Pence refuses to validate Clinton’s ‘deplorable’ label in denouncing David Duke
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Tuesday reiterated his refusal to label former KKK leader David Duke as “deplorable” not to validate Hillary Clinton’s term used to attack Donald Trump’s supporters.
“Donald Trump and I have denounced David Duke repeatedly. We have said that we do not want his support and we do not want the support of people who think like him,” Pence said at a press conference following a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill. “The simple fact is that I am not in the name-calling business. My colleagues in the House of Representatives know that I believe that civility is essential in a vibrant democracy and it’s never been my practice.”
Pence came under fire for refusing to to use the term “deplorable” during an interview with CNN on Monday.
“There are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence who ― David Duke, for example, some other white nationalists ― who would fit into that category of deplorables. Right?” CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked, referring to Clinton’s emarks rover the weekend that half of Donald Trump supporters can be put into a “basket of deplorables.”
“Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him,” Pence replied. When pressed if he’d call Duke “deplorable,” Pence said, “No, I’m not in the name calling business.”
Donald Trump again disavows David Duke following ex-KKK leader’s robocall endorsement
Donald Trump once again disavowed David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who is urging Louisiana voters to send him to the Senate and Trump to the White House.
“Mr. Trump has continued to denounce David Duke and any group or individual associated with a message of hate,” his campaign told Politico this week after it emerged that Duke mentioned Trump in a campaign robocall.
The robocall cites what Duke, who is seeking the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, depicts as the threats of immigration, gun control and black advocacy.
“It’s time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me, David Duke, for the U.S. Senate,” he says in the call, which was first reported by BuzzFeed.
Trump rejects Clinton’s charges of racism, ties to KKK
Donald Trump on Thursday came out swinging against Hillary Clinton for her recent attacks in response to his personal outreach to minority voters, and labeling him as a racist, suggesting it’s an attack on “decent people” supporting the Republican ticket.
“The news reports are that Hillary Clinton is going to try to accuse this campaign, and the millions of decent Americans who support this campaign, of being racists, which we are not,” Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. It’s a tired and disgusting argument, It’s the last refuge of the discredited politician.”
“Voters are used to the old game where failed politicians like Hillary Clinton falsely smear Republicans with charges of racism. Republicans then back down,” Trump continued. “Democrats then continue to push policies that are devastating to communities of color. To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisors, pushing her to spread her smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words. I want you to hear these words, and remember these words: Shame On You.”
According to Trump, Clinton is trying to shift the conversation because she can’t defend her record. “What does she do when she can’t defend her record? She lies, she smears, she paints decent Americans as racists,” he said. “She bullies voters, who only want a better future, and tries to intimidate them out of voting for change.”
The Republican presidential nominee was referring to a new“>welcomed Trump’s statement. In a statement to Jewish Insider, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “It’s a good sign and an important, clear rejection of hate. We hope that in the months ahead Mr. Trump and all the candidates will live up to this welcome statement.”
Former KKK leader David Duke to run for Senate
David Duke, the anti-Semitic former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, announced he will run for Senate in Louisiana.
Duke is a registered Republican, and will run in that party’s primary for the Louisiana Senate seat being vacated by Republican David Vitter, according to the Associated Press. Duke served one term as a state representative more than 20 years ago and has run unsuccessfully since then for higher office.
“Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African Americans, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, et cetera, et cetera,” Duke said in a message announcing his candidacy. “The fact is that European Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate, one man in the Congress who will defend their rights and heritage.”
Duke supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, which has landed Trump in controversy. Earlier this year, Trump demurred when asked to disavow Duke’s support, before disavowing it — claiming he had misunderstood the original question.
Trump ‘totally disavows’ David Duke, condemns anti-Semitism
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, on Thursday disavowed anti-Semitic comments made by white supremacist leader David Duke, saying, ”Anti-Semitism has no place in our society.”
On Wednesday, Duke blamed Republican Jews for attempting to block Trump from becoming the nominee during his radio program. “I think these Jewish extremists have made a terribly crazy miscalculation because all they’re going to be doing by doing a ‘Never Trump’ movement is exposing their alien, their anti-American, anti-American majority position. … They’re going to push people more into an awareness that the neocons are the problem, that these Jewish supremacists who control our country are the real problem, and the reason why America is not great.”
“Antisemitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided,” said Trump.
The ADL welcomed Trump’s statement. “While no one should associate Mr. Trump’s own views with David Duke’s hatred, it is vital for political leaders to use their bully pulpit to speak out against bigotry,” ADL’s Greenblatt said in a follow-up statement. “We think it is important that Mr. Trump denounced the anti-Semitism of David Duke and has made clear that he disavows anti-Semitism.”
