Tag Archives: anti-semitic

Ill omens: Hate crimes, voter suppression, appointment of Bannon

As civil rights leaders working for racial justice and economic opportunity, we join much of the nation in our apprehension about the incoming administration.

We cannot ignore that the campaign was characterized by divisive racial rhetoric and has emboldened white supremacists across the country.  The wave of hate crimes sweeping the country, with perpetrators invoking the name of the President-elect, is an ill omen, as is the appointment of a chief strategist with an appalling record of promoting racial, anti-Semitic and anti-woman rhetoric.

We were appalled by the calls for intimidation of voters at urban and rural polling places and will not forget.

Voter suppression had a measurable effect on elections in a number of states. While racial voter suppression was widespread, voter suppression was generational as well. Millennials, as a multiracial demographic, also were targeted by strict ID laws and poll closings affecting millions of youth, college and high school students, as well as young professionals. Addressing this  threat to our most vulnerable citizens and our still young democracy will be a top priority for our organizations in the coming weeks and months.

We have a responsibility to vigorously oppose any policies or actions which are inconsistent with our agenda or would serve to turn back the clock on hard-fought gains.  America’s advance toward diversity is not interrupted by the results of the election.

We will continue to battle discrimination, racial injustice and barriers to equal opportunity as we have done for decades. As always, we will advocate for the next President of the United States to honor and prioritize the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection, due process and full citizenship for every American. The President-elect needs to begin by repudiating hate crimes and attacks undertaken in his name and by announcing a commitment to abandon the divisive rhetoric and policy proposals of his campaign that are inconsistent with equality and opportunity for all.

Having earned a minority of the popular vote, elected with the support of only about a quarter percent of the adult population, the President-elect must recognize the challenge of his extremely narrow appeal to the American people. His obligation is to be President for All Americans.

Other important races on the ballot were significant for the advancement of the nation.

While Congress remains in control of leaders with a demonstrated history of obstructionism, we take encouragement from the election of the most diverse Congress in United States history.  When the 115th United States Congress is seated in January, it will include 100 women — notably Kamala Harris among the 23 elected to the Senate — and the largest-ever Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

We encourage every American to stand firm in the fight for the protection of civil rights and in opposition to racism and hate.

The statement was issued jointly by the following:

Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League

The Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network

A Trump presidency? Reactions to the election results

We face a starkly different America when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January. Reactions to the election results:

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard:

Our hearts go out today to the millions of people who voted against bigotry and hate and now have to accept the fact that the man who ridiculed and threatened them for months is the President-elect of the United States. Fear may have won this election, but bravery, hope and perseverance will overcome.

Greenpeace and millions of people around the world have all the power we need to combat climate change and create a just world for everyone. Let’s use this moment to reenergize the fight for the climate and the fight for human rights around the world.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has been the nation’s premier defender of freedom and justice for all, no matter who is president. Our role is no different today.

President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.

These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step. Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers, and millions of card-carrying supporters are ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights.

One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor.

Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

During this campaign, Donald Trump played to the darkest impulses and prejudices of the American people. This outcome sends a frightening message to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and others looking for their place in the American family. We are deeply concerned about the implications for women’s health and rights, but we–women, people of color, immigrants–know what it’s like to fight impossible odds. Our communities still need access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, and so we will keep fighting to protect and preserve that right.

May Boeve of 350.org:

It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this. Many of us are reeling from the news and shaken to the core about what a Trump presidency will mean for the country, and the difficult work ahead for our movements.

Trump’s misogyny, racism and climate denial pose a greater threat than we’ve ever faced, and the battleground on which we’ll fight for justice of all kinds will be that much rougher.

The hardest thing to do right now is to hold on to hope, but it’s what we must do. We should feel our anger, mourn, pray, and then do everything we can to fight hate.

Our Revolution:

Tonight’s election demonstrates what most Americans knew since the beginning of the primaries: the political elite of both parties, the economists, and the media are completely out of touch with the American electorate.

Too many communities have been left behind in the global economy. Too many young people cannot afford the cost of the college education. Too many cannot afford basic necessities like health care, housing, or retirement.

Those of us who want a more equitable and inclusive America need to chart a new course that represents the needs of middle income and working families. The most important thing we can do is come together in unity and fight to protect the most vulnerable people of this country. Just like we did yesterday, Our Revolution will be on the front lines of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal tomorrow morning. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the president-elect cannot ignore the battles Americans are facing every single day.

Tonight Donald Trump was elected president. Our job is to offer a real alternative vision and engage on the local and national level to continue the work of the political revolution in the face of a divided nation.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve faced devastating setbacks in our pursuit of a more perfect union. But even in the darkest of moments, Americans have summoned the courage and persistence to fight on. The results of tonight’s presidential election require us to meet tomorrow with the same resolve and determination.

This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement. The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on.

Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community – which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions – they will choose a different path.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis/GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie:

We have finally come to the end of a long and grueling election cycle, which has dominated everything from social media and television news to conversations around the dinner table. What did not change after the results came in is that GMHC still has clients to serve this morning and we still have an AIDS epidemic on our hands. With Election Day behind us, the work of running a country must continue, which is why today, I call upon the President-elect to start leading on the critical, national fight to end the AIDS epidemic within his first year in office.

Some communities and regions are losing ground in the fight, with tragically increasing rates of new infections in the Southern United States, among young men who have sex with men, women of Trans experience, and within low-income communities of color. In the coming days, weeks, and months, GMHC will continue to fight and care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, just as we have since this agency was founded in Larry Kramer’s living room in 1981. We will continue to organize around modernization of the Ryan White Care Act, removing the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs, ensuring funding for comprehensive sexual health education, and addressing outdated HIV-criminalization laws across the United States.

As President Obama observed in his final State of the Union address, ‘we’re on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. That’s within our grasp.’ The next U.S. President has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to take historic action with a more aggressive response to the epidemic. In the coming months, we will be pushing for the action, commitment and leadership needed to combat this public health crisis.

Wilfred D’Costa from the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development:

For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens’ choice to elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is under threat. The international community must not allow itself to be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our communities.

Jean Su from California-based Center for Biological Diversity:

The Paris Agreement was signed and ratified not by a President, but by the United States itself. One man alone, especially in the twenty-first century, should not strip the globe of the climate progress that it has made and should continue to make. As a matter of international law, and as a matter of human survival, the nations of the world can, must, and will hold the United States to its climate commitments. And it’s incumbent upon U.S. communities to unite and push forth progressive climate policies on a state and local level, where federal policy does not reign.

Becky Chung from the youth network SustainUS:

As a young woman and first-time voter I will not tolerate Trump’s denialism of the action needed for climate justice. Our country must undergo a systemic change and just transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within my lifetime. The next four years are critical for getting on the right pathway, and the disastrous election of Trump serves as a solemn reminder of the path ahead of us. As young people and as climate justice movements we will be demanding real action on climate for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations.

Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa:

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change.

Jesse Bragg, from Boston-based Corporate Accountability International:

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate justice — native american communities, people of color, working people – those that are at this moment defending water rights in Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable energy transformation – are the real beating heart of the movement for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster.

League of Women Voters president Chris Carson:

The League of Women Voters congratulates the American people for turning out in record numbers to participate in our democracy.

Unfortunately, in too many cases, voters had to overcome significant barriers that were erected by elected officials and other political operatives. These ongoing threats to voters’ rights are unacceptable.

This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls.

We can and must do better. All year the League has worked in more than 700 communities, in every state, to register and help eligible Americans get ready to vote. In the 2016 election, more than 4 million people used our digital voter resource, VOTE411.org to find the election information they needed.

The League of Women Voters will continue our work to expand participation in the election process and work to give a voice to all Americans.

NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks:

“This beautiful fall morning represents the end of a long night filled with many midnight moments of uncertainty, voter intimidation and suppression, campaigns founded on bigotry and divisiveness as an electoral strategy.

And yet, despite the moments of ugliness, this election season has reminded us of the beauty and strength of both the nation and of the NAACP.

This was the first presidential election in more than 50 years where voters did not have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. We confronted all manners of ugly, unconstitutional voter suppression, including voter purging, long lines and intimidation and misinformation.  When white nationalists bragged about dispensing malt liquor and marijuana in African-American communities to suppress the vote, we were neither distracted nor dissuaded from our work. When campaign operatives and candidates alike openly called for voter suppression in broad daylight and on camera, we neither flinched nor flagged in our efforts.

The NAACP prevailed in the federal courts against voter suppression no less than nine times in recent months.  In Texas, our state conference saved 608,470 votes with a victorious decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In North Carolina, our state conference saved nearly five percent of the electorate when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the state legislature had enacted discriminatory voting laws that intentionally targeted and disenfranchised black voters. And, just days ago, the NAACP saved nearly 4,500 voters from being purged from the North Carolina rolls.

The last five days of the campaign, after many months in planning, we formally launched our Selma Initiative, to protect the right to vote. We targeted 6,022 precincts in 17 states, dispatching both lawyers and laypeople alike to guard the ballot box and safeguard the rights of voters standing in long lines through our national command center.

Altogether, we mobilized our two million digital activists, nearly half million card-carrying members, 2,200 local units, and more than a hundred partner organizations to both protect and get out the vote through the Selma Initiative.

History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year.  History may take note of the Selma Initiative, but let us all now remember Shena Goode, a 79-year-old NAACP volunteer who not only organized a virtual phone bank in her apartment complex, but also made more than 200 calls in a single day to get out the vote. Her story is the story of the NAACP and the nation. When civil rights are threatened, we are as persistent as we are determined.

