by: David RobbinsJanuary 12, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Blog President Obama has said that his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 12 will be framed around “the big things” he sees as being priorities in the years to come, rather than taking a policy-centric approach to the speech. He has said that there is more work that needs to be done, and we agree. In the run-up to the president’s address, we at the Anti-Defamation League asked members of our staff and some of our offices across the country for some insights on which issues deserve priority treatment during the president’s address. Our completed list follows. ADL’s priorities for the president include: 1) Fighting prejudice and discrimination 2) welcoming asylum seekers and refugees while protecting national security 3) safeguarding religious freedom 4) Reinforcing a commitment to Iran sanctions, and 5) Supporting a strengthened Israel-U.S. relationship. One caveat: I should note that while we have numbered these, they are each separate and distinct issues and not ordered by importance. We believe each of these issues deserves priority treatment by the administration at this unique time in American history when we are faced with myriad challenges and opportunities. Let’s hope the president takes on some of these issues as he heads into his final year in office. Fighting Prejudice, Extremism and Discrimination Last week’s reaffirmation of federal education anti-discrimination laws, coming at a time of escalating prejudice and violence against specific populations– refugees, immigrants, and the Muslim community – was a needed, welcome reminder for schools. The Department of Justice also has used its authority under the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009 very effectively, but much more training and outreach for local police is needed. A 21st century policing model should include incentives for departments to ensure they are reporting credible hate crime data to the FBI. Criminal justice reform, including legislation now moving through Congress, must promote initiatives to interrupt the school to prison pipeline and efforts to build police-community relations. And the President should use SOTU to further explain his new gun violence prevention initiatives, which were announced the same day ADL released a new report documenting that 2015 was the deadliest year for domestic extremist violence in the past 20 years, with firearms, overwhelmingly, the extremist weapon of choice in 2015 – as in virtually every year. Finally, we hope the President will press for essential legislation to restore crucial voting rights protections eliminated by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. If Congress fails to act, the November elections will be the first Presidential election in 50 years without the robust protections of the Voting Rights Act. Welcoming Asylum-Seekers and Refugees AND Protecting National Security Some Members of Congress have recently called for blocking President Obama’s plan to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. This is unfortunate on so many levels and inconsistent with our principles as a country whose origins and evolution are so bound up with generations of immigrants and refugees. The SOTU is an opportunity for the President to urge Congress to oppose efforts to halt U.S. refugee resettlement or to restrict funding for refugees, including Syrian refugees. We hope that the President will reiterate that America can keep its borders safe and, at the same time, welcome refugees that are fleeing the brutality of ISIS. The American screening process for refugees works – it is the single most difficult way to enter the United States. America must not turn its back on its fundamental commitment to refugee protections. As thousands of men, woman, and children have fled horrific realities of brutal violence and extreme poverty and hunger in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, we also have serious concerns about the Administration’s recent campaign of home raids to round up and deport these families and adult asylum-seekers. We hope to hear President Obama speak out and direct the Department of Homeland Security to stop these raids and deportations. Moreover, children and families fleeing for their lives must be protected and have access to legal counsel so that they can apply for asylum and protection in the United States. The President should also use the SOTU to encourage Congress to recommit to advancing comprehensive immigration reform that provides for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, sound border security, safeguards against bias and discrimination, and family reunification. Protecting Religious Freedom, LGBT Equality and Reproductive Rights The President should commit to continuing his administration’s support for vigorous religious freedom advocacy on the federal, state and local levels, including opposing organized prayer. At the same time, the administration should continue to demonstrate leadership on issues of importance to the LGBT community – which have resulted in positive, systemic changes in protections and equal rights for LGBT people – by making it clear that measures couched as supporting religious freedom that permit businesses to evade anti-discrimination laws and refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity are not acceptable. On the issue of reproductive rights, we understand that all eyes will be on the United States Supreme Court this year as it considers restrictions on Texas women’s clinics that we think are unnecessary and unconstitutional, but we hope the President will underscore his opposition to the Texas legislation and other similar initiatives. Reinforcing America’s Commitment to Enforcement of Iran Sanctions Iran continues to take actions promoting policies and human right violations that profoundly conflict with core American values. As we move closer to “implementation day,” when the IAEA would certify that Iran has met the requirements under the nuclear agreement to lift international sanctions, Iran’s ongoing human rights violations and its external aggressions must be taken into account when considering the prospect of normalized relations. The United States cannot look away from the institutionalized discrimination facing ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, including Baha'is, Christians, Jews, and Sunni Arabs. Their treatment ranges from quiet intimidation to systematic imprisonment. LGBT citizens fare far worse. The Iranian regime continues its decades-long support of terrorism against Israel and other countries, and routinely promotes fantastical anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including mocking the Holocaust and accusing Israel of creating ISIS. It also has lent financial and military support to the murderous campaign of the Syrian government. The U.S. should be vigilant in using existing sanctions targeting these practices and explore new tools that might be needed to target both human rights violations and JCPOA violations. We hope the President will send a strong message Tuesday night to Tehran that there will be consequences to testing both the boundaries of the nuclear agreement and continuing its nefarious behavior in the region, and repressive policies toward its own people. Supporting a Renewed U.S.-Israel Relationship Congress and the Administration recognize the unique security threats and challenges facing Israel and the President should reaffirm the unshakeable U.S. commitment to Israel and its security in the SOTU. Negotiations between the U.S. and Israel are underway for a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure Israel is able to maintain its qualitative military edge over its adversaries. The current MOU provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over a 10-year period and is set to expire in 2017. As he enters his last full year in office, President Obama clearly has a full plate. He also has the opportunity to work with Congress to institutionalize changes, altering the landscape – domestically and internationally – in ways that will endure well beyond his presidency. We and the nation will be paying close attention. Follow us live @ADL_National during the State of the Union Tuesday night at 9 PM EST for our take on the speech.
by: Marilyn MayoJanuary 13, 2016 Conspiracy theories about the federal government seizing Americans’ guns have been a mainstay of anti-government extremist groups, particularly militias, since the early to mid-1990s. Today, however, these theories have expanded beyond right-wing extremists. They are also gaining ground in conservative circles, from groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) to media outlets such as the Washington Times and Breitbart. Anti-government conspiracy theorists, such as Alex Jones of InfoWars, have long promoted the belief that the government wants to use gun control measures merely as a preliminary step to confiscating individuals’ guns door to door. While Jones attracts millions of people to his website and radio show, he is considered a fringe figure. However, his theories about gun confiscation have gained ground in the mainstream. Gun confiscation fantasies reached a frenzied pitch in the spring of 2015 after the news broke of Jade Helm 15, military exercises the government was planning to carry out in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Conspiracy theorists claimed that the exercises were an excuse for the government to declare martial law and institute policies like gun confiscation. The theories gained so much traction that various politicians questioned the intent of the exercises and the Texas governor said that the Texas State Guard would “monitor” the situation. Other incidents also popularized widespread conspiracy theories about gun confiscation. In the wake of a number of mass shootings around the country in 2015, President Obama took executive action to eliminate some loopholes in the country’s gun control laws. This decision by Obama incensed people who oppose gun control John Nolte, editor-at-large of Breitbart, wrote in a January 2016 article, “The sinister plan is to drop the boom, maybe not on Obama’s watch, but the seeds have been planted: These people plan to flood the country with illegals, refugees, and early-release prisoners, and then disarm us.” Some people went further than complaining. The Conservative Tribune, a right-wing online publication, asserted, “The gun control reforms they have called for lead inevitably toward national registration of all firearms, which will inevitably lead to confiscation of firearms, which in turn will result in a second civil war or outright revolution.” In October 2015, the president first raised the issue of taking executive action on gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. In an editorial after the incident, the Washington Times argued that the president was interested in “eliminating guns in the hands of the people,” adding, “Mr. Obama would eviscerate the Second Amendment to accomplish his goal of disarming ordinary law-abiding Americans.” The NRA also reacted to President Obama’s gun control initiatives. In an article on the site of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, its legal arm, the organization wrote, “You don’t have to scratch very deep… to understand that what the president really wants to see in the U.S. is gun confiscation.” The article asserted that the president wanted to model his gun control programs on those of Australia and Great Britain where people do not have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The progression of gun confiscation fantasies from being a rallying point for right-wing extremists, such as militias, to becoming accepted doctrine across the conservative spectrum is an alarming development.