Iran’s Zarif defends Holocaust cartoon contest by invoking U.S. acceptance of KKK
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the regime’s decision to host a cartoon festival on the Holocaust in June 2016 by schooling the United States of America on hate.
Two hate crimes in Los Angeles spur strong Jewish response
Two hate crime incidents involving spray-painted, anti-Semitic graffiti occurred within the span of less than a week earlier this month — one at Adat Shalom and the other at Pacific Palisades Charter High School.
On March 9, synagogue leaders at Adat Shalom, a West Los Angeles Conservative congregation, discovered the word “Nazi” spray-painted in two places on the synagogue’s exterior walls.
And on March 13, the discovery of graffiti disparaging Jews as well as Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and gays at Palisades Charter High School and on adjacent city property shook up the local community to such a degree that hundreds of people responded on March 14 in protest.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has identified a suspect in its investigation of the first incident, although no arrest had been made as of press time, according to LAPD Det. Robyn Salazar. Meanwhile, police have arrested two teenage Palisades Charter High School students believed to be responsible for the tagging at the school and surrounding area, according to Los Angeles School Police Department (LASDP) Sgt. Cheron Bartee. LAPD declined to provide the name of either suspect.
The arrest of the teenager — whom police declined to name — followed a peaceful demonstration at the school that drew hundreds of participants, said Bartee, who is Jewish. She described Monday’s protest, which was covered in various media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, as “300 peaceful protestors voicing their concerns about racism.”
Bartee said there is the possibility that more arrests in connection with the Palisades incident will follow.
“[The suspect] admitted to spray-painting these racial slurs at night. And he claims there are two additional suspects outstanding,” she said.
The vandalism, Bartee said, “had stuff against Jews, Black and Hispanic people,” as well as Asians and the LGBT community.
Matt Davidson, executive director at Kehillat Israel, a Reconstructionist synagogue located about a half-mile from the school, said the temple alerted its community about what took place at the school via a mass email with the subject line: “No tolerance for hate.” The synagogue, in response to the incident, increased its security, he said.
“We’re just going to be extra vigilant, making sure we’re secure and safe here, like we always are,” he said.
Kehillat Israel board of trustees member Laurie Haller was involved with an effort to clean up the spray-painted words in the Palisades, according to Davidson.
“We sent [the email] out yesterday morning,” Davidson said. “I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to create more [concern]. I want to make sure our congregation feels safe and secure, and I didn’t want to be alarmist, but we wanted to commend Laurie for being quick to act and make the statement that there is no tolerance for that.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), meanwhile, was notified of both incidents, according to its regional director, Amanda Susskind. She praised the response of law enforcement with regards to both incidents, and she said the ADL is planning to offer educational resources to students at Pacific Palisades in response to what took place there.
“One of the short-term responses seems to be a rally,” Susskind said, referring to the demonstration that unfolded Monday at the school. “In the longer term, we will be providing resources for training — resources and assembly programs.”
Bartee, who has been working with LASDP for 17 years, said she is disappointed by what occurred in the Palisades and hopes it was caused not by hate but by immaturity.
“It’s never nice to see these kinds of things. Unfortunately, with this, I think a lot of times the kids are just being immature and stupid and aren’t meaning to be this hateful. I think it’s just being stupid and immature,” the LASDP sergeant said. “I’m hoping.”
Adat Shalom Rabbinic Intern Nolan Lebovitz, who is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, said the incident at Adat Shalom reinforced the fact that anti-Semitism still exists, even in unexpected places.
“As a grandchild of four survivors of the Shoah, it is shocking and horrifying to see the word ‘Nazi’ painted on the walls of our beloved Adat Shalom Synagogue. At the same time, it is a reminder that hate in general, and anti-Semitism in particular, is still a reality — even in West L.A. in 2016,” Lebovitz said in an email. “I am proud to say that the Jewish People is stronger than graffiti, our Torah is more powerful than hate. I invite the entire Jewish community to join with Adat Shalom and live their Judaism proudly in defiance of such hatred.”
The graffiti at both locations has since been cleaned up.
“We wanted to get rid of it,” Adat Shalom President Liz Bar-El said, “and move on.”
Greenblatt: Trump helped racism raise its head
Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and his failure to outright condemn white supremacists and the KKK has mainstreamed their racist views into the political conversation, ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt suggested on Sunday.
“We are already seeing racism raise its head, right now, through social media and other means. We have also seen white supremacists express some degree of delight and satisfaction that their recruiting is up during this campaign,” Greenblatt told Israel’s Channel 1 on Sunday.
“The fact of the matter is, his failure to reject and repudiate their racism, their anti-Semitism, and their hate, with the same clear terms that he has used in the presidential debates, that he has used in his rallies, or that he has used about the other candidates, that lack of symmetry in the way he talks about white supremacists and racists, has helped to mainstream them into this political conversation,” he explained. “And that’s what we find so problematic.”
