The Origin Of The ADL

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Wednesday, Sep 06, 2023 - 12:31
Leo Frank
Leo Frank, whose case was the impetus for the formation of the ADL.

Elon Versus The ADL 

As Zero Hedge reported yesterday, Elon Musk has threatened to sue the ADL (The American Defamation League) for defamation: 

The ADL describes its mission this way, 

To stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all

But as Zero Hedge noted in yesterday's article, conservative Jews such as Chaya Raichik, who runs the popular Libs of TikTok X account, have found themselves in the ADL's sights as well. And as Elon Musk pointed out on Wednesday, ADL launched an advertiser boycott of Twitter as soon as he bought the company, when he had not yet changed anything about the site.

The case that sparked the growth of the ADL is instructive here, particularly since the organization just brought it up, causing a minor controversy on Elon Musk's site. 

Remembering Leo Frank 

Leo Frank, who was Jewish, was the manager of a pencil factory in Georgia where a 13 year old employee (labor laws were different then) named Mary Phagan was found strangled to death. Frank was tried and found guilty of the murder, and sentenced to death. After numerous appeals, the governor of Georgia commuted Frank's sentence from death to life imprisonment. Following that, a group of outraged Georgians broke Frank out of prison and lynched him.

Last month, the ADL commemorated the anniversary of Frank's death with post quoted below (z"l is an abbreviation of a Hebrew phrase meaning "of blessed memory"). 

One of Elon Musk's innovations was adding "Community Notes" to posts on X, where designated users can offer factual corrections to tweets. A community note questioned the ADL's use of "unjustly convicted", noting there was copious evidence at the time of Frank's guilt. Clicking on their post now, it appears the ADL successfully made that note disappear. 

Was Frank Guilty? 

The software entrepreneur, researcher, and editor Ron Unz (himself Jewish), addressed that question in a very long post on his site earlier this year ("American Pravda: The Leo Frank Case and the Origins of the ADL"). His short answer was "yes", but below is a brief excerpt elaborating on that answer. Following that, we'll close with a new update on that biotech trade we discussed here recently. 

After mentioning a commemoration of the centennial of the ADL's founding, Unz writes [emphasis mine], 

In the past, Frank’s name and story would have been equally vague in my mind, only 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 such claim of innocence, perhaps indicating that the author himself might have also had second thoughts about the weight of the evidence.

Unz goes on to discuss the details of the case, but basically, the other main suspect was a black janitor at the factory, and for white Southerners 110 years ago to convict Frank instead of a black man suggests they weren't motivated by bias, as Lindemann demonstrated above. If the American South had been a hotbed of antisemitism, the Confederacy wouldn't have had a Jewish man, Judah P. Benjamin, as its Secretary of War. 

Why Does The ADL Keep Bringing Up Leo Frank? 

Every time the ADL mentions the Frank case, particularly when they say he was unjustly convicted, without offering evidence in support of that claim, it generates a lot of hostile commentary, some of which could be construed as antisemitic. So why does the ADL do it?

Here's a theory: they do it precisely to generate hostile commentary, which they can then use to argue for more censorship. 

Let's end this on a positive note, with an update on that biotech trade we mentioned earlier. 

Playing With The House's Money

In a post a few weeks ago, I mentioned A Biotech Lottery Ticket we had purchased on the Portfolio Armor trading Substack. 

As I mentioned in another post over the weekend (Bad Omens For The Ukrainians), 

That biotech stock was BioLineRx (BLRX 0.00%↑) and the trade was buying the $2.50 strike calls expiring on September 15th for $0.10. When we posted that, BLRX was trading about about $1.38; on Friday it closed at $2.02, and those calls last traded at $0.35, after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. 

Assuming that call option trades at a similar price on Tuesday, subscribers will be able to sell some of their calls for a 350% gain, and play with the house's money with the rest, as we await the potential FDA catalyst scheduled for the end of the week. 

Here's the update: BLRX closed at $2.45 on Tuesday, and we sold half of our calls at $0.35, for a 350% gain. So now we're playing with the house's money as we wait for that potential FDA catalyst. 

If you want a heads up when we place are next trades (we have two bearish ones teed up for today), feel free to subscribe to our occasional email list/trading Substack below. 


If You Want To Stay In Touch

You follow Portfolio Armor on Twitter here, or become a free subscriber to our Substack using the link below (we're using that for our occasional emails now). You can also contact us via our website. If you want to hedge, consider using our website (our iPhone app is currently not available to new users).  


Contributor posts published on Zero Hedge do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Zero Hedge, and are not selected, edited or screened by Zero Hedge editors.