by: Marilyn MayoJanuary 14, 2016 William Johnson, the head of the white supremacist American Freedom Party (AFP), has paid for a series of robocalls and radio time in Iowa in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy. In a recent interview on CNN, Trump disavowed the robocalls but said that “people are angry at what’s going on.” On the calls, Johnson urges people to support Trump while referring to himself as a farmer and a white nationalist. The calls also include a pitch for Trump from another white supremacist, Jared Taylor, who runs the American Renaissance website. The site features articles that purport to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites. William Johnson While Johnson projects a suit and tie image as a lawyer and activist, he has long courted the more hardcore members of the white supremacist movement. This past summer, he was a speaker at Camp Comradery 2015, a white supremacist event in Bakersfield, California, that included racist skinheads from various groups, including Blood and Honor, Golden State Skinheads and California Skinheads. At the event, Johnson encouraged attendees to run for political office and to promote a pro-white message to the public. Another speaker at the event was Matthew Heimbach, the founder of the white supremacist Traditionalist Youth Network, and a virulent anti-Semite. At the event, Heimbach gave a speech blaming Jews for destroying the white race. In February 2012, Johnson attended a demonstration in Los Angeles for the South Africa Project, a national initiative to advocate against alleged white genocide in South Africa. A number of racist skinheads participated in the event. For years, Johnson has promoted the idea of a white ethno-state in America. In the 1980s, Johnson, under the pseudonym “James O. Pace,” promoted a scheme called the “Pace Amendment” to a variety of people, including members of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. The Pace Amendment would have eliminated the Fourteenth Amendment (which grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States) and limited citizenship only to “non-Hispanic whites of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro Blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood.” Those who did not fit this category, including Jews, would be repatriated to places deemed their countries of origin. A 1987 ADL report on the Pace Amendment identified ties between Johnson and a range of neo-Nazi organizations and leaders, including the now-deceased Richard Butler, then leader of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations; Dan Gayman, a leader in the white supremacist Christian Identity movement; and Tom Metzger, who was closely aligned with the racist skinhead movement in the 1980s and 1990s. Johnson is also a long-time associate of Klan leader Thom Robb and has been a guest speaker at Robb’s events. While Johnson is purportedly trying to reach out to disaffected whites on behalf of Trump, he presumably would like to win those same people over to his white supremacist ideology. As a 501(c )(3) non-profit organization, the Anti-Defamation League does not support or oppose candidates for political office.
by: Oren SegalJanuary 15, 2016 January 16th is the 2016 observance of National Religious Freedom Day, which was established by Congress in 1993. It commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s 1786 adoption of the landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, it was the blue print for the religious freedom protections found in the U.S. Constitution. Two-hundred thirty years later, however, these very liberties and principles are being challenged often in the name of“religious freedom.” The Statute for Religious Freedom was a revolutionary change in the relationship between government and religion. It separated the two by prohibiting taxes supporting religion, providing free exercise of religion for all, and generally barring religious tests for civic participation. These principles became the law of the land with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment. The Constitution’s religion clauses are the reason why a diversity of faiths has thrived in our nation for well-over 200 years. At their essence, the clauses prohibit government from sponsoring, supporting or sanctioning the imposition of religious doctrine or beliefs on citizens. They are a shield that safeguards the religious freedom of all Americans and our religious institutions. Addressing these safeguards in her last opinion, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor astutely observed: [T]he goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society. By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: … Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly? Despite Justice O’Connor’s 2004 warning, today we find our Constitution’s religious freedom protections and principles misunderstood and under challenge. Most recently, leading candidates for the Presidency have said that Muslim Americans are unfit to serve as President and called for closing down Mosques, as well as banning Muslims from our shores. Such blatant religious intolerance is antithetical to our most core constitutional principles and unacceptable from any person of good faith let alone an individual aspiring to the Presidency. Our nation’s welcoming acceptance of all religious beliefs is a critical tool in countering those groups and nations that seek to impose their faith on others. In the States, dozens of bills have been filed over the last several years in the name of “religious freedom” that would allow businesses - based on owners’ religious beliefs - to refuse customers. Although many of these bills are directed at our nation’s LGBT community, they also could be used to turn away customers because for example they are Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Mormon or Muslim. Such legislation fundamentally misapprehends the purpose and scope of the Constitution’s religious freedom protections. They were never intended as a sword to impose religious beliefs on others. The Constitution most certainly safeguards the religious beliefs and exercise of clergy, houses of worship, and individuals, including beliefs and practices about marriage. But for our pluralistic society and marketplace to properly function, they should not be used as a vehicle for discrimination. The Constitution also guarantees the right of parents to send their children to religious schools and religious institutions to perform social and charitable services in-line with their religious beliefs. But they in no way require the government to fund either. Over the last 20 years, however, Congress and state legislatures have implemented programs requiring taxpayers to fund religious schools and charitable organizations, including those that discriminate or proselytize. Compelling taxpayers to fund religious institutions with which they are not affiliated or agree is antithetical to our constitutional principles. Properly interpreted, the Constitution should bar such government funding of religion. Our religious freedom protections are one of America’s greatest strengths and a key reason why our Nation is exceptional. On National Religious Freedom Day all Americans should take a moment to appreciate their individual religious liberty and reflect on the fact that millions around the world are regularly subject to religious coercion or persecution. These freedoms must not be taken for granted. Americans of good faith should push back on efforts to misuse them in ways that impose particular religious beliefs or tests on their fellow citizens.
by: David RobbinsJanuary 19, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This blog originally appeared on Medium Today, we mark the 87th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It also has been just over 180 days since I took the helm of the Anti-Defamation League(ADL), an organization founded more than 100 years ago in pursuit of a dream that MLK labored to achieve his entire life: to fight bigotry and create a more just society. MLK and ADL shared a path that today seems perhaps even more intertwined than ever before. ADL was created in October 1913, forged in the crucible of anti-Semitism. Our founders sought to rid the world of that age-old scourge even as they equally endeavored to drive an agenda of civil rights and social justice. MLK was born 16 years later, and he matured into a civil rights leader in the 1950s, dedicating himself to exposing the brutality of the Jim Crow South and dismantling its discriminatory system of institutionalized racism and oppression. ADL supported MLK and the movement in its earliest days. In 1954, we filed an amicus brief in the landmark Brown v Board of Education decision. Ben Epstein, one of my predecessors who led ADL in the middle of the 20th century, directed the organization to work hand in hand with African American leaders. MLK and Epstein stood together in Selma as Epstein recruited his entire executive team to march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge for that storied march in February 1965. And later, MLK and Epstein again stood side by side in the Rose Garden with President Johnson and Attorney General Kennedy, celebrating the gains of the movement and cementing the Black-Jewish alliance. In recent years, however, many have lamented of the fraying of the alliance. Divergent interests in the ensuing decades have alienated many in our communities. Some simply have forgotten the history. Others have chosen to subordinate it to other more pressing concerns. But the thing about history is that it always remains, perhaps just under the surface, but it still endures. In my role as CEO of ADL, I have sought to re-energize that history. Just last month, I led my first “leadership retreat,” bringing together my executive team of professionals and lay leaders. Yet, rather than hunker down near our headquarters in Manhattan, I opted to visit the American South so we could examine the legacy of the alliance that defined the American Civil Rights movement and reflect on our part in it. We started in Atlanta at Ebenezer Baptist Church, not only where MLK preached and the language of the movement took shape, but the site where we previewed #50StatesAgainst Hate last August in the wake of the Charleston massacre. #50States is a new nationwide effort to ensure comprehensive hate crimes laws are passed in all 50 states so that all people of all backgrounds have the protection that they deserve. We then traveled to Montgomery and listened to Bryan Stevenson whose landmark work at the Equal Justice Initiative on criminal justice issues and sentencing reform strikes me as some of the most important contemporary work in this field. We spent time in Selma, literally walking the same route across the Edmund Pettis Bridge that MLK, Epstein, and others walked 50 years earlier. Although we faced none of the hatred and violence that confronted those marchers, we were struck by the history of the moment. Yet the retreat was not intended simply to celebrate our past. It was designed to remind us of the responsibility of the inheritance bequeathed to us by Dr. King and Epstein. It was about climbing that hill of history so that we might root ourselves in our legacy but also to use its vantage point to look out at the horizon at the great challenges that remain before us today. For surely, the work is not done. As we consider the rising inequality in our country between the rich and the very poor, we know the work is not done. As we consider the contrast between our graduation rates and incarceration rates, we know the work is not done. As we consider the inability of our laws and the failure of our culture to protect all vulnerable groups from discrimination, we know the work is not done. As we observe the coarsening of the public conversation and the rise of extremism, we know our work is not done. To paraphrase MLK, change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. On this MLK Day, we recommit to the struggle — to straightening our backs and pressing forward with the hard work of stopping the defamation of the Jewish people, stemming the tide of bigotry in all forms, and securing justice and fair treatment to all.