Asked if he’s worried about a Trump presidency, Greenblatt said, “I have no idea what a Trump presidency would bring. But I certainly don’t like what a Trump candidacy is bringing out in terms of these white supremacists.”
Trump addressed the issue during a Sunday morning interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program. “How many times do I have to reject? I’ve rejected David Duke. I’ve rejected the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan from the time I’m five years old I rejected them,” he told host John Dickerson. ” I say to myself, how many times do I have to reject or disavow?”
“I don’t like any group of hate. Hate groups are not for me,” Trump added.
Donald Trump cites Jewish groups in bizarre explanation for not disavowing KKK
Donald Trump, entering the fifth day of defending himself against his equivocal response on CNN to an endorsement by David Duke, said the former Ku Klux Klan head was a “bad man.”
The characterization Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” is about as direct as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination has been so far in disavowing the white supremacist who expressed support for him.
But Trump had to add a wrinkle. Having previously blamed a faulty earpiece for failing to condemn Duke, he this time said he couldn’t just come out and condemn groups generically because — what if they were Jewish?
“And the one question that was asked of me on CNN — he’s having a great time — he talked about ‘groups of people.’ And I don’t like to disavow groups if I don’t know who they are. I mean, you could have the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in ‘groups,’” he said.
The thing is, though, in the original encounter on CNN Sunday, Trump clearly understood that interviewer Jake Tapper was not referring to just any groups, but to white supremacist groups in particular. How do we know this? Because Trump said so.
“Well just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay, I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know, I don’t know. Did he endorse me, or what’s going on, because, you know I know nothing about David Duke, I know nothing about white supremacists. So you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about,” he said.
Tapper pushed back, saying, “But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say, unequivocally, that you condemn them and you don’t want their support?”
Trump again demurred. “Well, I have to look at the group. I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of groups, I will do research on them, and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. But you may have groups in there that are totally fine and that would be unfair, so give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know,” he said.
Even in the unlikely event Trump had never heard the term “white supremacist,'” “white” coupled with “supremacist” is kind of self-explanatory. Now, Trump is making it even weirder by suggesting that when Tapper said “white supremacist,” the candidate heard “Jewish philanthropy.”
Hillary Clinton draws contrast with Donald Trump on tone
Hillary Clinton celebrated a resounding victory in the Democratic presidential primary on Super Tuesday at a hometown rally at the Jacob Javits Center in New York on Wednesday.
In a pivot to the general election, Hillary drew a stark contrast between herself and Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, on tone and vision for the future. “This is one of the most consequential presidential elections we’ve had in a long time,” Hillary told the crowd of over 5,000. “The other side has a very different vision of what our country should look like and how we should treat each other.”
Without mentioning Trump and Rubio by name, Hillary decried the rhetoric, the finger pointing and insults flying between the candidates in the Republican primary. “Maybe some people think that’s entertaining. But I can tell you, this is serious business,” she stated. “It really matters when you run for president what you say. And, boy, does it matter you are the president about what you say and how the rest of the world hears you.”
“We are going to wage a campaign that is about the future and about bringing us all together,” Hillary promised.
Also speaking at the rally was NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who assailed Trump for not condemning David Duke and the KKK at the first given opportunity. “I am sorry, I can’t this out of my system: why did it take Donald Trump so long to figure out that it’s the right thing to do to condemn the KKK? Why did it take him so long to think that David Duke was not a good person?” de Blasio asked rhetorically.
Attendees, consisting of labor union workers and local supporters, were upbeat about the chances of Hillary taking a big lead in the Democratic race against Bernie Sanders and the prospects of her winning the general against a Republican like Trump. “We have this one shot to put up the strongest candidate to stop the party of Trump, Cruz and Rubio,” Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, told the crowd.
“Hillary is the best placed to fight Donald Trump. I think she will be able to call him out over his rhetoric and, ultimately, she is going to win,” Oz Ben-Ami, a Manhattan resident and a supporter of Hillary, told Jewish Insider.
Ben-Ami said that while Trump’s recent comments on Israel or refusal to outright condemn the KKK don’t seem to affect his support in the Republican primary, in the general election, “a lot of voters are not going to give him that kind of support.”
Meet the ‘Jewish Batman’ who saved the KKK from an Anaheim mob
Is Brian Levin a hero? It depends who you ask.
For three long minutes on Saturday, Levin was all that stood between an angry, violent mob and some Ku Klux Klan demonstrators in Anaheim, California, in Levin’s retelling of the episode.
A former New York Police Department officer who is now director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, Levin was on hand to document the KKK rally, as he has many other extremist demonstrations over the years.
But he quickly found himself a part of the action when a violent melee greeted the arrival of the KKK members in their oversized SUV.
