Kirsten Clarke, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, may have lied about her ties to a poet who has expressed anti-Semitic and anti-police views.
During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans asked Clarke about her ties to the late Amiri Baraka, an African American poet and writer who once accused Israel of knowing about 9/11 beforehand.
Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee asked Clarke during her hearing about an essay by Baraka for the Souls, A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society journal that compared police officers to the KKK.
The Washington Free Beacon reviewed eight editions by the journal published in different periods between 1999 and 2000 which showed that both Clarke and Baraka were listed as editors, with Clarke as an assistant editor, and Baraka a contributing editor.
“A contributing editorship is sometimes an honorary title that does not indicate substantive involvement in an editorial process,” the Beacon’s Kevin Daley notes.
Responding to Lee’s question about whether she has served “on the editorial staff of a journal with Amiri Baraka,” Clarke said “no.”
“While Clarke’s denial may not technically amount to perjury, less-than-candid responses have proved fatal for other nominees of both parties. Ryan Bounds, a Trump judicial nominee, withdrew from consideration for a vacancy on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after Democrats charged that he tried to conceal bombastic writings from his college years. Goodwin Liu, an Obama nominee for the same court, withdrew after he failed to disclose dozens of speeches and articles,” Daley writes.
In a 1965 poem titled “Black Art,” Baraka wrote of “Assassin poems … that wrestle cops into alleys / And take their weapons leaving them dead / With tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland.”
The same poem calls for “dagger poems in the slimy bellies / Of the owner-jews.”
In a 1980 Village Voice essay titled “Confessions of a Former Anti-Semite,” Baraka rebuked his past anti-Semitic views, but as the Beacon notes, the anti-Semitism persisted in his later work.
In his 2002 poem “Who Blew Up America?” Barak appears to accuse Israel of having advanced knowledge of the Twin Towers attacks.
“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 wrote in the 2002 poem “Who Blew Up America?” his poem reads, per the Beacon.
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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