by: Oren SegalJanuary 22, 2016 Forty-three years ago the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its watershed decision in Roe v. Wade, holding that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy includes the right to access an abortion. By guaranteeing women the right to determine whether to continue a pregnancy, Roe has had far-reaching implications for women’s rights beyond the medical procedure itself. The ability to control family planning and their own bodies for the last two generations has played an invaluable role in helping women determine the course of their own lives, decide when or whether to have children, earn higher degrees, advance in the workplace, and attain more equal rights. Photo Credit: Debra Sweet, Flickr Still, the journey from Roe has not been an easy one. Four decades after Roe recognized the constitutional right to an abortion, there are more attempts to limit access—and ultimately ban—abortions than ever before. Between 2011 and 2015 there were nearly as many restrictions on abortion access enacted across the United States than in the prior fifteen years combined. In 2015 alone, lawmakers considered 396 bills that would have restricted access to abortions in 46 states. Though many were defeated, 17 states enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions. Many of the bills, though not explicitly about religion, have religious undertones, with legislators citing scripture during debate and seeking to enshrine their own particular religious view into law. The latticework of state abortion restrictions now includes counseling requirements that force doctors to give women often scientifically questionable—and sometimes downright inaccurate—information about the procedures and their possible side effects. Other laws impose waiting periods that require women to come back to clinics days later, creating particularly onerous obstacles for women who sometimes have to travel hundreds of miles and lose hourly wages while away from work. Still others create restrictions on insurance coverage that make abortions almost impossible for poor people to access. Other types of restrictions, which create what doctors widely agree are medically unnecessary requirements for clinics, are also thinly veiled attempts to shut down reproductive health centers. Such laws have become so widespread that they have their own term: targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. In Texas, for example, the law, among other things, requires clinics that provide abortion services to meet the same building, staffing and equipment requirements as “ambulatory surgical centers,” even though the procedures there do not require such things by medical standards. The law also requires doctors providing abortion services to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, something that is becoming increasingly difficult to do in areas that largely oppose abortion rights or where there are only religiously-affiliated hospitals nearby. The law could shutter all but 10 abortion clinics, including every clinic west of San Antonio. Combined with Texas’ mandatory waiting period between seeing a doctor and having the procedure, that would effectively put abortion access out of reach for millions of women in Texas, who would often have to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic and stay at least overnight. A challenge to that Texas law is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, could have dramatic implications for women’s abilities to access abortion all around the country. The Supreme Court has said clearly and definitively in the past that states cannot place “undue burdens” on a woman’s ability to access an abortion before fetal viability, and that such burdens include “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.” If the Court finds that the ability to shutter clinics with technical and medically unnecessary restrictions does not qualify as an undue burden, however, states around the country could make abortions inaccessible to all but the most privileged who can afford to take time off work, travel long distances, and pay out of pocket for procedures to which they have a constitutionally guaranteed right. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the right to safe and legal abortions for many women hangs in the balance. We must all work to safeguard that fundamental constitutional right so that all women— regardless of where they live, what type of insurance they have, where they work, or how much money they have—can access the safe abortion services that have been so critical in advancing women’s rights and equality.
by: Oren SegalJanuary 22, 2016 Saud al-Shuraim's anti-Semitic tweet about the Jewish-Iranian alliance Over the past month, escalating tension in the Middle East between Iran and the Arab Gulf States helped fuel a resurgence of anti-Semitic statements and conspiracy theories about a supposed link between Israel and Jews to Iran. Angered by Iran’s increasing influence in the region, prominent Arab figures including politicians, religious leaders and journalists have accused Jews and Israel of secretly supporting Iran and Shi’a Muslims in their war against the Sunni Muslim world. Just last week, prominent Saudi scholar, Saud al-Shuraim, an Imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca wrote the following statement on his Twitter account: “It is no wonder the Safavids [Iranians] ally with Jews and Christians against Muslims because history testifies that this is the case. What is strange are the minds which took too long to understand this fact.” Some went as far as accusing “the Jews” of orchestrating Iran’s war against the Sunni Muslim world. Jordanian online news agency Ammon News published an article on January 19, titled “Iran started its holy war on the Sunnis with the blessing of the Jews.” The online publication, Al Khaleej Affairs, which specializes in Arab Gulf States’ Affairs, interviewed Iraqi Sunni activist Falih Al Shibly on January 21 to talk about the Iranian involvement in Iraq. In the interview Al Shibly claimed, “Unfortunately, there is ignorance in the region about the Jewish supported Persian plot.” He added that “This plot is against all Arab countries from the Arabian West to the ‘Arabian’ Gulf.” Other anti-Semitic accusations included conspiracy theories that the Jewish lobby in the U.S. is responsible for driving America’s policy in Iran’s best interests. Dubai Police Chief, Dahi Khalfan, whose bizarre statements in the past included accusing the Jews of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed on January 18 that President Obama is of Shi’a roots and “the sons of Zion” [the Jews] helped him reach presidency to “bring Iran and America closer.” Khalfan’s statements were widely circulated in the Arab world. Such a claim about Jewish support for Iran was the subject of several tweets by former Manager of the Dubai Government Media Office, Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi, on January 11. He claimed that Jews revere Iran because it is considered a “holy” country in Judaism. He wrote “Jews revere Iran more than ‘Palestine.’” The terrorist organization ISIS is capitalizing on this anti-Semitic trend as well. The featured article in their most recent English-language magazine Dabiq issue included a 14-page screed linking Jews and Shi’as. The back cover of the magazine also featured a full page image of Jews praying in a synagogue with a clear reference to the Jews of Isfahan in Iran. This anti-Semitic rhetoric is more than just a delusional perspective. It is a tool that has been used time and again to galvanize Arab public opinion. These conspiracy theories also fail to recognize both the very real threat Iran represents to the Jewish state and the centrality of anti-Semitic propaganda in the ideology embraced by Iran’s ruling regime. It is ironic that such accusations emerge while Iran is organizing an international cartoon contest–on the Holocaust. Tension between Iran and the Arab world has a long history, but it has escalated notably over the past few months as a result of the Iran nuclear agreement and growing concern among Arab Gulf States about Iran’s expanding regional influence and its involvement in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Arab world. Both sides have used the media to propagate anti-Semitic accusations against the other through the lens of their own agendas. It seems that Shi’as and Sunnis can agree on one thing: blaming the Jews for their problems. In the past, ADL documented a number of similar conspiracy theories in the Arab world including that ISIS has Jewish roots and that Israel and Jews are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