“There was a mob stomping on a Klansman who had fallen or was pushed to the ground,” Levin said in his breathless recollection of the confrontation, which made headlines around the country after three people were stabbed and 13 arrested.
“There were football player-sized people kicking him in the face and the abdomen. I crouched over him so he wouldn’t be kicked, and I said, ‘Do not hit this man.’”
When asked how he was able to hold off the assailants, who he said were wielding a wooden plank and a metal rod, Levin said he used the authoritative voice he honed during five years of service on the NYPD in the late 1980s.
“I don’t know if I would call it heroics,” Levin said.
White supremacist website Daily Stormer dubbed him the “Jewish Batman.”
Levin is no fan of the Klan, but this wasn’t the first time he has come to the aid of a white supremacist in distress, he said, recalling a similar incident in 1998 in Warren, Ohio.
After the cops arrived and order was restored, someone asked one of the KKK members how it felt to have his life saved by a Jewish guy.
“He said thank you,” Levin said.
Super Tuesday 2016: How each candidate hopes to trump Trump
Heading into Super Tuesday, the most significant political act may not have been a rabble rousing speech or a surprise endorsement, but a tweet.
On the eve of the biggest day in the presidential primaries for both parties– with 11 states apiece and about a quarter of all delegates up for grabs — Hillary Rodham Clinton retweeted a blunt plea by her Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to stop Donald Trump, who he called a “hatemonger.”
America's first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 28, 2016
Echoing the message were Trump’s leading Republican rivals, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as well as Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 candidate — who all issued statements.
The extraordinary unity of opposition to Trump, within and across party lines, was galvanized by the real estate billionaire’s failure to unequivocally disavow the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Yet, Trump remains the GOP front-runner, and Super Tuesday is largely about who will emerge to challenge him.
Here’s what each candidate hope his or her campaign to have achieved by Wednesday.
Trump said he plans on sweeping the Super Tuesday contests, but a rout may not be in his best interests. If he cedes Texas to Cruz and if Ohio Gov. John Kasich performs well — he hopes to come in second behind Trump in Massachusetts — Trump keeps them in the race and keeps his opponents from uniting behind a single anti-Trump candidate. Rubio, who has been garnering most of the GOP establishment endorsements, would like to be the last man standing, but if he is still feeling the elbows of Cruz and Kasich by mid-March, Trump’s ascension looks inevitable.
Cruz faces the most immediate challenge. Texas is one of the states running a primary on Tuesday, and Cruz has suggested he would drop out if Trump bests him in the state he represents as senator. Cruz started strong by winning in Iowa, but has not been able to pull off even second place in the other three February nominating states. He pulled ahead of Trump in Texas polling in recent days after running neck and neck for weeks.
Rubio has shown promise in the four February contests by coming in second behind Trump in Nevada and South Carolina, and a strong third in Iowa, where Trump came in second and Cruz won. (Rubio floundered in New Hampshire.) But he is under pressure to show he can win a state, and has been campaigning hard in the South, where he has the backing of South Carolina’s popular governor, Nikki Haley. Eight of the 13 states in GOP primaries Tuesday are in the South.
A Southern win could boost Rubio’s numbers in Florida, which goes to the polls on March 15, and where Trump is working hard to kill Rubio’s chances once and for all. Polls now show Trump leading Rubio in Florida by double digits.
Kasich is not counting on any wins on Tuesday, but hopes to turn in respectable enough performances to last through March 8, when Michigan goes to the polls, and March 15, when Ohio votes. He is counting on wins in both states. In Michigan, Kasich is running fourth in polls, and in Ohio, his home state, second. Trump is leading in both states.
Ben Carson, the former neurosurgeon, trails last among the five Republicans most polls, but is sticking out the race for now.
Sanders’ Vermont is among the states going to the Democratic polls on Tuesday, and it may be the only state where he pulls out a win. He has campaigned hard in recent days in the states where he appears to have the best chance of an upset, and where he can appeal to the struggling whites who are most receptive to his messaging about income inequality: Massachusetts, Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota. Sanders’ best chance is in Oklahoma, where he is in a virtual dead heat with Clinton. If he takes the state, he could credibly claim a win in the South, where Clinton otherwise is dominating.
Clinton leads substantially throughout the South. A Clinton sweep of the eight southern states, where African-Americans and Latinos are major components of the Democratic vote, would help make her point that she is the better Democratic candidate to inspire minority voters in the general election.
Clinton also appears to be leading Sanders in Massachusetts; a loss in a neighboring state could wound Sanders, who became the first Jewish presidential candidate to win a primary last month when he won New Hampshire.
Farrakhan praises Trump for not taking Jewish money, repeats claim that Jews behind 9/11
Donald Trump won praise from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for not taking Jewish money in his quest for the White House.
