A recent conference in Austin, Texas, has provided evidence of prominent anti-Semites attempting to exploit growing interest in the United States in anti-government conspiracy theories, and to use this interest as a way to spread hatred against Jews.
On April 10, 2010, American Free Press (AFP), published by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto, and the Power of Prophecy, headed by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and minister Texe Marrs, hosted a day-long "Liberty and Truth" conference in Austin that focused on anti-government conspiracy theories. Over 100 people attended the event.
The program featured several prominent anti-Semitic speakers, who blamed Jews for allegedly masterminding a whole series of events, ranging from the economic recession to the September 11 terrorist attacks to the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building to the Kennedy assassination.
The conference also included anti-government tax protester Peymon Mottahedeh, president of the California-based Freedom Law School, which promotes the tax protest movement idea that people are not legally obligated to pay income taxes. Mottahedeh was not officially on the program, but talked to the crowd about tax protest arguments and right-wing claims about the Federal Reserve. Ironically, Mottahedeh himself is of Jewish background, which he made a point of announcing.
Speakers at the conference moved easily back and forth between anti-Semitic and anti-government rhetoric. They spouted conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the media and banking system and promoted anti-government conspiracy theories questioning the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration.
Mark Anderson, the deputy editor of AFP, gave a speech blaming the Federal Reserve for "conquering our country" and being "the central barrier to freedom." The Federal Reserve is a frequent target for both anti-Semites and anti-government extremists.
However, most of the vitriol directed at Jews came from two prominent anti-Semites: long-time AFP writer Michael Collins Piper and conspiracy preacher Texe Marrs.
Piper, who labeled his talk "Why the Fight Against the Jewish Zionist Power is the Central Political Issue of Our Time," claimed that Jews control the media, money and politics in the United States. He further asserted that it is Jews, not the United Nations, who threaten to establish a "New World Order" in this country. Anti-government extremists often claim that the United Nations is trying to enslave American citizens by establishing a tyrannical one-world government they refer to as the New World Order.
Piper has a long history of promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and his 1994 book Final Judgment accused the Mossad and various Jews of carrying out the Kennedy assassination. During his speech, Piper displayed and praised anti-Semitic tracts from Europe, one reportedly dating from the early 19th century, which demonized Jews and Judaism.
Texe Marrs, who describes his organization as an "end-times ministry," was even more stridently anti-Semitic, He declared Jews "the enemy" and accused them of "using their power to take from us our heritage, our homes, [and] our futures." Marrs also referred to "Zionist Judaism" as the "synagogue of Satan" and called it a false religion with a "bloodthirsty" nature. He told the audience that this satanic force [Jews] has three aspects: Zionist Judaism; the mercantile banking cartel and the communist social system. He claimed that Jews will use these different aspects in the "end days" to dominate the world religiously, politically and economically.
Marrs not only asserted that Jews controlled President Obama, but that Obama himself was the first Jewish president. He declared that members of President Obama's administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were either Jewish or "run" by Jews. Echoing ideas from the infamous anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Marrs accused Jews of engineering the economic crisis, creating rising oil prices, and manipulating the gold standard in order to "rebuild a Jewish utopia."
The AFP has hosted numerous anti-Semitic conferences since its founding in 2001, when it replaced a previous Willis Carto publication, The Spotlight. In November 2009, AFP held a "First Amendment Festival," which featured as speakers both Texe Marrs and the well-known anti-Semite and white supremacist David Duke. Both Marrs and Duke spoke about alleged Jewish influence and control of the government.