Rudolph Linked to Anti-Jewish Ideology

Eric Rudolph, the U.S. white supremacist arrested over the weekend for four bombings, including an attack at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, was apparently motivated by an anti-Semitic ideology known as Christian Identity.

Rudolph, 36, also wrote a paper espousing Holocaust denial while in high school.

Although it is unknown whether Rudolph considers himself a formal follower of the group, in 1984 his family spent four months at a Christian Identity camp in Missouri and the family was friendly with Christian Identity preachers.

In addition, his belief system seems to coincide with what Identity followers espouse, according to experts on U.S. hate groups. Christian Identity has its origins in Great Britain in the 1800s. During that time, an ideology known as British Israelism developed: Its followers believed that the British were descended from the ancient Israelites. But only when Christian Identity migrated to North America at the end of the 19th and the early 20th centuries — where it found a home in New England, the Midwest and West — did the ideology take on anti-Semitic and racist overtones.

Adherents to Christian Identity on this continent believe that non- Jewish "white Europeans and their descendants elsewhere are descended from the lost tribes of Israel. Therefore, they’re God’s chosen people," said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact-finding for the Anti-Defamation League.

Others, including Jews, Asians and blacks, therefore, were inferior and sinister.

There are an estimated 25,000-50,000 Christian Identity followers in North America, according to Pitcavage. Among these are members of the Aryan Nations, whose leader, Richard Butler, ran a 20-acre compound in Idaho until it was taken away from the group following a 1998 incident in which a teenager and his mother were beaten there.

Buford Furrow Jr., who is serving a life sentence in jail for killing a Filipino American postman and wounding five people at a North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills in a 1999 shooting spree in Los Angeles, was a member of the Aryan Nations.

Some of the more theologically inclined Christian Identity followers believe that Jews are descended from a union between Eve and the biblical serpent that they say created Cain — and that Jews are descended from Cain, Pitcavage said. They also believe in more than one biblical creation and that blacks and Asians — whom they call "mud people" — were created during "practice" creations.

But for all Christian Identity followers, anti-Semitism "is absolutely critical. Everything about Christian Identity is that Jews are Satanic and need to be eradicated," said Heidi Beirich, a spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog group.

Rudolph was arrested Saturday in western North Carolina after a five-year search by investigators. In total, he is believed to be responsible for four bombings, in which two people were killed and 150 people injured. This week, he agreed to be transferred to Alabama to face charges in one of the attacks, a 1998 bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham in which an off-duty police officer was killed.

He also allegedly bombed a gay nightclub and an office building housing another abortion clinic.

But Jews came in for particular hatred, said his former sister-in-law.

"[Rudolph] hated Jews more than probably any other race," Deborah Rudolph, who is divorced from Rudolph’s brother, Joel, told ABC’s "Good Morning America."

He "felt that, you know, they’ve been run out of every country they’ve ever been in. They’ve destroyed every country they’ve ever been in. They have too much control in our country," she said.

He considered the TV "The Electronic Jew," she said in an interview a few years ago.

"You could be watching a 30-minute sitcom and the credits would roll and there’d be Jewish names and, excuse my expression, but he would say, ‘You f——- Yids.’ Any little thing and he would start," she said.

Rudolph’s formal introduction into white supremacism seems to have started in 1981, after his father died in South Florida from cancer. Rudolph’s mother was upset that laetrile, a drug sometimes used to treat cancer, was made illegal. Her anger helped transform her and her family into staunch anti- government ideologues — often a pathway into white supremacism. With the help of Tom Branham, a sawmill owner arrested in 1984 for possessing illegal explosives, Pat Rudolph moved the family to western North Carolina.

There, as a ninth-grader, he wrote the paper denying the Holocaust.

"Eric’s paper saying that the Holocaust never happened, this was Eric’s and Joel’s and the whole family’s deal," Deborah Rudolph said in the interview.

Motivated by Hate

Some Jewish facilities in Pittsburgh are under increased security following last week’s shooting rampage that killed five minorities, including one Jewish woman.

Police are adding patrols and keeping marked police cars parked near some Pittsburgh Jewish institutions.

“We live in an era of random risk, and I’m watching Jewish institutions take increased precautions,” said Brian Schreiber, executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

“But we don’t want this to become Ft. Knox,” said Schreiber, who added that he supports the security measures.

On Monday, police were patrolling the parking lot of Congregation Beth El of South Hills, which was one of two synagogues shot at during the rampage. Windows were boarded, and the anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted there during the rampage was covered, according to a synagogue employee.