Farrakhan, who has made frequent anti-Semitic comments, lauded Trump during a sermon Sunday in Chicago, according to the Anti-Defamation League website the following day.
The praise from Farrakhan comes on the heels of a controversy in which the Republican presidential front-runner failed to immediately disavow the endorsement of David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader.
According to the ADL, Farrakhan said the billionaire Trump is “the only member who has stood in front of Jewish community and said I don’t want your money. Anytime a man can say to those who control the politics of America, ‘I don’t want your money,’ that means you can’t control me. And they cannot afford to give up control of the presidents of the United States.”
Farrakhan, 82, stopped short of a full endorsement, however, stating: “Not that I’m for Mr. Trump, but I like what I’m looking at.”
The ADL said Farrakhan’s sermon also blamed Jews, whom he referred to as the “Synagogue of Satan,” for the Iraq War and 9/11 terror attacks.
Referring to former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Farrakhan said, “These are people sitting in the Pentagon, planning the destruction of Muslim nations.”
“Wolfowitz had 10 years now, to plan how they’re gonna clean out the Middle East and take over those Muslim nations. They needed another Pearl Harbor,” Farrakhan said, according to the ADL. “They needed some event that was cataclysmic, that would make the American people rise up, ready for war … they plotted a false flag operation, and when a government is so rotten that they will kill innocent people to accomplish a political objective, you are not dealing with a human …”
Farrakhan continued, “George Bush, and those devils, Satans around him. They plotted 9/11. Ain’t no Muslim took control of no plane.”
Blaming the Jews for 9/11 was nothing new for Farrakhan, who said in a 2015 sermon that “it is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks.”
Anonymous begins to reveal names of alleged KKK members
Last week, a group identifying itself as the online hacktivist collective “Anonymous” vowed to release contact information identifying 1,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan, timed a year after the group first began targeting the KKK in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri, protests.
On Monday, the group followed through, publishing its first batch of information: an (unverified) list of 57 phone numbers and 23 email addresses allegedly belonging to KKK members. Multiple Twitter commenters questioned the veracity of the information shortly after its release, reporting that many of the numbers belong to businesses with no clear link to the Klan.
Keep reading the story at Huffington Post.
Suspected Kansas City JCC shooter says he targeted Jews
The white supremacist suspect in the shootings of three people at two Jewish institutions in suburban Kansas City said he wanted to “be sure I killed some Jews before I died.”
Frazier Glenn Miller, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Cross, told the Kansas City Star in an interview published Sunday that he decided in March to carry out the April attacks on two Jewish sites in the city after he became so sick with emphysema that he thought he would soon die.
“I was convinced I was dying then,” Miller, of Aurora, Mo., told the newspaper in his first published interview since the April 13 attacks.
He went on to say, “I wanted to make damned sure I killed some Jews or attacked the Jews before I died.”
Miller is suspected of killing William Lewis Corporon, a retired physician, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan., and then shooting to death Terri LaManno, a Catholic mother of two, in the parking lot at Village Shalom, a Jewish assisted-living facility a few blocks away, where she was visiting her mother.
None of the three victims were Jewish.
Miller, a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon, told the newspaper that he conducted reconnaissance missions of the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in the days before the shootings.
“Because of what I did, Jews feel less secure,” he said. “Every Jew in the world knows my name now and what I did. As for these … white people who are accomplices of the Jews, who attend their meetings and contribute to their fundraising efforts and who empower the Jews, they are my enemy, too. A lot of white people who associate with Jews, go to Jewish events and support them know that they’re not safe either, thanks to me.”
He told the newspaper that he regretted killing “the young white boy.”
Miller was charged in April with capital murder and first-degree premeditated murder. The capital charge carries a death sentence; the premeditated murder charge could result in life in prison.
He had served three years in prison on weapons charges and for plotting the assassination of Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
3 slain civil rights workers to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
Three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi in 1964 while registering black voters will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom 50 years after their deaths.
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner are among 19 recipients of the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States. President Obama will present the awards at the White House on Nov. 24.
The three young men were shot by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at the beginning of Freedom Summer, a historic voter registration drive in which hundreds of people worked to register blacks to vote.
Chaney was African-American; Goodman and Schwerner were Jewish.
Other Jewish recipients of this year’s medals include Abner Mikva, Robert Solow and Stephen Sondheim.
Mikva, a former federal judge and Illinois congressman, mentored Obama as a young lawyer and often made Obama’s case to the Jewish community after he launched his political career. He also served as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton.
Solow received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1987. His research in the 1950s through the 1970s transformed the field, laying the groundwork for much of modern economics.
Sondheim, one of the country’s most influential theater composers and lyricists, has won eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards, an Academy Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Gov’t shutdown bad for Jews, but also bad for Klan
The Forward reports:
For Jewish organizations dealing daily with federally funded programs, the shutdown’s impact could be much more than a scheduling nuisance.