by: David RobbinsJanuary 25, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This blog originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post The news the past few days has been horrifying. A mother of six children, a nurse, fatally stabbed in the doorway of her own home. Another woman, 18 weeks pregnant, knifed. And these terror attacks follow scores of more shootings, car rammings and stabbings over the past four months at bus stops, in bars, and on street corners in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, and elsewhere. I would not assert that the world perennially ignores Israeli victims and downplays terrorism directed at Israelis. Just this week, reacting to the heinous murder of Dafna Meir and the attack on Michal Froman, U.S. officials called the attacks “barbaric” and said they were “appalled’ by these acts of terror. Yet, one can’t deny that this ongoing wave of terrorism targeting Israeli civilians has gotten short shrift internationally. Recent media overviews of terrorist attacks appropriately list incidents in Paris, Burkina Faso, San Bernardino, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Nigeria. But it’s impossible not to notice that almost all such lists omit mention of those in Israel. This tolerance of terrorism against Israelis risks making it acceptable, and it must end. Let’s put this violence into perspective. According to the IDF, since September 13, 2015, there have been 110 stabbings, 38 shootings and 22 car rammings, for a total of 167 terrorist attacks. That’s an average of 1.2 attacks every day for the last 19 weeks. Even more horrifying, according to statistics from Magen David Adom, 29 people have been killed in terror attacks. With a per-capita adjustment, that’s the equivalent of 1,131 Americans killed by terrorists in the last four months. While there have been some new stories on the violence, there have been numerous headlines proclaiming “Palestinian killed” while only noting below that the individual had been killed in an effort literally to prevent them from stabbing Israelis on a street corner. Can you imagine the outrage if that many Americans were killed by terror, or if Swedes were attacked by terrorists every single day for months? To what can this muted response be attributed? Certainly, there are some differences between the current terrorism afflicting Israel and the nature of the attacks in Paris or Nigeria. The perpetrators attacking Israeli civilians appear to be targeting Israelis alone, killing them simply for the fact that they are Israeli. In contrast, terrorists in Paris or San Bernardino appear to have been motivated to kill random individuals with the goal of expanding the threat and impact of the Islamic State. But there’s more there. The reality is that, after decades of a prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the world has become accustomed to Israeli victims of terrorist violence in a way that simply is not the case when it comes to innocents in Paris or London or New York. The world sees itself as unconnected and fundamentally un-threatened when the victim is an Israeli and the perpetrator a Palestinian. Moreover, while nearly all observers abhor such violence, they don’t react with the same emotion induced by other acts of terrorism because of an underlying sense that the violence is caused and even provoked by Israeli actions such as the ongoing occupation of the West Bank. Observers seem to believe that this is not a black and white situation that can be reduced to victim and perpetrator. But that is exactly what it is. A benign tolerance of violence against Israelis is intolerable. Terrorism is never justified, no matter the reason. Simply put, one can seek to right a wrong, but murdering people because of their nationality is always wrong. Moreover, the failure to condemn such atrocity inevitably haunts those who stand idly by. The security crisis in Israel has gone on too long with too little outrage. We owe it to all of them -- Dafna and Michal, along with Naama and Eitam Henkin; Richard Lakin, Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel, and Ezra Schwartz, and many, many, more. For them and for ourselves, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is vocal outrage at terrorism of any sort and strong support for the Israeli civilians who face this never-ending threat.
by: Marilyn MayoJanuary 26, 2016 Two leaders of the white supremacist movement, Paul Mullet of Bainbridge, Ohio, and Billy Roper of Mountain View, Arkansas, have joined forces to form a new group, Divine Truth Ministries and its "political arm," the Nation of True Israel. Both men have struggled for years to establish themselves in the movement and to recruit followers. Mullet and Roper practice Christian Identity, a virulently racist and anti-Semitic religion. They believe not only that whites of European descent can be traced back to the "Lost Tribes of Israel," but that Jews descended from a union between Eve and Satan. In addition to their Christian Identity beliefs, both men have embraced neo-Nazi ideology. Symbol of Divine Truth Ministries, left, and Aryan Nations, right A late December press release by Roper announced they were "carrying forward the ideals and values of Aryan Nations under a new banner." In the 1990s, Aryan Nations was one of the largest and most active neo-Nazi groups in the country, as well as a major Christian Identity group. Presumably Mullet and Roper hope to capitalize on the small void left by the recent dissolution of Morris Gulett's Louisiana-based faction of Aryan Nations. Gulett’s group was one of a number of factions that formed after the 2004 death of Richard Butler, the founder of Aryan Nations. It is no surprise that Mullet and Roper’s first course of business has been to demonize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Earlier this month, just days before the federal holiday marking Dr. King's birthday, they sponsored a "Day of Education," which encouraged all "white nationalists" to distribute anti-King flyers and literature alleging that King, among other things, was a plagiarist and communist. They are also organizing an April march at Georgia's Stone Mountain Park to protest legislation that would allow changes to existing Confederate displays and monuments, as well as a plan by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to install a monument in King's honor. Following the march, they are also planning a white power music event at a different venue. Despite their ideological beginnings with prominent neo-Nazi groups, Mullet and Roper, just a year apart in age, have struggled to make their mark in the white supremacist world. Mullet started with Richard Butler's Aryan Nations, while Roper, who came from a family of Klansmen, got his start with William Pierce and the National Alliance. In the early 2000s, Butler and Pierce died, leaving the neo-Nazi movement in disarray and both Mullet and Roper untethered. Shortly after Pierce's death, Roper, forced out by the remaining leaders of the National Alliance, started his own neo-Nazi group, White Revolution. Despite years of effort, White Revolution never amounted to anything more than a tiny propaganda group and Roper shut it down in 2011. For the last several years, Roper was active with Thomas Robb's Arkansas-based Klan group, the Knights Party. Mullet also experienced failures as he attempted to start several neo-Nazi and Christian Identity groups in the years following Butler’s death. His worst loss came in 2011 when Morris Gulett usurped a faction of the Aryan Nations that Mullet had founded in 2009. In 2011, Mullet attempted a comeback with the American National Socialist Party, but it also failed.
by: Oren SegalJanuary 26, 2016 After the firing of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt, some social media users responded by posting vehemently anti-Israel, and some anti-Jewish, personal attacks against Blatt, who holds both Israeli and American citizenship. Hostile verbal attacks on individuals for being Israeli citizens or supporters of Israel appear to have become more commonplace in recent years both online and offline as well as some look to demonize the Jewish state in any way possible. Below are just a few examples from the dozens of social media posts personally attacking Blatt regarding his citizenship or religious identity rather than discussing his abilities as a coach: This is not the first time such open hostility against Israelis or Jews in sports has been expressed in such an ugly fashion on social media. After Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final in 2014, there was an outpouring of anti-Semitic messages on Twitter. Twitter also erupted with anti-Semitic commentary after Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended from Major League Baseball in 2013.
by: Oren SegalJanuary 27, 2016 On January 2, a loosely organized group of armed anti-government extremists led by Ammon Bundy seized control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters buildings located near the town of Burns in remote southeastern Oregon. They later named themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. On Tuesday, January 26, Ammon Bundy and several others were arrested by federal and state law enforcement officers during a traffic stop near John Day, Oregon. LaVoy Finicum, who served as a spokesman for the group, was killed during the arrest; another occupier was slightly injured. Two others were arrested in Burns, Oregon, while another occupier turned himself in to authorities in Arizona. Those arrested so far include Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox, Brian Cavalier, Pete Santilli, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, and Jon Ritzheimer. For background information on all of the occupiers who were arrested or killed, as well as many of the other remaining occupiers and allies who has been at the wildlife refuge headquarters, see: The Occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. Although some occupiers have reportedly left the Malheur refuge headquarters, others remain. LATEST UPDATES 4:15 PM (EST) Occupier Sean Anderson cradling an assault rifle and urging people to come to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge appeared on a YouTube live stream earlier today and said: “There are no laws in this United States now. This is a free for all Armageddon. Any leo, or military, or law enforcement, or feds, that stand up and fuck their oath, don’t abide by their oath are the enemy. If they stop you from getting here … KILL THEM!” 3:23 PM (EST) Dave Fry, an Ohio resident still occupying the wildlife refuge after the arrests of several cohorts yesterday made anti-Semitic comments in his live feed at the refuge. Fry spoke about “fake Jews,” a term used by a number of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists who believe that many people who call themselves Jews today are not truly Jewish but are descended from a race of people called the Khazars. Drumming up anti-Semitic myths, Fry claimed that “fake Jews” believe “they’re superior to people,” are “evil” and “do a lot of evil things with their money.” 3:10 PM (EST) Occupier Victoria Sharp’s audio account claiming LaVoy Finicum was murdered has been shared nearly 3,500 times on Facebook alone, leaving aside other places, as extremists attempt to turn Finicum into a martyr for the anti-government causes. 1:31 PM (EST) Occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have begun using heavy machinery - apparently either to dig a trench or to build an earthen barrier, presumably to impede entry. 1:26 PM (EST): The current leader of the Oregon standoff appears to be Jason Patrick, who took over the role from Blaine Cooper early Wednesday. Patrick, who was at the Bundy Ranch in 2014, is an anti-government extremist and Three Percenter known in his home state of Georgia for his outbursts against law enforcement and court personnel, and for his attempts to bring video cameras into courtrooms. 12:51 PM (EST): Reacting to the evolving situation in Oregon, the anti-government extremist Pacific Patriots Network issued a “Stand By” order to their members and followers. “Cooler heads must prevail,” they announced. “We do not wish to inflame the current situation and will engage in open dialogue until all the facts have been gathered.” Based on previous, similar incidents, this is the expected response from most organized groups, who tend to understand the futility of engaging the federal government’s firepower. Individuals tend to be more volatile (and less predictable) in these situations. 12:28 PM (EST): Right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck issued a statement on Facebook Wednesday morning, writing that he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life” in Oregon, but that the protesters at Malheur should not have been armed. Because they were so vocal about their commitment to using violence, as necessary, to defend their beliefs, Beck argues, “The[ir] cause was lost before it began.” 11:52 AM (EST): As tensions increase, so too does the apparent rhetoric by some of the standoff participants. During a live feed of the standoff on YouTube, a male can clearly be heard saying “There will be a shootout… None of them are safe. When I get outta here, I’m gonna hunt them down!” 11:45 AM (EST): Michele Fiore, a Nevada state assembly person, has taken to Twitter to repeat the extremist claim that LaVoy Finicum was murdered by the government. Fiore is an ally of Cliven Bundy, the anti-government extremist whose standoff with authorities in 2014 in Nevada inspired his sons to seize the wildlife refuge in Oregon. 11:31 AM (EST): Supporters of the siege at wildlife refuge in Oregon, including Twitter users as well as white supremacists on Stormfront , are circulating an image of LaVoy Finicum in an attempt to turn the extremist into a right-wing martyr. Finicum allegedly was killed while charging law enforcement officers who were attempting to arrest Finicum and other occupiers. The meme repeats an extremist claim circulating on the Internet that Finicum was murdered while unarmed and with his hands in the air. 11:20 AM (EST): The remaining extremists at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff are still defiant and not ready to surrender to authorities. Duane Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and off and on participant in the standoff, said on Facebook that “now the wolves are at the gate, Were [sic] are those Oath keepers.” He is referring to the anti-government extremist group that often injects itself into conflicts. More information on the Oath Keepers. 10:17 AM (EST): Some anti-government extremists are already attempting to portray Finicum as a martyr; the risk of retaliation by anti-government extremists, locally or elsewhere, against the federal government is fairly substantial.
by: David RobbinsJanuary 28, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Blog Protesters at Task Force Conference in Chicago In the wake of a protest against a reception featuring an Israeli community group at a recent LGBTQ conference, there has been widespread controversy. We have read blog posts and articles, watched videos of the protest, and heard from friends and allies who were present at the demonstration. Yet, what was perhaps most painful for many of us is that we value and embrace much of the good work of these activists and organizers. They are some of our nation’s leading advocates, working to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Often they stand as allies in our work for justice and equality. Unfortunately, though, this fissure is not a new experience. Since starting as the CEO of ADL last summer, I personally have heard from many college students that their Jewish faith renders them pariahs on their campuses – unless and until they affirmatively denounce Israel. Campus Hillels and other Jewish organizations that have long worked with LGBTQ campus groups, student of color organizations, and other progressive clubs on campus to host film festivals, panels, and other events increasingly are being shut out, rejected from participating, even when Israel is not on the agenda. Where other students are not being subjected to a litmus test on their views on Israel, Jewish students have been singled out and questioned about their objectivity and position on the issue. As racial tensions flared across the country the past few years, we heard anecdotes from Jewish racial justice advocates that they were called “kikes” or targeted with other anti-Jewish slurs. When they tried to address the epithets, they were told they need to understand that “it’s because of Israel.” Here’s the thing, though. It’s not. It’s anti-Semitism. Let’s be clear. No government is immune from criticism. Surely neither the U.S. government nor the government of Israel nor any other. Indeed, we have criticized policies and practices of Israeli leadership when we felt appropriate to do so. We recognize that anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists will condemn Israel. That is a reality. That is their right. We disagree - vigorously - with their accusations of pinkwashing, with claims that Israel is an apartheid state, and with other efforts to demonize Israel. And we will speak out, challenge their mischaracterizations, and dismantle their indictments with facts and truths, as is our right. But when that criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism, we will condemn it. It is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated anywhere, especially not in social justice circles. To be specific, when a person conflates Jews, Israelis, and the Israeli government, it is anti-Semitic. When all Jews and all Israelis are held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, it is anti-Semitic. When Jews would be denied the right to self-determination accorded to all other peoples, it is anti-Semitic. And when protesters chant “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” it is appropriately interpreted by most people as a call for the erasure of Israel – and it is anti-Semitic. Giving protestors the benefit of the doubt, it is unlikely that most intend their message to be anti-Semitic. However, regardless of the intent of the protest, the impact matters. Yet, too often, when students, individuals, or organizations raise the specter of anti-Semitism it is quickly rejected, disregarded, or written off. Israel’s critics literally have written best-selling books decrying their so-called inability to criticize Israel. But President Obama himself noted that anti-Semitism is on the rise. And, as he eloquently reminded, "When any Jews anywhere is targeted just for being Jewish, we all have to respond.. 'We are all Jews.' " Indeed, we know that women are best positioned to define sexism, people of color to define racism, and LGBTQ people to define homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism. But, does this mean that all women must reach consensus on what offends them? All people of color? Everyone in LGBTQ communities? Hardly. So too, we Jews are best situated to define anti-Semitism, even if all of us may not likely reach consensus on the definition. Our millennial experience with intolerance demands the same acknowledgement as other forms of bigotry. Indeed, it is the collective responsibility of activists and organizers across the ideological spectrum to stop and listen when someone says, “You’ve crossed the line.” Standing up for rights of disempowered people is a job for us all. ADL has been doing it for more than 100 years. But marginalizing and wounding others in the process helps no one. Rather, it divides us and impedes our ability to find common ground in places where our collective strength could do so much good.
