Amiri Baraka's Five Most Anti-Semitic Comments

Amiri Baraka / AP
January 10, 2014

Amiri Baraka, whose poetry and writings were rife with anti-Semitism and racism, died on Thursday at the age of 79.

NPR’s Neda Ulaby described his work as "achingly beautiful." Ulaby has an odd sense of beauty. "Achingly dull and offensive" is a more accurate description of Baraka's writing.

The Washington Free Beacon has compiled some of Baraka’s most hateful words.

1. Israeli imperialism is "blood brothers" with South African apartheid.

Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 (AP)
Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 (AP)

In a 1985 article, Baraka wrote that "Israeli imperialism and South African apartheid are blood brothers."

2. Middle-class Jews are becoming "straightup Americans" by shedding their "Jewishness." 

Amiri Baraka, 1967 (AP)
Amiri Baraka, 1967 (AP)

In an essay titled "Confessions of a former Anti-Semite," Baraka advocates for Jews to shed away their "Jewishness."

"The movement among middle-class Jews to become straightup Americans, shedding their 'Jewishness' represents a progressive trend among Jews…. But in the process of 'shedding their Jewishness' middle-class Jews have adopted the same backward ideas of American racism."

3. "We want … dagger poems in the slimy bellies of the owner-Jews."

Amiri Baraka, 1972 (AP)
Amiri Baraka, 1972 (AP)

From the poem "Black Art":

"We want … dagger poems in the slimy bellies of the owner-Jews

Another bad poem cracking

Steel knuckles in a jewlady's mouth

Poem scream poison gas on beasts in green berets

Clean out the world for virtue and love"

4. "I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured."


From Baraka's "Confessions of a former Anti-Semite" essay:

"Smile, jew. Dance, jew. Tell me you love me, jew…

I got the extermination blues, jew-boys,

So come for the rent, jewboys

Or come ask me for a book, or

Sit in the courts handing down your judgments still I got something for you, gonna give it to my brothers, so they'll know what your whole story is, then one day, jewboys, we all, even my wig wearing mother

Gonna put it on you all at once."

5. Israel knew about 9/11 in advance of the attack.


In poem "Somebody Blew Up America," written in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Baraka supports the conspiracy theory that Israel was aware of the attacks and then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned Israelis to stay away from the World Trade Center.

"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?

Who? Who? Who?"

Baraka was pronounced dead at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, established in 1901 to serve the Jewish community.

It could not be learned whether his doctor was Jewish or "straight up American."

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Israel