“The longer this goes on, the greater the impact will be,” said William Daroff, vice president for public policy at the Jewish Federations of North America. He explained that agencies relying on government funding for their programs, mainly those treating elderly and people in need in the community, can shift funds for a while to cover for the lack of government dollars. But the longer the shutdown continues, the harder this task becomes. There is also no certainty that the government will cover retroactively these funds, although in past shutdowns that has been the practice. In a memo to federation on October 1, Daroff warned that “impact on the programs and services that Federations and affiliated agencies provide may be drastic and severe.”
Now, the good news: As it is for most other Americans, the government shutdown is also bad for the Ku Klux Klan.
The New York Times reports:
A Ku Klux Klan rally became a casualty of the U.S. government shutdown on Tuesday when National Parks officials told the white supremacist group the event would have to be canceled.
The KKK had been granted a permit for what it dubbed a First Amendment demonstration on Saturday at Gettysburg National Military Park, but park officials said it could not take place because all National Parks have been closed.
Finally, a feel-good government shutdown story (until you read to the part about all National Parks being closed).
Security prep for Memphis Klan rally seen as national model
Cantor Ricky Kampf descends from the bimah, adjusts his prayer shawl and strides up the aisle, cutting through the cavernous sanctuary to greet the familiar out-of-towner.
“Y’all here for the shindig?” Kampf says at the Baron Hirsch Synagogue here as he grasps the hand of Paul Goldenberg, the burly former cop who runs the Secure Community Network, the security arm of the national Jewish community.
The shindig in question is a Ku Klux Klan rally planned for later that day, March 30, in downtown Memphis. For months, Goldenberg has been in constant contact with the Jewish community leadership in this Mississippi River port city, as well as with local and federal law enforcement, in readying for any possible attack.
It's a security template that SCN, an arm of the Jewish Federations of North America and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, wants to replicate across the United States.
“It’s not just dealing with the immediate challenge, but as we do in Jewish life, we try and prepare for the next situation, how to deal with these things on a regular basis, so they’re prepared for it,” Steve Hoffman, the co-chairman of SCN, tells JTA. “The best security preparation in the Jewish world is vigilance without panic.”
A persuasive, kinetic presence, Goldenberg crisscrosses the country meeting with Jewish community leaders and local law enforcement. But training in Memphis is accelerated because of the Klan rally, a protest of the decision to rename parks that until recently commemorated Confederate heroes — notably Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder of the Klan.
Ahead of the rally, leaders from every Memphis Jewish institution receive a crash course in security training, including presentations by the Department of Homeland Security and the Memphis Police Department's SWAT team: Develop a communications plan, secure exits and entrances, and above all, be aware.
“The Jewish community and any community, faith-based organizations, we see them as part of the homeland security enterprise,” Bill Flynn, a deputy assistant secretary of DHS, tells JTA.
In the end, the Klan rally is a bust. Barely 60 Klansmen show up on the rain-soaked steps of Shelby County courthouse. A leader uses a megaphone to address klatches of men and women — some robed in white and red, others not — who respond with shouts of “White Power!” It's over in less than an hour.
But law enforcement officials still have reason to be concerned — not with the Klan itself, which makes a point these days of being law abiding — but that an outlier attracted to the rally could break off, drive 20 minutes east and target one of the seven synagogues in Memphis.
“The United States is into a four-year resurgence both of anti-government and white supremacist groups,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of fact finding for the Anti-Defamation League. “This resurgence started in early 2009 following the election of Barack Obama and the economic crisis. There has been an upsurge in violent activity as a result of that.”
A report published in January by Arie Perliger, the director of terrorism studies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, showed violent attacks emanating from the far right rising from below 200 per year at the turn of the century to more than 300 by the middle of the decade. Attacks spiked in 2008, Obama's election year, to more than 550 before dropping to 300 in 2010. In 2011, the number rose again, to more than 350.
In Memphis law enforcement circles, the threat is described in shorthand. “West Memphis” refers to the murder of two policemen in the Arkansas town across the river in 2010 by two affiliates of the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement; “Washington state” is the placing of a bomb at a Martin Luther King Day parade site in Spokane in 2011; “Schmidt” is Richard Schmidt, a Toledo, Ohio, man arrested in December in possession of a small armory and a hit list including the names of leaders of the NAACP and the Jewish federation in Detroit.
In each of the cases, and in many others, the attackers are loners likely influenced by the rhetoric of extremist groups.
“In general, the FBI considers lone offenders to pose the most significant threat of violence within the extremist movement,” Eric Sorensen, an analyst with the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, said in a March 13 conference call with the Memphis Jewish community leadership.
On the Saturday morning of the Klan rally, Goldenberg surveys Memphis synagogues, nodding approvingly at recommendations heeded — guards at each exit — and groaning at those ignored. A playground remains unprotected by shrubbery or a fence.
“We don’t want people seeing our kids,” Goldenberg says.
A patrol car checks streets near the synagogues. Fathers in yarmulkes walk their toddlers to Sabbath services seemingly unperturbed by plans for an extremist rally. A woman at a synagogue entrance holds out to Goldenberg the panic button hanging from her neck; one squeeze and the police are alerted, just as Goldenberg had recommended.
“Good work,” he says, and she shoots back a gratified grin.
Goldenberg says that communal officials who graduate from the training he organizes with law enforcement officials are “force multipliers.” John Cohen, the deputy counterterrorism coordinator at DHS, says that making a targeted ethnic or religious community a partner in its own protection is “our basic model” of homeland protection.
Such partnerships, however, make civil liberties groups nervous.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said that urging civilians to report suspicious activities could lead to abuses that it contends are already inherent in law enforcement reporting of such activities. Programs encouraging such reporting make it “far more likely that both the police and the public will continue overreporting the commonplace behavior of their neighbors,” the ACLU said in an analysis in January.
Even among Memphis Jews, not everyone is enamored of Goldenberg's strategy. Ronald Harkavy, a lawyer, philanthropist and community patriarch, isn't happy to run into Goldenberg at the Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation.
“I’m one of those who say do nothing” when the Klan comes to town, he tells Goldenberg, his accent and broad smile thick with a cold gentility. “That’s been fine for over a hundred years.”
Goldenberg shrugs and Harkavy turns away. Another congregant leans in and whispers, “We’re thankful for all you do.”
Having completed his tour of Jewish Memphis, Goldenberg heads downtown to meet the Memphis Police Department’s liaison to the Jewish community, Stuart Frisch, an Israel Defense Forces veteran. Frisch ferries Goldenberg to a white van functioning as a command center. Goldenberg leaps in and admires a monitor feeding images from public and privately owned security cameras. The streets are empty.
The police ensure the Klansmen do not encounter anti-Klan protesters. In 1998, violent clashes at another rally traumatized the city. Memories of that day took up several pages in the morning edition of the Commercial Appeal, Memphis' main daily.
Between beat cops and SWAT team members, there is more security personnel — much of it African-American — than there are Klansmen. The megaphone-audio is so poor, the rain driving down so hard, that much of the grand wizard’s speech — apart from the punctuations of “White Power!” — is reduced to a muffled “wawawa.”
Goldenberg and his friend head out in search of lunch. The day is a success: The Jewish community in Memphis is aware and engaged with law enforcement. The Klan have come and gone. No one is hurt.
Breaking off from a dissipating anti-Klan rally, an African-American woman strides through the rain, arms outstretched.
“Wash away the sin!” she cries out. “Wash away the stench!”
Michigan St. student says attack at party was anti-Semitism
A Jewish student at Michigan State University said he was attacked at an off-campus party in what he is calling a hate crime.
Just before the assault, which broke his jaw, Zach Tennen said his attackers asked him if he was Jewish, according to reports.
Tennen, 19, a resident of suburban Detroit, said he answered in the affirmative. He told WDIV-TV in Detroit that his attackers also “were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK.”
Tennen was knocked unconscious during the attack, which took place early Sunday morning near MSU’s East Lansing campus. The assailants stapled his mouth shut through his gums.
Others at the party watched as Tennen called a taxi to take him to the hospital. His mouth was surgically wired shut.
His family has called the Anti-Defamation League regarding the assault. Tennen plans to return to classes in a week.
The university in an email statement referred all questions about the police investigation to the East Lansing Police Department, as the incident occurred off campus.
“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student who said he was assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs,” the statement also said.
Canadian Jewish Congress seeks charges against Muslim website
A Jewish group is seeking hate crimes charges against a Toronto-based Muslim website that featured a video address by former U.S. Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Duke’s video was scrubbed April 13 from Casmo.ca, the site for the Canadian Shia Muslim Organization, but the Canadian Jewish Congress is pursuing charges under Canada’s hate crimes laws.
In its letter to police, the Canadian Jewish Congress calls for a probe of Casmo.ca, which describes itself as the “national platform of Shia Muslims in Canada.”
The CJC pointed out that the 12-minute video, in which Duke espoused conspiracy theories about “Zionist running dogs,” remained on the site for two days after it was exposed by the National Post newspaper. For a brief period on April 13, a second Duke video was posted to the site.
“The decision to remove the video two days late doesn’t hold much water,” Bernie Farber, the CJC’s CEO, told the Post. “In fact, they put up a second video and I can only assume they were getting some inside pressure, not the least of which was a police complaint.”
Duke, a former KKK grand wizard, played a key role in helping to spread the Klan through Canada.