by: Shaya LernerJanuary 29, 2016 As Americans, we remember the critical moment that turned around the campaign of intimidation by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950's. As the Senator was badgering another young American, this time a soldier, accusing him of communism and smearing his reputation, the counsel for the defense, Joseph Welch, suddenly blurted out: "Mr. McCarthy, have you no decency?" That comment, seen by the nation in those early days of television, seemed to break the spell that the Wisconsin senator had held over significant portions of American society, ruining countless lives in the process. It is our hope that Im Tirtzu's latest assault on the good name of some of Israel’s cultural icons - Amos Oz, Chava Alberstein, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, to name a few - is the one step too far that awakens Israeli society to the dangers posed to democratic values from such assaults. Im Tirtzu Campaign Israel faces many real security challenges, as evidenced by the horrific murders and attacks taking place almost daily, and the international assaults against Israel’s good name. Exactly because there are real threats is why protecting Israel’s democratic values becomes even more important. Respecting the right to free expression, despite moments of discomfit, ensures a full exchange of views on what's best for the country and offers the best chance of bringing people together. And internationally, it is Israel’s democratic ethos, unique to the Middle East, which gains Israel respect despite the hostile campaigns that are waged against it. It is good to see that a number of Israeli government ministers, including the Prime Minister, have condemned the latest Im Tirtzu campaign. And it was appropriate that Im Tirtzu eventually issued an apology for their campaign maligning Israel’s cultural icons. Now we can hope all sides, left and right, will take a step back and recommit to the fundamental protection of and respect for freedom of expression as at the core of Israel's values and well-being.
by: Mark PitcavageFebruary 02, 2016 On January 26, 2016, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, one of the anti-government extremists involved in the January 2 armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters near Burns, Oregon, was fatally wounded by Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers during an attempt by the OSP and the FBI to arrest Finicum and a number of key occupiers. Helicopter footage of shooting of "LaVoy" Finicum (middle) as he seems to reach for a weapon. Finicum, along with occupation leader Ammon Bundy and others, were traveling in two vehicles to attend a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, where they hoped to find support for their armed seizure. Seeing an opportunity to apprehend most of the takeover leaders away from the refuge and its many armed extremists, the FBI and the OSP organized a traffic stop with roadblocks along the rural road to John Day. One of the two vehicles stopped and its occupants were removed peacefully. The other vehicle, driven by Finicum, fled the traffic stop, only to encounter a roadblock a short distance away. Perhaps attempting to evade the roadblock, Finicum drove his vehicle into a snowbank, narrowly missing the police vehicles and an officer. While other occupants stayed in the vehicle—possibly trapped by the snowbank—Finicum rushed out into the snow. Video footage shot from a helicopter shows a trooper approaching Finicum with the trooper’s weapon drawn. Though Finicum had emerged from the vehicle with his hands partially raised, upon seeing the trooper he appears to have reached for something under his jacket (authorities later confirmed he had a firearm). A second trooper emerged from the woods behind Finicum, which Finicum seems to have heard, because he turned around and once more reached into his jacket. Upon seeing this motion, the second trooper fired shots at Finicum, killing him. Ryan Bundy, another vehicle occupant, suffered a minor gunshot wound, apparently from a stray bullet. Manufacturing a Folk Hero The decision by federal and state authorities to make the arrest attempt was in some respects a risky one, not only because officers could be wounded or killed by extremists, but also because the wounding or death of any of the occupiers could have negative consequences in terms of enraging the extreme right and possibly prompting acts of violence. The arrests did disrupt and demoralize the Malheur occupiers, most of whom soon left the refuge, while a few others were arrested. As of this writing, only four holdouts at the refuge remain, primarily because there is a federal charge against one of them that they want dropped before they will surrender. However, the death of Finicum unfortunately provided adherents of the so-called “Patriot” movement (which includes militia groups, sovereign citizens, and other anti-government extremists) with something that authorities had hoped to avoid: a potential martyr around whom anti-government extremists could rally. Moreover, anger over Finicum's death could possibly spawn acts of violent retribution. Rage over deadly standoffs between fringe groups and individuals at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and Waco, Texas, in 1993 played a major role in sparking the resurgence of right-wing extremism in the mid-1990s that led to the Oklahoma City bombing and many other acts of violence or attempted violence. Upon learning of Finicum’s death, “Patriot” movement adherents immediately claimed that he was murdered, though initial accounts from other occupants of the vehicles were confused and contradictory. The FBI publicly released the helicopter video rather quickly—in a clear attempt to quell rumors about the shooting—and, to most viewers, the shooting is likely to appear to have been justified. However, anti-government extremists watching the video have perceived largely what they wanted to see on it and have interpreted the video as still more evidence that Finicum was murdered. Extremists have widely shared the video, which is typically described as proof of Finicum’s “ambush and murder.” Even before the video was released, the process of turning Finicum into a martyr had already begun. As news of his death spread, extremists on social media created a wide array of graphic memes proclaiming Finicum a martyred hero. One self-declared “liberty speaker” from Washington state, Gavin Seim, uploaded a short video about Finicum titled “The Edge of Revolution.” In the video, Seim describes Finicum as “one of the finest patriots that America could hope to have,” who showed people “what it was like to be a founding father.” Seim urged viewers to “rise for liberty,” claiming that “we can no longer allow the government to murder and abuse and terrorize…These criminals spilled blood yesterday.” Within two days, Seim’s video had received over 110,000 views. Similarly, musician Jordan Page posted his own video, widely shared on social media, singing a song of his own composition, “The Ballad of LaVoy Finicum,” intended to make a folk hero out of the anti-government occupier: He left his home to go and take a stand His voice rang out across a deafened land And in the end it was a bullet that exposed the lies A truth remembered is a battle won And though his murder cannot be undone, It rings out like an echo, thundering across the night Page’s song was the most popular of several songs related to Finicum’s shooting that have appeared on YouTube or elsewhere. One ostensible Finicum supporter is using a t-shirt website to sell “LaVoy Finicum Memorial” t-shirts for $21.99, with proceeds promised to go to the Finicum family—just one of the websites now selling Finicum t-shirts and sweatshirts. Another supporter announced the auction of a framed print of a painting—starting bid, $2,500—with the proceeds allegedly going “to the Bundy Ranch and/or a fund for Levon [sic] Finicum memorial.” Channelling Anger: Rallies, Protests, Memorials and Vigils As quickly as news of Finicum’s death spread, supporters of the Malheur takeover began to organize events—rallies, protests, vigils, and memorials—centered on the dead occupier and designed to raise sorrow and anger over his death. As early as the day after the shooting, occupier supporters (and, allegedly, some former occupiers) held a small “candlelight vigil” in Burns, Oregon. In southwestern Utah, Finicum’s home, supporters organized a memorial for him in front of the Iron County courthouse. The event seems to have included at least one former occupier in attendance, but its centerpiece was Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller, who called the death of Finicum a “travesty” and hoped “the truth” would come out. Other regional events, including one for the Paiute County courthouse, were allegedly also held. In Phoenix, Finicum supporters Israel Torres and Blanka Nieves, who had previously held support rallies for the Oregon occupiers, organized a “We Are LaVoy” rally on January 29 at Wesley Bolin Plaza, with around 30 or so attendees. Another protest was allegedly organized in Portland, Oregon. Las Vegas, Nevada, saw a handful of Tea Party activists and anti-government extremists led by Karen Steelmon and Greg Whalen (the latter of whom was in telephone contact with the remaining occupiers in Oregon) organize their own impromptu demonstration in front of the federal courthouse soon after the shooting. They declared that Finicum, who had “been defending American soil from a tyrannical government,” was ambushed and murdered by the FBI. The pair also organized a second Las Vegas courthouse rally on the weekend following the shooting; 12-15 people seem to have participated in that event. Other events also occurred on the weekend of January 30-31. The one most covered by the media occurred in the long-suffering town of Burns itself, where the anti-government Pacific Patriots Network organized a “rolling” protest of vehicles through the town; estimates of the number of protesters ranged from 50 to over 100. With another rally organized by Idaho Three Percenters at the Harney County Courthouse in Burns for February 1, it is clear that Burns’ ordeal is not likely to end soon. Both of these groups declined to support the Malheur occupiers’ earlier actions but have jumped into the conflict with the death of Finicum. Others traveled out to the location where Finicum was shot and erected a makeshift memorial. Protests and rallies occurred outside