Now that the election is over, the first priority for a new Congress and a new president must be restoring the badly-broken Voting Rights Act.  We cannot afford to send untold teams of lawyers to court and spend incalculable sums of money to defend our right to vote in the courts and in the streets again and again and again.

Any effort to suppress the vote, whether at the hands of lawmakers, judges or everyday people, is and must continue to be considered unjust, un-American and utterly unacceptable. The NAACP will not rest until full and equal voting rights are restored for each and every American citizen.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this page throughout the day. And we welcome your reaction.

White supremacists in the ‘age of Trump’

When Hillary Clinton warned about the dangers of the “alt-right” in an August speech, she was referring to white supremacists like Matthew Heimbach.

Directly, it turned out.

“Hillary noted me by name on her website,” said Heimbach, a self-described white nationalist who sounded giddy at the mention.

Heimbach was referring to the aftermath of an August speech in which Hillary Clinton warned about the dangers of the “alt-right” movement, calling out people like Heimbach by name. At 25, he’s already a racial provocateur on the rise.

Despite his age, Heimbach has been agitating about race for years, long before Trump ran for president. Though he is an avowed Trump supporter, Heimbach is first and foremost a product of Maryland, a liberal state still struggling to come to terms with its Confederate-friendly past.

“(Trump) is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said in a speech on Aug. 25. “The names may have changed. Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe calls itself’ alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright.’’

Heimbach says he is not a racist, despite calling himself one in a 2014 Nightline interview that he argues was edited to quote him out of context. He also claims he is not anti-Semitic, but he posed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington with a sign that read: “Six million? More like 271,301.”

The reference to Heimbach on Clinton’s campaign website appears on a page dedicated to explaining Trump’s ties to the white supremacists on the alt-right. “The following quote from a 2013 Heimbach speech called “I Hate Freedom” is featured: “The ’freedom’ for other races to move freely into white nations is nonexistent. Stay in your own nations, we don’t want you here.”

Part of what sets Heimbach apart from other white supremacists is his willingness to argue his case with anyone, particularly those repulsed by his ideas.

“He’s very media savvy,” said Ryan Lenz, editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog. “He knows how to talk to people and make himself seem what he is not. He uses media to elevate his image. Meanwhile, he is hiding from the realities of his hate. And believe me, Matthew Heimbach does hate.”

Heimbach’s actions at a Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 1 make it hard to argue with Lenz. In one of the first videos of violence at a Trump campaign event, Heimbach, who is baby-faced, heavy-set and with close-cropped black hair, is seen repeatedly shoving Kashiya Nwanguma, a black female protester, on the auditorium floor.

He was not arrested and charged in the incident, but was later sued in civil court by Nwanguma. In response to the charges, Heimbach said: “They’re another attempt by the far left to bog us down by using law-fare (sic),” playing on the word “warfare.’’

In June, Heimbach organized but did not attend a joint rally in Sacramento, California, of his Traditionalist Worker Party and a local skinhead group that turned bloody when anti-fascist counter protestors arrived. Ten people were injured, two with critical stab wounds according to the Sacramento Fire Department.

Where Heimbach goes from here will answer the question of whether he is an anomaly made prominent by Trump, or a future leader of white supremacists who remains on the political scene after this year’s presidential election.

“If Hillary wins, the Republican establishment will be totally discredited,” he said. “The ‘alt-right’ will be the only option for the white working class. We will be become their de facto voice.”

Heimbach is actively preparing for the possibility.

In 2018, he plans to run for a state legislature seat in Paoli, Indiana, where he moved in 2013.

And Heimbach believes he can win. “There is a clear path to electoral victory,” he said. “If I can just get a sizeable percentage of people who are disgusted with Democrats and Republicans to vote again, I can win the seat.”

There is also his charisma to consider. Speaking with Heimbach — who is widely described as friendly, well-spoken and accessible — is disorienting. He is genial, smooth and adept at presenting his views as simple solutions to complex problems, and not an improbable return to race-based segregation.

Yet all his purported solutions lead to the same thing white supremacists have been seeking for years: a homeland for whites only within the United States.

“America is big enough to divide,” said Heimbach, citing the breakup of the Soviet Union into different ethnic-based republics as a model for what could happen in the U.S. “We’ll take any patch of dirt. We’re not asking for people to follow us. We’re asking to opt out.”

He intends to pursue this end by political means. In addition to his own candidacy in 2018, Heimbach plans to field a slate of Traditionalist Worker Party candidates for local, state and county offices in regions he considers friendly to his cause, specifically in rural Appalachia.

“We don’t have to win to win,” said Heimbach, referring to the idea of preventing Republican candidates from holding on to their seats. “If you support free trade, amnesty, gun regulation, more money to Israel, if we can go ahead and knock you out of office, we’re going to have a disproportionate impact on American politics.”

Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party has yet to field a candidate in any race. However, Heimbach said he has already recruited seven candidates to run for state or local offices in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana. For now, Western Maryland is not in Heimbach’s sights, but he hopes to run candidates there one day.

“Western Maryland doesn’t like being under the control of Annapolis,” said Heimbach, a native of Poolesville, Maryland. “We’d like to work with people there to have their own state, or join West Virginia so they can be a part of state that more reflects their values.”

“There’s no easy answer to why someone becomes radicalized,” says Patrick James, a researcher and project manager for the Profiles of Individual Radicalization project at the University of Maryland. “But they tend to come from a middle-class background.”

Heimbach’s father, who did not return calls for comment, was a history teacher at the local high school in Poolesville, Maryland. The town’s population is 5,000, almost 90 percent of whom are white and with a median family income of $150,000, nearly double the state median, according to the Maryland Department of Planning.

At Poolesville High, Heimbach became interested in history and learned about Maryland’s seditious side during the Civil War. Although Maryland never seceded from the Union, its proximity and ties to the South were well known. Its state song, “Maryland My Maryland,” was written in 1861 at the start of the Civil War and includes a lyric about how the state “spurns the Northern scum.”

Poolesville was founded by a man named John Poole, whose house is now a historic site in town. According to Heimbach, there is a framed quote on the wall in the house from a Union commander that reads: “Poolesville was most treasonous town in the entire south.”

During high school, Heimbach also discovered Confederate ancestors in his family tree and claimed that Poolesville had voted for segregationist George Wallace repeatedly. According to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, which could only locate polling going back to the 1976 presidential primaries the last time Wallace ran for President, Poolesville cast only 29 votes for him out of a total of about 400. However, there is evidence of a local Poolesville group that tried to stop desegregation there in 1956.

“There was a huge part of our local history that was ignored based on political correctness,” said Heimbach.

After high school, he attended Montgomery College just 30 minutes away from his hometown of Poolesville. It was where he began to despise what he called the “social justice warriors”on campus. By the time he transferred to Towson University in 2011, Maryland’s liberal side had gotten under his skin.

“If you can’t make it at Towson with political differences, you can’t make it anywhere,” said Richard Vatz, the Towson professor who briefly served as a faculty adviser to a student group Heimbach started there called Youth for Western Civilization.

Heimbach saw it differently. “Towson was Montgomery College on steroids,” he said.

So was it old vs. new Maryland that led Heimbach to be called part of a “hate movement” by a candidate for president?

“More often radicalization is driven by some kind of emotional need,” says James, ”a quest for significance, the need to be someone.”

In response, Heimbach said: “I think that’s dismissive of the legitimate political, economic and social concerns of white millennials.”

Emotional or otherwise, Heimbach’s attention-seeking efforts began in earnest at Towson, where he formed the White Student Union, escalating his race-based provocations by chalking a series of slogans around campus that included, “White Pride,” ‘White Guilt is Over” and ‘Celebrate Your European Heritage.”

Despite Towson’s standing as the safest school in the Maryland collegiate system for crimes per capita in 2014, Heimbach and other members of the White Student Union embarked on campus night patrols in 2013 to prevent black-on-white crime. The ensuing attention included a widely seen profile by Vice Media that landed Heimbach firmly on the larger white nationalist scene.

Upon graduation he doubled down, joining the neo-Confederate League of the South, attending events with the Aryan Terror Brigade and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. He twice addressed the annual conference hosted by Stormfront, one of the biggest Internet forums for white supremacists and hate speech. He has also traveled abroad, visiting with far-right groups in Europe, including Greece’s Golden Dawn, the Czech Workers’ Party and the New Right Party in Romania.

All of it in apparent preparation for what is happening now, or per Heimbach’s master plan, in 2018.

By then, it will be more clear whether he is the next David Duke, to whom he’s so often compared, or merely as Lenz said: “The consummate glad hander of the racist right.”


Trump tweets anti-Semitic image taken from neo-Nazi message board

[UPDATE] Mic News reported that the anti-Semitic image Trump tweeted of Hillary Clinton was taken from a neo-Nazi message board. According to Mic News, the site said the image appeared on an entry posted around June 22, more than a week before Trump’s team tweeted it yesterday.

The image, which pictured Hillary Clinton’s face against a backdrop of $100 bills next to a Star of David containing the words “most corrupt candidate ever,” was first tweeted by the Trump campaign yesterday morning. Yesterday was also notable in anti-Semitic history due to the death of the world’s most famous living Holocaust survivor.

Marc Lamont Hill, host of BET News and a CNN commentator, called Trump’s tweet “textbook anti-Semitic imagery.” Many other commentators reached the same conclusion.

After critics condemned the image as a “dog-whistle” appeal to anti-Semites and racists, the Trump campaign replaced the Star of David with a circle. That move prompted Jewish-American civil rights activist Michael Skolnik to tweet, “First appease anti-Semitic white supremacists, then pretend it never happened.”

