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Poet laureate strikes

By Michael Weissenstein
Saturday October 19, 2002

NEW YORK — New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka criticized Israeli and Jewish groups’ involvement in U.S. politics and reiterated that he would not give up his post as official state poet amid accusations of anti-Semitism. 

In a nearly hour-long monologue and question-and-answer session Thursday at the Bowery Poetry Club, Baraka struck back at critics, saying he wanted to know “why the Anti-Defamation League is not registered as an agent of a foreign power.” 

The Jewish civil rights organization and New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey have called for Baraka’s resignation over his poem, “Somebody Blew Up America,” which implies that Israel had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks.