Prophecy or Paranoia?
Anti-Semitism in America
Three of the four articles below deal with different aspects of anti-Semitism among Christian feminists and matriarchalists. These phenomena are significant because they prevent the forging of alliances among women to fight the rising tide of anti-woman violence and anti-Semitism, both from the right—the subject of the opening piece. The series will continue in future issues. —Ed.
Most of the male-dominated Jewish Establishment which tries to orchestrate Jewish public opinion from Manhattan ivory towers does not view anti-Semitism as a threat. While cranking out self-aggrandizing reports and press releases on anti-Semitism, many leaders neither voice concern about it, nor make contingency plans for combatting it either today or in the foreseeable future.
As a journalist who has covered a number of anti-Semitic activities in America for the past several years, I am convinced that anti-Semitism exists here and now and that it merits concern and vigilance. Herewith, a brief overview of the manifestations of anti-Semitism today.
Let’s begin with the activities of presidential candidate Lyndon B. LaRouche, head of the right-wing National Caucus of Labor Committees—U.S. Labor Party (NCLC-USLP), which emerged in its present form in the mid-1970’s.
With federal matching funds for his presidential campaign, LaRouche is running as a Democrat in the 1980 primaries. He became eligible for our tax dollars by filing his candidacy, then raising $100,000 in contributions of $250 or less, with $5,000 coming from 20 different states. LaRouche received 77,720 votes in the California Democratic primary held in June.
LaRouchites are not the stereotype of beer-drinking, swastika-adorned anti-Semites. They are white-collar and educated; some are even Jewish. (LaRouche has promised them immunity from the next Holocaust.) Paramilitary training with sophisticated weapons is provided for the group’s “security personnel.”
LaRouche has created and publicized a conspiracy fantasy in which Jews supposedly instigate anti-Semitism as part of a plot involving the British monarchy, nobility and the upper classes, British Secret Intelligence Service, and cults and secret societies such as the “cult of Is-is” and the “Black Guelph nobility.” His conspiracy theory is presented with political savvy in the organization’s numerous publications, often sold at airports to traveling business executives.
Dennis King, author of a series of investigative articles on the NCLC-USLP in Our Town, a Manhattan weekly, concluded that: “LaRouche has developed a brilliant, long-range strategy that, given a major economic crisis and polarization of American society, could actually bring NCLC to power.” (August 26, 1979.)
A much older and better known anti-Semitic group is the Ku KIux Klan (KKK), which can be traced back to 1866. The strength of the KKK in America is greater than it has been in more than a decade, with membership now at about 10,000, according to a 1979 report of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The report also states the number of Klan sympathizers has doubled in less than two years to between 75,000 and 100,000. There have been ugly Klan gatherings from coast to coast during the past year, in such places as Selma and Decatur, Alabama; Chicago; Detroit; San Diego; Colorado Springs; Flemington, NJ; Seabrook, NH; Winston-Salem, NC; and Baton Rouge. There have reportedly been more Klan rallies in the past two summers than in the rest of the 1970’s, according to the monthly African Mirror. (February, 1980.)
There are four national KKK groups: United Klans of America, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Invisible Empire, Knights of the KKK, in Denham Springs, Louisiana; Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in Metairie, Louisiana; and Confederation of Independent Orders of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the KKK, in Greenwood, Indiana. Crusader, the publication of the Metairie group, the most extreme KKK outfit, is filled with anti-Semitic articles and cartoons and carries advertisements for anti-Semitic books such as Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and The Hitler We Loved and Why.
The Klan’s vicious bigotry against Jews and blacks, as well as Cubans and other Hispanics, Asians and American Indians is not limited to words. In 1978, Maryland Klan terrorists were apprehended while attempting to bomb a synagogue. On November 3, 1979, five demonstrators at an anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, NC were murdered. That same day, 50 Klansmen paraded through the streets of Dallas and scuffled with blacks.
Perhaps most disturbing is the information in the ADL’s report that Klan groups have been discovered in the Armed Forces (Army and Navy) of the United States. African Mirror reported that at a 1979 Labor Day Weekend convention of the Klan in New Orleans, soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas served as security guards for the Klan.
Wrote columnist Jack Anderson: “There is growing frustration over rising prices, job insecurity, high taxes, government spending, gas shortages and a host of related aggravations. In troubled times, people look for outlets for their anger and scapegoats for their problems. For some, the KKK is providing the answers.” (August 26, 1979.) Tom Metzger, an avowed KKK leader, won the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 43rd District of California with 32,344 votes—37% of the votes cast.