Oregon as well. Heather Lucas and Mike Kay organized a Finicum protest at the FBI office in Columbus, Ohio, with around 45-50 attending from right-wing groups and Anonymous. “Revolution starts here,” said one speaker, “Make no mistake.” Elsewhere in Ohio, a handful of activists in Lima, Ohio, hung signs and protested on a freeway overpass on I-75. One protester posted on Facebook after the event that the federal government let “rioters burn, loot and assault in Ferguson and Baltimore but when a patriot stands up peaceful [sic] for his constitutional rights he is gunned down by the federal government.” A similar overpass protest occurred on January 30 across the country in Salem, Oregon, with about 10 protesters. Both were apparently organized by activists with right-wing group “Overpasses for America.” More such overpass protests are scheduled for the first weekend in February in Oregon and elsewhere. That weekend, the weekend of February 5-7, is when a number of additional events will be held. Of these, the most significant is the memorial service for Finicum in Kanab, Utah, organized by his family, who turned it into a political event by reaching out and announcing it to “Patriot” and right-wing groups to get their attendance. Karen Steelmon, the Las Vegas Tea Party figure mentioned above, announced she was organizing a “procession” of people from the Las Vegas area to “pay respects” at the memorial service. Utahn and former Malheur occupier Wes Kjar has declared he will organize a “memorial horse ride” to the service. For those too far from Kanab, Finicum supporters have organized the “National Memorial & Prayer Vigil for LaVoy Finicum,” for which they urge people to gather in front of “your local courthouse” on February 5 or the following day. Other events known to be planned for the weekend include: The Liberty for All III% have announced a “Cowboy’s Last Ride” protest in Olympia, Washington, for the weekend of February 5-7, declaring that they “will never allow one more innocent person to die at the hands of the Government.” In Boise, Idaho, someone calling himself “1776Revolutionist” is organizing the “RIP Lavoy Rally” at the Boise capitol building; attendees are requested to bring “Hands up, don’t shoot” signs. In John Day, Oregon, the town to which Finicum was driving when his vehicle was stopped, Raelene Hunt-Reed and Tyson Baker are organizing a candlelight service for Finicum. Hunt-Reed and Brian Winters have also scheduled a “candlelight memorial” for Finicum at the Crook County courthouse in Prineville, Oregon. This would be the second rally for Prineville; others organized a February 1 “Memory of LaVoy Finicum and All Our Patriots” rally at the courthouse. Arizona activists are organizing a Finicum candlelight vigil at Mesa RiverView Park on February 6, allegedly with “guest speaker Alexander Melusky.” Melusky is running for Senate in Arizona; it is not known if he is actually appearing at this event. Kentucky Three Percenter George Al Collins has announced a “rally and memorial service in remembrance of LaVoy Finicum” at the capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky, on February 6. John Adams is organizing a candlelight vigil for Finicum at the West Virginia capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia, on February 6. Krista Etter of West Palm Beach, Florida, is arranging a rally at the federal courthouse on February 6. Northeast Ohio Three Percenters are allegedly planning an event on February 7 in front of the FBI building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. In Ruckersville, Virginia, Michael Madden, the owner of The Confederate Keepers Store, has scheduled a “Rally/Protest of the MURDER of LaVoy Finicum” for February 7, with the location oddly being a convenience store. Colorado anti-government extremists are organizing a February 7 protest dubbed “#WAKETHEDEAD” in front of the FBI office. Steve Baldassari and Scott Henry have announced a rally at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on February 6 “to fight for our rights, defend the Oregon ranchers, but also to honor LaVoy Jeanette Finicum, a true patriot.” South Carolina Three Percenters are allegedly organizing a “VIGIL AND A SHOT FOR FREEDOM MEET” on February 6 somewhere in South Carolina. It is not clear if this is related to a “LaVoy Finicum Tribute and Prayer Meeting” being organized by Bob Hargrove for the Huger Recreation Area at the Francis Marion National Forest on February 6. Rallies and protests even further in the future are also scheduled—likely to be merely the first of many. These include: Arkansan Madonna Carter is organizing a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the state capitol, for February 13. A “We the People” rally was organized for February 13 in Columbus, Ohio, at the Ohio State House, even before Finicum’s death. Now attendance is likely to be even higher. A “Lavoy Finicum Free the Bundys and Hammons March” in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on March 5 to “honor one of our fellow freedom fighters who lost his life standing up for what was right.” It remains to be seen how successful the extreme right will be in elevating Finicum to the pantheon of extremists considered martyrs by the movement, or whether their attempts to use Finicum to rally support will be successful past the short term. The still-unresolved standoff in Malheur, with its four holdouts refusing to leave, also makes the future more uncertain. However, what is clear is that anti-government extremists are right now energetically trying to use Finicum’s death to rally support for their cause and this in itself is troubling.
by: Oren SegalFebruary 02, 2016 Update: 3/17/2016 - In March 2016, the Cyber Caliphate Army, a pro-ISIS hacking group, released so-called "kill lists" with the names, addresses and contact information of law enforcement officers in New Jersey and Minnesota. The information was uploaded to a file sharing site and to Telegram. The original version of this post was also updated on 2/19/2016. 2015 saw an unprecedented number of attacks on law enforcement officials by U.S. residents motivated by Islamic extremist ideologies and professing allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A shooting of a Philadelphia police officer in January 2016 indicates that the threat against law enforcement will continue into the coming year. There have been eight documented instances of violence attempted or plotted against law enforcement by individuals motivated at least in part by Islamic extremist ideology since 2014: Edward Archer January 2016: Edward Archer of Pennsylvania allegedly fired 13 bullets at a Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett. Hartnett suffered wounds to his arm. Archer claimed that he had acted on behalf of ISIS. July 2015: Harlem Suarez of Florida was arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb a Florida beach. According to court documents, Suarez had also discussed placing bombs outside the houses and vehicles of law enforcement officers. Suarez had claimed allegiance to ISIS and had maintained a Facebook account on which he posted extremist content. June 2015: Usaama Rahim and David Wright of Massachusetts and Nicholas Rovinski of Rhode Island allegedly plotted to behead Boston-area police officers. Rahim also allegedly drew a knife when approached by a law enforcement officer for questioning. The three allegedly claimed to be acting on behalf of ISIS and expressed some interest in traveling to join ISIS in Syria. June 2015: Munther Omar Saleh of New York drew a knife and attacked a law enforcement officer who had been surveilling him. Saleh acted together with an unnamed minor who had been with him at the time. He is separately charged with plotting a domestic attack. According to court documents, Saleh had expressed support for ISIS and posted ISIS propaganda on his Twitter account. Fareed Mumuni June 2015: Fareed Mumuni of New York attacked law enforcement officers who had come to his residence with a knife. Mumuni is also charged with plotting a domestic attack together with Saleh and other co-conspirators. Mumuni had allegedly expressed support for ISIS. April 2015: Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui of New York were arrested for allegedly plotting a domestic attack. Although the target had not been disclosed, court documents indicate that the two had indicated they wanted to attack a government, military or law enforcement target. Siddiqui and Velentzas had a long history of engaging with terrorist propaganda and extremist content and, according to court documents, had intended to commit their attack on behalf of ISIS. February 2015: Abdurasul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhmetov of New York were charged with material support for terror for allegedly attempting to travel to join ISIS. Court documents indicated that the two had also discussed the possibility of a domestic attack that involved killing law enforcement officers, taking their weapons, and then mounting an attack on the FBI headquarters. The two had expressed support for ISIS online, where they also allegedly indicated their intent to act on the group's behalf. October 2014: Zale Thompson of New York attacked law enforcement officers with a hatchet. Thompson’s motive remains unclear and he demonstrated interest in a variety of extremist ideologies; however, his online record indicated he had most recently engaged with Islamic extremist propaganda and ideology, including ISIS-specific propaganda, prior to the attack. In addition, court documents indicate that Alexander Ciccolo, a Massachusetts resident arrested in July, had planned to attack law enforcement, military and civilians on behalf of ISIS before allegedly deciding to attack a university instead. The upsurge in attacks against law enforcement may be motivated in part by propaganda by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has called directly for such attacks. A September 2014 speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad Al Adnani, for example, stated, “Strike their police, security and intelligence members….” ISIS propaganda has also called for smaller scale terrorist attacks than those Al Qaeda adherents had been known to plot. A January 2015 speech by Al Adnani, for example, called for attacks, “whether with an explosive device, a bullet, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.” The attacks against law enforcement have primarily been attempted with small arms.