Trump’s tweet went out just hours before the death of Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel was confirmed. The celebrated Jewish author and philosopher was 87.

Wiesel spent his life ensuring the Holocaust would not be forgotten through his writings and teachings. His autobiographical 1960 book Night became one of the 20th century’s most influential literary works. In it, Wiesel described the horrors of life in Nazi death camps and how his experiences led him to doubt God and question his own survival.

Weisel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Nobel citation called Wiesel called him “a messenger to mankind.”

“His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief,” the Nobel Committee wrote.

Wiesel’s death will probably bring more attention to Trump’s tweet today and lead to renewed wariness of his perceived bigotry. The presumptive presidential nominee has attracted neo-Nazi groups and Ku Klux Klan followers with his condemnation of Mexicans and Muslims.

After he received the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke earlier this year, Trump declined to repudiate the endorsement, saying that he would need to learn more about Duke first.

“The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in. We want our country to be safe,” the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan told a Richmond, Virginia, news station in late April.

Neo-Nazis have also expressed their support for Trump. Leaders of that movement have said they plan to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to protect Trump from protesters.

In a podcast last August, Stormfront radio co-host Don Advo expressed his admiration for Trump. He said Trump’s foes are “living on the pieces of silver that they get from their Jewish paymasters so that they can preside over our extermination, our disposition, and our ultimate disappearance from the face of the Earth,” Buzzfeed reported.

Stormfront is a white supremacist, neo-Nazi Internet forum that’s considered the Web’s oldest major racial hate site.


Catholic students taunt Jewish players with anti-Semitic chant during basketball game

Officials at Catholic Memorial School in Massachusetts have apologized after students chanted anti-Semitic taunts during a basketball game against a school with a largely Jewish student body.

Dozens of Catholic Memorial students attending Friday’s game against Newton North High School were overheard yelling, ‘‘You killed Jesus’’ to Newton North fans.

Catholic Memorial President Peter Folan said in a statement Saturday the school will work diligently to end what he called ‘‘abhorrent behavior.’’

Folan says the Catholic Memorial students were reprimanded and had to apologize to the Newton North principal after the game.

Newton Public Schools Superintendent David Fleishman says he contacted the Anti-Defamation League and that Newton students would discuss the incident on Monday.

Catholic Memorial is an all-boys college preparatory school located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, propelled both by liberals who oppose Israel and increasing neo-Nazi activity, particularly in Europe.


Ted Nugent’s anti-Semitic rant prompts calls for his ouster from NRA board

In the wake of an anti-Semitic rant on social media, shock rocker Ted Nugent faces calls for his ouster from the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.

The notorious hate monger posted pictures of 12 American Jewish leaders on social media along with the charge that they are the men and women “really behind gun control.”

The Israeli flag appears over or next to each of the faces in a meme used in white supremacist circles, according to the Anti-Defamation League. ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt said Nugent’s comments were “nothing short of conspiratorial anti-Semitism.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Nugent’s post revived the popularity of the meme, drawing praise from anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups.

Among the Jewish leaders singled out were Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., “Jew York City Mayor Mikey Bloomberg,” former senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Nugent branded them as “punks” who would “deny us the basic human right to self defense and to keep and bear arms while many of them have paid hired armed security.

Nugent also posted a photo of Nazis rounding up Jews during the Holocaust and described gun-control advocates as “soulless sheep to slaughter.”

The NRA’s response was to issue a message saying that individual board members do not speak for the group as a whole.

Nugent’s social media outrage was merely the latest in a long series of outlandish behavior.

In June 2014, the town of Longview, Texas, paid far-right Nugent $16,000 — half of his performance fee — not to appear at the town’s Fourth of July Festival. The cancellation followed Nugent’s description of President Barack Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.”

The cancellation followed Nugent’s January description of President Barack Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.”

Nor is Nugent the only fringe-right figure tied to the NRA. One of the group’s most ardent supporters is right-wing Web radio host Pete Santilli, who once told listeners he wants “to shoot (Hillary Clinton) in the vagina and I don’t want her to die right away. I want her to feel the pain.”

Refugee crisis recalls that of Jews in WWII

Sol Messinger was just 7 when he stood with his father at the rail of the ocean liner St. Louis and stared into the gathering darkness. But nearly eight decades later, Messinger still recalls the lights of Miami glittering off the bow, so near to him and more than 900 fellow Jewish refugees aboard, yet beyond their reach.

“I look out into the ocean and I get this queasy feeling,” says Messinger, whose family escaped Europe for the United States three years after American officials turned away the vessel in 1939. Now 83, he is a pathologist in Buffalo, New York. “The Jews did not pose any threat to the U.S. It’s really unforgivable.”

Now, fresh angst about whether to admit refugees or turn them away has put the spotlight back on the shunning of the St. Louis and other decisions, now widely regretted, by U.S. officials before and during World War II.

In the wake of Islamic State terrorists killing 130 people in Paris, a backlash against the United States admitting Syrian refugees — many of them Muslims — has fueled a bitter debate, with politicians, pundits and others drawing lines between present and past.

Similarities between the rhetoric of today and the attitudes of the U.S. public and officials during World War II make that history worth recalling, scholars say, as the country confronts new fears of terrorism.

“No historical parallel is perfect, obviously,” says Allan Lichtman, co-author of FDR and the Jews and a professor of history at American University.

But U.S. limits on refugees during World War II, influenced by anti-Semitism, were fed by fears the Nazis “would plant agents, spies and saboteurs among the Jewish refugees and that they would pressure the Jews, particularly those whose families were still in Germany, to act as agents on behalf of the Third Reich,” Lichtman said. “Those arguments are chillingly similar to the arguments being made against the admission of the Syrian refugees.”

The 1930s saw widespread disdain for Jewish people from Europe. Opposition to admitting refugees was heightened by the economic worries left by the Great Depression. Those public attitudes were reinforced by the U.S. State Department and other agencies, which worked to limit an influx of Jewish people whom FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover labeled as potential infiltrators, he said.

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pondered relaxation of refugee quotas, Vice President John Nance Garner counseled that if Congress were allowed to vote in private, the lawmakers would ban immigration altogether, Lichtman said.

Lichtman isn’t alone in making the comparison. Recently, Ohio professor Peter Shulman of Case Western Reserve University used Twitter to post results from a 1938 public opinion poll showing Americans overwhelmingly rejected admission of Jewish people from Germany in the years leading up to the outbreak of war.

The reaction “was instantaneous and totally overwhelming. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” said Shulman.

New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, criticizing a number of Republican governors — including Scott Walker of Wisconsin — for opposing admission of Syrian refugees, cited the 1938 poll, which said 67.4 percent of Americans said the U.S. should try to keep German and Austrian refugees out of the country and 61 percent opposed allowing 10,000 German Jewish children to enter.

“We are not going to make that mistake in our time and voices of intolerance and voices of division are not going to cause us to do something that is against our values,” DeBlasio said.

“When we sent Jews back to Germany and when we sent Japanese to internment camps, we regretted it and we will regret this as well,” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said before 47 House Democrats and 242 Republicans voted for a bill to put new security limits on a plan by President Barack Obama to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.

Responding to the vote, Karin Johanson, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s D.C. legislative office, said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., “and this un-American bill’s supporters falsely claim it will simply pause U.S. resettlement of refugees. In fact, it will bring resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees to a grinding halt by adding layers of bureaucracy to an already rigorous process. It also discriminates against refugees based on their national origin, nationality and religion. Supporters of this bill want us to turn our backs on refugees who are seeking safe harbor from the very terrorism we all abhor. This is not leadership.”

There is a long pattern in U.S. politics of labeling refugees as a threat, whether those fleeing the Nazis, refugees of the Hungarian Revolution or boat people uprooted by the Vietnam War, said Kelly Greenhill, author of Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion and Foreign Policy.

“Every time this country is confronted with .… a visible influx of people, the issue becomes politicized,” said Greenhill, a professor of political science at Tufts University and a research fellow at Harvard University’s school of government. “This is a movie we’ve seen before and it’s sort of unfortunate, but it has a curious sameness across time, which doesn’t make it better.”

In the years since World War II, the U.S. has become the world’s largest recipient of international refugees. 

But of the 784,000 refugees resettled in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, just three have been arrested for planning terrorist activities, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank. Only one of those, an Uzbeki immigrant, spoke of targeting the United States but had no specific plans, the institute said.

While taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees would be a significant increase from the roughly 2,000 admitted since the country’s civil war began in 2011, it is a fraction of those going to other countries. Up to 800,000 people are expected to seek asylum in Germany by the end of this year, according to MPI.

Study: Nazi propaganda made life-long impact on German children

Anti-Semitic propaganda had a life-long effect on German children schooled during the Nazi period, leaving them far more likely to harbor negative views of Jews than those born earlier and later, according to a new study.

The findings indicate that attempts to influence public attitudes are most effective when they target young people, particularly if the message confirms existing beliefs, the authors said.

Researchers from the United States and Switzerland examined surveys conducted in 1996 and 2006 that asked respondents about a range of issues, including their opinions of Jewish people. The polls, known as the German General Social Survey, reflected the views of 5,300 people from 264 towns and cities across Germany, allowing the researchers to examine differences according to age, gender and location.

By focusing on those respondents who expressed consistently negative views of Jewish people in a number of questions, the researchers found that those born in the 1930s held the most extreme anti-Semitic opinions — even 50 years after the end of Nazi rule.

“It’s not just that Nazi schooling worked, that if you subject people to a totalitarian regime during their formative years it will influence the way their mind works,” said Hans-Joachim Voth of the University of Zurich, one of the study’s authors. “The striking thing is that it doesn’t go away afterward.”