On the site, the Canadian Shia Muslim Organization says it “supports multiculturalism” and “interfaith dialogue.”
In an editorial, the online journal The American Muslim accused the group of joining “the Muslim lunatic fringe.”
Campus hate — while down — is still a problem, wailin’ on Palin
Quiet War at UCI
However we commend The Journal for running [Brad] Greenberg’s review of the situation on American campuses. It was a comprehensive piece that included differing views about the problem’s severity, and was of great service to Journal readers who are concerned about the issue.
We disagree however with the professors’ strategic recommendations and the elitist tone of their letter. Minimization or denial will not solve the problem, nor will denigrating off campus groups who share concern about the immediate and long-range impact of campus anti-Zionism. The 20,000 faculty members who felt it necessary to form an organization, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) to combat imbalance and poor scholarship about the Middle East conflict certainly cannot be accused of being “amateurish,” promoting “shoddy research” and “propaganda,” and of not understanding the campus or “academic freedom.”
SPME’s roster includes highly acclaimed professors and Nobel Prize winners.
There is a crying need for united action so Jewish students and faculty can proudly support Israel, not only in Hillel buildings, but also in classrooms, faculty offices and on campus quads. Jewish campus institutions have a vital role to play in this effort, but they may be constrained by sensitive campus affiliations. Independent organizations also have an important role because they are freer to express student and faculty concerns about abuses, intimidation and propaganda-like distortions.
If the five academics collaborated with other well-intentioned groups, they would find them much more reasonable, open-minded and sophisticated than their letter implies.
Roz Rothstein, Executive Director
Roberta Seid, Education Director
Palin and the Jews
In response to your recent article, “Sarah Palin and the Jews” (Sept. 5), please count me as one reader who was shocked and sickened by the nastiness and pettiness of Sarah Palin’s speech [at the Republican National Convention].
If insulting community organizers, making snide remarks about Sen. Barack Obama’s popularity and mocking the location of Obama’s acceptance speech make her presidential material, then America is in serious trouble.
I was shocked by your flattering treatment of Gov. Sarah Palin. After picking through the trivia and smears for substance, you conclude that she “has genuinely warm relations with her Jewish constituents … and appears to have a fondness for Israel.” However, you present no evidence that she has genuinely warm feelings about Jews or genuine fondness for Israel.
Furthermore, you brush off her wearing a Pat Buchanan button when he visited her town “as a courtesy.” Come on! Would it be acceptable for her to put a sheet over her head as a courtesy if the Ku Klux Klan paraded through her town?
I hear Jews around America saying that they are voting for Sen. John McCain because he is good for Israel. Democrats are better for Israel than McCain could ever dream to be, but now that Gov. Sarah Palin is on McCain’s ticket, there are more pressing matters at hand.
Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is “God’s task.” She’s even admitted she hasn’t thought about the war much … just last year, she was quoted as saying, “I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.”
Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. Creationism is not going to be taught from the Tanach; it will be from the New Testament — how can we allow that?
I hope that the Jews of Los Angeles will stand up against Palin so that she will not be able to continue on her path toward ruining our country.
As a retired Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) middle school teacher, I was elated to read about the New Los Angeles Charter School (New L.A.) that will be opening this month (“P.S. Tikkun Olam,” Aug. 29).
Given the poor academic performance and high dropout rate throughout much of the LAUSD, it is imperative that parents have meaningful options, such as New L.A., to assure that their children receive quality instruction in a safe and nurturing environment.
Unfortunately, both the LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) have misplaced priorities. LAUSD’s insular district office personnel are often insensitive to the real needs of on-site administrators, school faculties and students. Meanwhile, the teachers union (UTLA) spends much of its resources blocking sorely needed reform.
It was the union that stood in the way of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan to create 100 additional charter schools in Los Angeles. Little wonder that New L.A. received almost three times as many applications as it has openings.
Anything that can topple the status quo is welcome relief. On behalf of the children of Los Angeles, todah rabbah and yasher koach to Matt Albert and his crew for putting forth the effort and accepting the risk associated with starting the New Los Angeles Charter School.
Leonard M. Solomon
Singles Comic Strip
Never Mind Amy the Date (“True Confessions of an Online Dating Addict,” Sept. 5). Amy’s comic strip should get dumped. Three words sum up that inert strip: worst comic ever.
Seriously, with all of the amazing Jewish comedic minds out there in Hollywood and beyond, can’t you find one real cartoonist to create something funny? Maybe you can poach a guy from HEEB.
Ed. Note: We like it. Judge for yourself.
The D.I.S.C caption in the Sept. 5 issue (page 41) should have read "Dr. John T. Knight, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, D.I.S.C. Spine and Sports Center," instead of "Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr., CEO and Founder, one of the country's preeminent neurological spinal surgeons."