair Elie G. Kaunfer '95 said. "The relationship remains open."

Clarke said the reaction by Hillel members "is evidence of the need for serious dialogue to take place between Blacks and Jews."

The BSA and Hillel stood united only two months ago, when the Hillel endorsed a BSA rally on the steps of Widener Library against The Bell Curve.

Last spring the two organizations engaged in a three-part discussion on issues in both the Black and Jewish communities.

But with another meeting between organization leaders scheduled for December 14, it is questionable whether friendly discourse will continue.

"I'm kind of uneasy about talking to them [the BSA] because it seems they ignored our concerns in a big way," said Hillel Social Action Committee Co-chair Josh E. Greenfield '96-'97.

BSA Vice-President Allison L. Moore '97 dismissed the notion that the BSA had asked Martin to speak "to alienate or to offend Hillel. "We want to have open dialogue and continued relations with the Hillel," she said.

Hillel coordinating council member David A. Ganz '96 said Hillel-BSA relations will continue unchanged.

"Whatever state Tony Martin's speech left each community in, we will still have dialogues," he said. "I hope the meetings we have planned with the BSA will go on and I think they will."

Martin was tenured at Wellesley College in 1975 and assumed a full professorship in 1979. His decision to include the controversial book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews in a history class reading list drew criticism from students and faculty at Wellesley College.

Martin wrote The Jewish Onslaught in his own defense against attacks from the campus Hillel and the national Anti-Defamation League.

"The press release against me, I now realize, is a classic textbook case study of organized Jewish intimidation," he wrote in the book

BSA President Kristen M. Clarke defended the choice after the speech Wednesday.

"Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact," she said.

The leaders of the two organizations are unclear about their future relationship after the controversy over Martin's speech.

"It's not like we said we're never talking to each other again," Hillel Chair Elie G. Kaunfer '95 said. "The relationship remains open."

Clarke said the reaction by Hillel members "is evidence of the need for serious dialogue to take place between Blacks and Jews."

The BSA and Hillel stood united only two months ago, when the Hillel endorsed a BSA rally on the steps of Widener Library against The Bell Curve.

Last spring the two organizations engaged in a three-part discussion on issues in both the Black and Jewish communities.

But with another meeting between organization leaders scheduled for December 14, it is questionable whether friendly discourse will continue.

"I'm kind of uneasy about talking to them [the BSA] because it seems they ignored our concerns in a big way," said Hillel Social Action Committee Co-chair Josh E. Greenfield '96-'97.

BSA Vice-President Allison L. Moore '97 dismissed the notion that the BSA had asked Martin to speak "to alienate or to offend Hillel. "We want to have open dialogue and continued relations with the Hillel," she said.

Hillel coordinating council member David A. Ganz '96 said Hillel-BSA relations will continue unchanged.

"Whatever state Tony Martin's speech left each community in, we will still have dialogues," he said. "I hope the meetings we have planned with the BSA will go on and I think they will."

Martin was tenured at Wellesley College in 1975 and assumed a full professorship in 1979. His decision to include the controversial book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews in a history class reading list drew criticism from students and faculty at Wellesley College.

Martin wrote The Jewish Onslaught in his own defense against attacks from the campus Hillel and the national Anti-Defamation League.

"The press release against me, I now realize, is a classic textbook case study of organized Jewish intimidation," he wrote in the book

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