But members of the group, which was systematically indoctrinated by the Nazi education system during Adolf Hitler’s 1933-1945 dictatorship, also showed marked differences depending on whether they came from an area where anti-Semitism was already strong before the Nazis.

For this, the researchers compared the survey with historical voting records going back to the late 1890s. They found that those from areas where anti-Semitic parties were traditionally strong also had the most negative opinions of Jewish people.

“The extent to which Nazi schooling worked depended crucially on whether the overall environment where children grew up was already a bit anti-Semitic,” said Voth. “It tells you that indoctrination can work, it can last to a surprising extent, but the way it works has to be compatible to something people already believe.”

Benjamin Ortmeyer, who heads a research center on Nazi education at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, said the study’s conclusions were “absolutely plausible.”

“The significance of this kind of propaganda hasn’t really been exposed,” said Ortmeyer, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Compared to the brutal deeds of the Nazi mass murderers this area of crimes, the brainwashing, was largely ignored.”

One reason, he said, is the difficulty of getting older Germans to talk about their experiences of the Nazi period. While Jewish people who survived the Holocaust vividly recount the abuse they suffered in school and at the hands of fellow pupils, non-Jewish Germans mostly describe their school years as peaceful and fun.

Ortmeyer said Nazi educators wove anti-Semitic propaganda into every school subject and extra-curricular activity, even giving students “projects” that included scouring church records for the names of Jewish families that had recently converted to Christianity. These were later used to draw up lists of Jewish people for deportation to concentration camps.

There were some exceptions, said Ortmeyer, such as the “White Rose” in Munich and the “Edelweiss Pirates” in Cologne — youth resistance groups that formed despite the overwhelming Nazi propaganda.

“Those are important examples for young people these days,” he said.

The study also noted that Germans born in the 1920s held only slightly more anti-Semitic views than those born in the `40s — even though some in the older group would have gone to school during the Nazi era, while the younger group didn’t. The authors suggested that those with extreme views might not have survived the war, falling victim to their own enthusiasm for Nazi ideology.

“We can’t prove it, but it seems likely to us based on the patterns in the data, that these were the cohorts that weren’t drafted but by the end of the war they could volunteer for the Waffen SS. And they had an incredibly high casualty rate,” said Voth.

Local anti-Semitic incidents reach 20-year high

Just days after the Milwaukee Jewish Federation reported a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents in southeast Wisconsin last year, a massive spree of vandalism in Madison included the spray-painting of property with anti-Semitic, Ku Klux Klan and Confederate imagery.

Thirty-nine acts of vandalism on Madison’s west side were reported to police during the Jewish Sabbath beginning after dark on Friday, Feb. 13, and continuing into Saturday, Feb. 14. Most of the incidents involved property damage such as smashed windshields and mailboxes, as well as spray-painted obscenities. But five were anti-Semitic or racist in nature, according to Dina Weinbach, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Madison.

A car belonging to federation president Jim Stein was vandalized during the rampage and an anti-Jewish slur was spray-painted on a garage door across the street from his home.

There also were swastikas painted on a garage door and a driveway in different neighborhoods. The letters KKK were spray-painted on the side of a house.

Attending the federation’s board meeting on Feb. 17, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval described a handful of the incidents as “hateful,” but said they do not necessarily qualify for hate-crime enhancements under Wisconsin law, according to Greg Steinberger, who attended the meeting. Steinberger is executive director of Hillel at the UW-Madison, which serves a community of 5,000 Jewish students. 

In May 2014, UW-Madison students rejected a resolution calling for the university to divest from Israeli companies. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a growing trend among far-left activists on campuses throughout the world, and it is becoming increasingly laced with anti-Semitism. Many proponents of the BDS movement perpetuate standard anti-Semitic myths, such as Jewish control of the media, banking and entertainment industries.

Steinberger was able to point to UW-Madison’s rejection of BDS to reassure concerned Jewish alumni and parents of Jewish students who called him after learning about the vandalism spree, he said. Many sought reassurance that Madison is a safe place for Jews. 

“I’ve been here for 15 years, and I’ve always felt Wisconsin is a particularly welcoming and hospitable campus,” Steinberger said.

Weinbach said she also received calls following the vandalism from people who were fearful, but added that she “received a lot of calls from people outside the Jewish community to show their support and their disappointment that this could happen.

“If one group is targeted, everyone is affected, and we all have to stand together to condemn acts of hatred,” she said.

“The Madison and Milwaukee Jewish communities are working closely with law enforcement officials, as they investigate these crimes,” the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation said in a statement. “We are thankful for their diligence and professionalism.”

But, the statement continued, “Problems of bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism cannot, however, be solved solely by law enforcement. Solutions must take place at all levels of a community, including elected officials, media professionals, co-workers and neighbors. Hateful speech is often the precursor to vandalism, harassment and violence.”

