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Jewish Groups Welcome Different Role for Jeffries

Leonard Jeffries has finally pleased Jewish groups. Jeffries, who has headed the black studies department of the City College of the City University of New York since 1972, has reportedly decided not to seek another term in the post.

On Monday evening, the department’s faculty elected Professor Moyibi Amoda to succeed Jeffries.

Jeffries won notoriety and the enmity of Jewish groups after a 1991 speech described as “blatantly bigoted” by officials of the Anti-Defamation League.

In the speech, Jeffries said Jews were central to the slave trade and described a fellow professor as “the head Jew at City College.” He also described “a conspiracy” between Russian Jewry and the mafia in Hollywood, in which the parties “put together a system of destruction of black people.”

City College refused to renew his chairmanship in 1992, but Jeffries won a court order reinstating him.

The order was finally overturned in April by an appeals court, after the Supreme Court last November permitted government bodies to dismiss employees for inflammatory statements.

Jewish groups welcomed the development.

“We’re certainly pleased that he is no longer in the position of spokesman for the academic community affiliated with City College,” said Phil Baum, executive director of the American Jewish Congress.

In a statement, ADL similarly announced that it is pleased that Jeffries will not be reappointed. “The board’s decision finally puts some closure to the controversy surrounding Professor Jeffries’ chairmanship,” said Sanford Schlesinger, chair of ADL’s New York Regional Board, and Anita Sher, director of its New York regional office.

Jeffries will continue as a tenured professor at City College.

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