The tragedy is spurring calls for increased gun safety laws and passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which has been stalled in Congress.

President Clinton called for national legislation against hate crimes in an address Sunday at a fundraiser for the NAACP in Detroit.

The incident, Clinton said, shows that “there are still people in the country who are shot, who are abused, who are killed because of their race, their religion, just because they’re gay.”

He added, “It is simply not true that we do not need national legislation. We do. It is who we are. It is who we stand for.”

Some congressional Republicans oppose the bill in part because they don’t want to create special classes of victims.

The rampage was the second apparently racially motivated crime in the Pittsburgh area in the past two months.

In March, a black man allegedly killed three whites in the working-class suburb of Wilkinsburg.

“These incidents are becoming less shocking, and that’s shocking in and of itself,” said Schreiber.

Last Friday, Richard Scott Baumhammers, 34, allegedly began his spree by killing Anita Gordon, a Jewish woman who was one of his next-door neighbors and a family friend.

Gordon, a 63-year-old native of Pittsburgh who was the married mother of three daughters, held a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

She was known for her work as a volunteer at Beth El and once designed the cover of the synagogue directory.

“Many members talked of her as if she were a second mother,” said Beth El’s rabbi, Neal Scheindlin.

A standing-room-only funeral for Gordon, who had known Baumhammers since he was a young boy, was held Monday.

The other four people killed last Friday were also minorities: an Indian man, Anil Thakur, was killed at a grocery; two Asian men, Thao Pham and Ji-Ye Sun, at a Chinese restaurant; and an African American man, Garry Lee, was shot and killed at a karate school.

Another Indian man shot in the rampage, Sandip Patel, remained in critical condition Sunday in a Pittsburgh hospital.

Furrow, Security and Hate

Buford O. Furrow Jr. will be tried first in federal court on charges of murdering a U.S. postal carrier. The state trial of the confessed gunman for the alleged shooting spree at the North Valley Jewish Community Center will be delayed until after the federal case is concluded.

A federal grand jury indicted Furrow Aug. 19 on two charges — the murder of mail carrier Joseph Ileto and the use of firearms to commit the alleged slaying. Both carry a possible death penalty.

Furrow is due to answer the indictment in court on Monday, Aug. 30.

State prosecutors will not be able to try Furrow on the same charges, but will put him on trial for the attempted murder of five persons, including three children, in the Aug. 10 shooting spree at the North Valley JCC in Granada Hills.

Furrow could get life sentences in the attempted-murder cases because Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti plans to charge that the crimes were based on hatred of Jews.

The decision to go first with the federal trial ended a week-long debate between federal and state prosecutors, with the latter citing their greater experience in prosecuting murder charges.

However, law professor and media analyst Laurie Levenson endorsed the order of precedence. She told the Los Angeles Times that, in federal courts, prosecutors automatically win the death penalty if they secure a conviction, while, in state courts, a subsequent penalty trial is required.

The national attention on hate crimes, gun control and terrorism aroused by the Furrow case, the fire bombing of three Sacramento-area synagogues, and the murderous attacks by a white supremacist in the Midwest found expression at a security conference in Sacramento last week.

Speakers at the meeting, convened by the Anti-Defamation League, advised synagogue leaders on basic security precautions and warned of likely future attacks.

Calling for a high degree of alertness, Mike Garner, a Sacramento Police Department bomb technician, said: “This isn’t Israel. This isn’t Ireland. But a little bit of paranoia is healthy.”

The audience also heard warnings by federal experts that hate groups may use the Y2K anxiety and apocalyptic end-of-the- millennium visions as excuses to assault Jews, minorities and homosexuals, the Times reported.

At another event last week, dramatically held at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana, ADL officials released a report that focused on the reportedly fastest-growing white supremacist gang in California.

The Nazi Lowriders are a rapidly rising force in both street crimes and the methamphetamine drug trade, the study warned.

Starting with 28 members in Orange County in 1996, the Nazi Lowriders, within two years, grew to an estimated 1,300 adherents nationwide.

Although gang members hate Jews, Asians and other minorities, their most vicious attacks have been against African-Americans, according to the ADL report.

As a result, Nazi Lowriders are segregated in county jails after repeated violence against black inmates, said Sheriffs Lee Baca of Los Angeles County and Mike Carona of Orange County.

The Times reported that Tom Leyden, a former neo-Nazi skinhead now working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described the Lowriders’ operations as unique, combining drug-selling expertise with the white supremacist credo of skinhead groups.