The Jewish community in southeastern Wisconsin, like Jewish communities across the globe, has been on edge following the recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, especially in France. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s audit of anti-Semitic incidents in southeastern Wisconsin during 2014 shows that local fears are well-founded: There were twice as many verified incidents in 2014 than were reported in any single year in the last two decades. 

Experts say that such audits represent only the tip of the iceberg, as most incidents go unreported. The federation corroborates and reviews each incident before it’s officially recorded. The federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council works collaboratively with schools, law enforcement and national agencies to address the incidents as well as the underlying contributing conditions.

Among the most common expressions of anti-Semitism recorded in the report were a record number of swastikas on public and private property. One possible cause for the alarming increase is the exploitation of anger toward Israel over ongoing hostilities with Palestine.

“We must recognize that sometimes such criticism of the state of Israel — or activism against its legitimacy — is a cloak for age-old Jew hatred,” said JCRC director Elana Kahn-Oren in a statement.

In recent years, the JCRC has focused increasingly on anti-Semitic harassment and verbal expressions among middle and high school students, which often takes the form of jokes, pranks, teasing and bullying.

“Kids hear it form their parents and take it out on their classmates,” Kahn-Oren told WiG. “They don’t have the filter their parents do. We should educate Jewish teens to recognize anti-Semitism when they hear it, understand what it means, understand the role of speech in creating hateful environments and help (teens) develop a kind of a tool box of ways to respond to things in ways that don’t cost them all their social capital.”

After a recent anti-Semitic incident at a suburban Milwaukee school — an incident that wasn’t included in the audit — the JCRC brought in a young person from the Anti-Defense League to facilitate a program for teens. Kahn-Oren said her group sponsored a similar program last year.

“They talk about the pyramid of hate and that you start with speech and move up through vandalism and threats to discrimination,” she said. “It gets young people talking about what they hear and how they respond to it and how they could have responded to it. So much (anti-Semitism) comes in the form of jokes. So how can you sort of appropriately take things out of the conversation?”

Kahn-Oren says that peer pressure is often a very effective way of calling out a person who’s using hateful language. 

“Jews will always speak up about anti-Semitism, but what we really need is others to also denounce bigoted language — against anybody,” Kahn-Oren said. “To me that’s really the call to action from this audit. We need to create a culture where we have friends and allies who stand up for each other.”

Israeli barber creates ‘magic’ skull cap to protect Jews from attacks

An Israeli barber has fashioned what he calls “magic” yarmulkes out of hair, designed to allow religious Jews to cover their heads without attracting unwanted attention from anti-Semites.

Shalom Koresh said his skullcap, known as a yarmulke in Yiddish and a kippa in Hebrew, was inspired by rising anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. He said he has seen particular interest from buyers in France and Belgium.

“This skullcap is washable, you can brush it, you can dye it,” Koresh said in his salon in central Israel. “It was created so people could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it, and feel secure.”

France has seen a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. The killing of four French Jews in a hostage standoff at a Paris kosher market earlier this month has deepened fears among European Jews.

Officials in Israel are expecting – and encouraging – a new influx of Jewish immigrants following the Paris standoff. Since the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has encouraged European Jews to move to the Jewish state.

Many Jews in Europe, especially France, say they feel unsafe walking around wearing the symbols of their faith. A 2013 European Union report found that one in five European Jews avoid wearing kippas or other Jewish symbols for fear of being harassed or attacked. The skullcap could also serve Jews traveling to the Middle East, where they encounter hostility in many Arab countries.

Koresh’s hairy skullcap, which he has dubbed the “Magic Kippa,” comes in an array of shades and colors. He sells them online, starting at 49 euros (56 dollars) for synthetic hair and 79 euros (91 dollars) for ones made of natural hair. The skullcap can be fastened onto the wearer’s real hair with hidden clips.

“You don’t feel a thing. It feels like it is part of your hair. There isn’t such a difference between this and a regular kippa. It feels the same,” said Maor Hania, who modelled a dark brown skullcap at Koresh’s salon.

Devout Jewish men traditionally wear skullcaps as a sign of respect and reverence for God. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who teaches at a prominent Jerusalem yeshiva, said that Jewish skullcaps must be visible and not hidden, but added that under certain unforeseeable circumstances, such as a risk of attacks, the “Magic Kippa” may be valid.

“Our sages said that, for example, when we are in danger, then it’s possible (to hide it),” he said, adding that the wearer should consult his own rabbi for guidance.

The hairy kippa received mixed reactions among skullcap-wearing men in Jerusalem. Some said they felt ill at ease with the idea of hiding their identity abroad, but others welcomed the protection.

“It’s very dangerous in France right now and it’s dangerous for a person to walk outside with a kippa,” said Richard Altabe, who wore a regular black kippa atop his silver hair. “So if this is how they can maintain their religious commitment, why not?”