The John Birch Society, led by Robert Welch, claimed a membership of 60,000 in 1978. Welch believes a Masonic conspiracy of “intellectuals” (i.e., Jews) is responsible for the social and political progress he considers evil. An elitist group, the Birch Society is comprised of affluent, well-educated members who often head influential businesses and can hardly be dismissed as “lunatics.”
The Liberty Lobby, to the right of the John Birch Society, was founded in the late 1950’s by its current leader, Willis Carto, a professed admirer of Adolf Hitler. In publications such as The Spotlight, a periodical, and America First, a pamphlet, appear some of the old anti-Semitic canards, e.g., Zionist leaders pushed the United States into World War I on the side of the Allies, thus angering Hitler.
Richard Cotten’s White Solidarity Movement, operating out of Corinth, in upstate New York, produces at least 2000 copies every month of Conservative Viewpoint, an anti-Semitic and anti-black “newsletter.” A 1978 issue printed the following: “There can be no happy ending until such time as we break the incredible power of International Jewry. Their domination of the media—and their willingness to spend money in fulfillment of their objectives bodes ill for the future of the Western world and for Christianity.”
The National States’ Rights Party, headed by attorney J.B. Stoner, publishes The Thunderbolt out of Marietta, Georgia. In a typical article, Stoner wrote: “Simply observe Jew propaganda. . . and you will see that the Jews are the driving force behind the mixing of the races. Without Jew power supporting the negroes, it would be easy to solve the negro problem. The Jews use negroes in their efforts to destroy our White Race by polluting its blood stream with the jungle blood of Africa ” (October, 1973).
Probably no more than 2000 people are affiliated American Nazis, factionalized into some eight “national bodies.” The largest, with perhaps 400 members, is the National Socialist White People’s Party, founded in 1959 as the National Socialist Party of America by the late George Lincoln Rockwell. A “comic strip” circulated by this group begins: “How many stores in your area are Jew owned? In recent years the main street of EVERY major city in the U.S. has been taken over by Jews, who have driven white people—like YOU!—into bankruptcy.. . .Learn the facts—stop the Jewish parasites—help build a strong white America!”
Another neo-Nazi group is the Chicago-based National Socialist Party, now led by Harold A. Covington. Covington lost the Republican primary for North Carolina Attorney General in May, 1980, but garnered 43 percent of the votes. His comment: “There are 56,000 people in this state who are either Nazis or fools. . . There are many closet Nazis in the Republican Party. Most conservatives are closet Nazis. If you scratch a conservative you’ll find a Nazi underneath….” The American Jewish Committee issued a report on Covington saying that the “large vote… is cause for concern though its importance should not be magnified.” (Copies are available from American Jewish Committee, 165 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022.— Ed.)
Gerhard Lauck heads the NSDAP-AO (National-sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Par-tei-Auslands Organisation) based in Lincoln, Nebraska. He publishes much of the neo-Nazi material exported to West Germany; and NS Report, a typical issue of which carried these headlines: “You thought the Mob was Italian, eh? (they’re Jewish)” and “Jews ban the truth” (that six million did not die).
Similar neo-Nazi groups are centered in Cincinnati, West Virginia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In general, these neo-Nazis are young, lower middle-class, and prone to violence. In the past two years, they have been linked with such atrocities as: the rape of a woman in Vineland, N.J.; the offer of a reward to any white man or woman who killed a looter during the July, 1977 power failure in New York City; the murder of a Jewish survivor in Chicago by forcing him to inhale cyanide.
Nazi war criminals and collaborators have found a haven in the United States. America is the third largest shelter for Nazi mass murderers, surpassed numerically only by West Germany and Argentina, according to Charles R. Allen, Jr., an expert on the subject. No Nazi war criminal has ever been deported from America for his crimes. Over four hundred alleged Nazi war criminals and collaborators are now being investigated by the U.S.’ Justice Department. Some have enjoyed sanctuary in this country for
more than thirty years, admittedly protected by government officials and U.S. government agencies. In some instances, not only have individual Nazi criminals come here, but the remnants of entire fascist organizations have been transplanted to our shores. The presence here of Nazi war criminals, with protective networks and seemingly limitless defense funds, is routinely shrugged off by most Jewish leaders.
While covering the deportation hearing of alleged Nazi war criminal Vilis A. Hazners, accused of atrocities against the Jews of Riga, Latvia, I came across another right-wing anti-Semitic group, the Christian Defense League. At a peaceful demonstration in front of Hazner’s Dresden, NY home in August, 1978, Albany area students were confronted by members of the CDL carrying signs that said “All Jews are Thieves,” “Go home, Jew Gestapo,” and “Jews are a vengeful people.”
Hazner’s neighbors said he was “a good neighbor” who should be allowed to live in peace. This sentiment was also expressed by the Mineola, NY, neighbors of another alleged Nazi war criminal, Boleslavs Maikovskis, accused of directing mass shootings of Latvian Jews, in interviews with the CBS television network program “Sixty Minutes,” Fall, 1976.
Jewish women are in double jeopardy—as women and as Jews—as right-wing groups use anti-Semitism in their anti-ERA campaign.
“To be anti-ERA… is to become a part of a growing extreme-right wing phalanx which, among other things, is to be less than subtly anti-Semitic. . .” wrote Leo Mindlin in The Jewish Floridian. (February 3,1978)
Eleanor Smeal, president of NOW, called the women’s movement “the first target of the right-wing offensive,” in an article in the National NOW Times, December, 1977. Citing the John Birch Society, the Conservative Caucus, the American Conservative Union, the American Independent Party and “a host of other ad-hoc committees and front groups,” the National NOW Times stated:
“The ERA has been used—cynically and deliberately—as a highly emotional organizing tool to reconstitute the radical right as a force on the American political scene.” Opposition to ratification of the ERA is “systematically orchestrated” by “professional radical right politicians. . .whose adult lives have been dedicated to advancing ultra-conservative causes,” according to the article, which links anti-ERA leader Phyllis Schlafly with the Birchers.
Mindlin quotes Sandra Ellison of the National Socialist White People’s Party, as an example of how anti-Semitism is used against ERA:
“The next time you read something about a rally supporting the ERA or see something on your TV news, take a good look at the demonstrators. You will probably see fat, ugly, stringy-haired lesbians in droopy T-shirts, fanatical Jewesses, and loud-mouthed minorities.” Mindlin also quoted Ellison as saying that ERA proponents are a “scraggly coalition of dykes and kikes.” This sentiment was echoed at the November 1977 IWY meeting in Houston, where, Mindlin recalled, “there were signs around the Coliseum rhyming ‘Kikes for Dykes’ all over the place.” He concluded:
“Perhaps what anti-feminist Jews ought to examine and digest more efficiently than they have thus far is the extent of the anti-Semitic vitriol with which they seem to be aligning themselves. I’m not saying that anti-ERA is anti-Semitic. But more often than we know it is. And always, it is anti-human.”
The anti-Semitic phenomena outlined above are, to me, cause for concern and vigilance. Not so, however, to most of the Jewish establishment, who refer to anti-Semitic occurrences and perpetrators as “aberrations,” “pariahs,” “overemphasized by the media,” “lunatic,” and “of little impact on the American scene.”
However, polls such as a 1978 national Harris Poll conducted for the National Conference of Christians and Jews show that one-third of Americans still hold negative attitudes toward Jews.
Anti-Semitism among blacks was measured by the Survey Research Center of the University of California, Berkeley, in eight nationwide surveys in 1963-1975 under ADL auspices. Judging by their scores on these surveys, blacks were more disposed than whites to be prejudiced against Jews. While 35 percent of whites surveyed scored high, 45 percent of blacks had high scores. Broken down by category, black anti-Semitism was highest on economic-related items. Unlike anti-Semitism among whites, which proved to be greater in the older generation, black anti-Semitism was higher among younger people. The surveys admittedly did not test how much black anti-Semitism was in reality anti-white sentiment.
Although most of the Jewish Establishment dismisses today’s anti-Semites as “aberrations” and “lunatics,” these so-called deviates may be serving a definite purpose in American society. In the guise of “lunacy,” they can act out anti-Semitic attitudes of those in power. Their expressions of overt anti-Semitism then reinforce the covert anti-Semitism that is present, but not expressed, in the attitudes wherein “closet anti-Semites” of varying degrees begin to express their own beliefs more openly, thus causing overt anti-Semitism to spiral.
For example, President Carter’s brother Billy said during a reception given in February, 1979 by the Libyan delegation to the United Nations: “[American Jews] can kiss my ass as far as I’m concerned now.” While President Carter is not his “brother’s keeper,” Billy’s quasi-official status as a member of the President’s immediate family gave his statement a certain air of authority. In the guise of a buffoon, he said what others were only thinking. It is more than likely that his bluntness encouraged others to express their own anti-Semitic attitudes.
Only this May, American tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis told reporters that linesman Lee Gould “should be put into a crematorium and burned to death.” Gerulaitis’ Lithuanian-born grandfather, Stasys Cenkus, now a permanent resident alien living in Howard Beach, NY, was Lithuanian Chief of the Secret Police, collaborating with Nazi Secret Police in Lithuania. Cenkus has been implicated in various Einsatzgruppen (mobile murder squads) actions against Lithuanian Jews in 1941-1943, including beatings, transports to death camps, and murders. The Soviet Union has condemned him to death in absentia for his war crimes.
There was some shock when General George Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speculated in a 1974 speech at Duke University that if the oil embargo led to “real suffering” on the part of Americans they “might get tough-minded enough to set down the Jewish influence in this country and break that lobby.” Saying that Jewish influence in Congress was strong, he continued, “Jews own, you know, the banks in this country, the newspapers. …” Brown did not withdraw his remarks—or lose his job.
“Anti-Semitism is an insidious disease,” wrote the ADL’s Arnold Foster and Benjamin Epstein in 1974 in The New Anti-Semitism. “It can linger in the body politic almost invisibly for years without erupting. Its effects can be long delayed. Moreover, unless expunged it grows. Of all the ills of the world, anti-Semitism is the least likely to die a natural death.”
A brief look at American history shows that from 1915 through the early 1940’s, millions of Americans supported such blatantly anti-Semitic groups as Father Coughlin’s Union for Social Justice, William Dudley Pelley’s Silver Shirts, the Ku Klux Klan, the German-American Bund, Gerald L.K. Smith’s Share-the-Wealth movement, and the America First Committee. The virulently anti-Semitic years from 1915-1925 included the burgeoning of the KKK, Henry Ford’s seven year anti-Semitic campaign in the Dearborn Independent, the beginnings of the quota system in Ivy League colleges and the restricting of immigration.
“Before 1944, a candidate for public office could make anti-Semitic remarks and win votes,” recalled Emanuel Muravchik, director of the Jewish Labor Committee. “An anti-Semitic attitude was accepted then, and quite well-developed in the general public. After World War II, we entered a period of ‘anti-anti-Semitism.’ I think we are no longer in that period—the anti-toxin is wearing off.”
While it is true that a great deal of anti-Semitism has gone “underground” over the past 30 years, I sense a latent form, bubbling beneath the surface, ready to erupt. Will it happen here? Jewish Establishment “experts” tend to slough off this eventuality. One cynic familiar with the behind-the-scenes machinations of organized American Jewry has quipped: “The major Jewish organizations say there’s anti-Semitism here only when they feel the need to issue a press release or raise funds.”
In fact, Jews who do consider anti-Semites a threat are often labeled “paranoiac.” Albert Vorspan, Vice President of the (Reform) Union of American Hebrew Congregations, told delegates at the annual plenary of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) in January, 1980, that Jews in America are now at their most successful and creative level, but they “live like they’re on the brink of disaster,” with insecurities that seem like “paranoia.”
The Jews of pre-World War II Germany have been called members of a “cult of gratitude.” Grateful for their place in German society, they shut their eyes. In a concerted effort to keep their upper-class status, they deluded themselves about Hitler and silently ignored the anti-Semitism that eventually overwhelmed Europe and destroyed its Jews.
The multitude of anti-Semitic manifestations in America today deserves more serious consideration by American Jewish leadership. Polls, platitudes and press releases cannot wish away the anti-Semitism that is as prevalent as ever in the minds of one-third of all Americans (remember that Harris Poll). Nurtured by the conditions America is facing today—oil shortages, unemployment, inflation—these attitudes may gradually become translated into anti-Semitic action. And, should the situation become critical, the Jewish Establishment leadership may well be caught with their heads in the sand.
Rochelle Saidel Wolk, a free-lance journalist and public relations consultant, writes for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. She is currently working on a book about the people seeking to bring Nazi war criminals in America to justice. ©Rochelle Saidel Wolk 1980.