by: David RobbinsFebruary 03, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Blog I have always believed that it takes more than one person, one leader, or one institution to solve the toughest challenges. As I began my tenure as CEO six months ago, I realized that in order to achieve our timeless mission -- to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure fair treatment and justice to all -- we would need to harness the energies of innovation and discover new ways to sharpen our focus on the most relevant issues facing our community and our nation. We would need to broaden our tent, to attract the brightest people, and to welcome new ideas. That is why I’m thrilled today to launch a new initiative aimed at opening our minds to the cutting edge, to bring together divergent voices into dialogue in an open and unfettered exchange. We’re calling it ADL@Salon. To meet the demands of a century defined by rapid change, it is my belief that ADL transform itself into a learning organization, one capable of continuous reinvention. In short, an organization that thrives on innovation. In this still new century, we face what can seem insurmountable challenges without obvious solutions. As President Obama took note of just last week, anti-Semitism is undeniably rising around the world. We face failing and failed states breeding extremism, such as the growing influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their affiliates around the Middle East. We face racism in many guises, from police brutality to education inequality. Our political discourse is stained by appeals to stereotyping and scapegoating. We see hard won gains in women’s rights and LGBT rights at risk of being rolled back. Around the world and even here at home, we see troubling trends in campaigns to de-legitimize and demonize the state of Israel, even as the conflict between Israel and its neighbors seems as intractable as ever. Building the coalitions that are willing to think through the solutions to these great challenges undoubtedly means widening the tent. It means gathering input and ideas from a greater range of voices, even those with whom we might disagree. As hatred and extremism migrate to the uncharted realm of the internet, as the very definition of social movements has been fundamentally transformed by new modes of communication and community, we must build the engines that spark new ideas and new approaches. Inspired by the intense exchanges in European cafés that led to inventions and revolutions in politics and science which shaped the modern world, ADL@Salon aims to bring together thought leaders across the broad spectrum of our work to engage in high level and off-the-record conversations in order to infuse new ideas and approaches for combating hatred and prejudice in our world. The inaugural ADL@Salon will take place today at our national headquarters in New York. Harnessing the expertise of leading scholars and foreign policy practitioners, we will look forward to assess what the future holds in store for the Middle East, and how U.S. policy should respond to these trends. Co-sponsored by our friends at the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, a public policy think-tank headquartered in Belgrade and New York, our aim is not to broadcast our discussions broadly, but harness these and inform our new directions and positions. ADL@Salon is the start of a new way of approach at ADL. Future partners in our conversations come from across a broad array of fields—from scholars to advocates, policy professionals to business leaders. We will consider the challenges of the 21st century’s civil rights agenda. We will think deeply about the relationship between the United States and Israel in these times of change. We will welcome the entrepreneurs and innovators of Silicon Valley into conversation to challenge our thinking about how we approach social problems. What if ADL can be the place that inspires brave thinking? What if we can bring together the minds that lead us smartly toward our “big bets?” I believe that through dialogue and the exchange of ideas and information, we can transform our response to 21st century challenges. As the leading organization fighting anti-Semitism and defending the civil rights of all, I believe ADL is poised to inspire great change. That is what ADL@Salon is truly about.
by: David RobbinsFebruary 08, 2016 By Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League This article originally appeared on The Times of Israel blog Here they go again. The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, has announced a new initiative toward convening an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The history of such international gatherings, with the unique exception of the Madrid Peace Conference following the first Gulf War, has not been a good one. Most often, they become forums for bashing Israel rather than making real progress to break through on the toughest final status issues that still divide Israelis and Palestinians. This bad history is compounded, however, in this instance, by the accompanying statement by Mr. Fabius that if such a conference fails to lead to progress toward peace, France will recognize a Palestinian State. What incentive remains for the Palestinians to be forthcoming? This alone would guarantee the failure of a conference. It is always a challenge to get the Palestinians to be forthcoming toward Israel. If they know for certain that they will be rewarded for inaction, the likelihood of progress is even more remote. The French position reflects the fundamental fallacy of much of the international community in addressing the conflict. Because they see Israel as the occupier and stronger party, they see pressure on Israel as the way to move the process. In this view, there is nothing expected of the Palestinians. Make no mistake: Any hope for peace requires actions and compromises by both sides. Israel has to be forthcoming, as well as the Palestinians. The record, however, shows repeatedly that Israel can negotiate in good faith and offer solutions that give something to each side. This was true at Camp David in 2000, when Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a state on more than 90 percent of the territory; this was true when his successor Ariel Sharon pulled Israel out of Gaza in 2005; this was true in 2008, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians even more than Ehud Barak did for building a state. This was true ultimately in the recent effort of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a compromise. While the Netanyahu government has been less willing to propose an initiative on peace, there is every reason to believe, based on Israel’s history of both the left and the right, that Israel will be there if Palestinians demonstrate they are prepared to truly engage in direct negotiations and willing to make important compromises for peace. The so-called friends of the Palestinians, who blame Israel for every aspect of the conflict, do the Palestinians no favor by expecting nothing of their friends in return. A far more productive exercise for the international community, as counterintuitive as it may seem, is to direct its attention toward Palestinian behavior. The focus should be on what changes are necessary from the Palestinian side in order to bring an independent state closer to reality. This does not mean Israel is exempt from expectations that it make serious and sustained efforts to achieve peace. However, the world should expect the Palestinians to compromise as well. Such compromises that should be demanded of the Palestinians include accepting the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish State; the recognition that Palestinian refugees will be resettled in a Palestinian State, just as Jewish refugees were resettled in the Jewish State; the acknowledgement that a peace agreement between the sides will mean the end of the conflict and future demands; and the cessation of incitement campaigns against Israel and Jews and an end to celebrating to those who commit terrorist attacks. That’s a lot to ask of the Palestinians, you say, particularly because they are the occupied party. Maybe so, but it has never been tried. And the Palestinians remain in their difficult situation. Meanwhile, Israeli initiatives have not only gone nowhere, they have often been followed by Palestinian violence. It is, however, not merely that this approach has not been tried. It is more that it speaks to the root of the problem and to understandable Israeli skepticism that the Palestinian goal has not changed at all from 1947 when it was clear that Israel’s destruction was its primary aim. However much one seeks to blame Israel for the Palestinian condition, it is Palestinians themselves, with a changed approach, who can bring about a fundamental change in the status quo. Israel’s reaction to a new Palestinian approach will undoubtedly be cautious but will be a response that could move things forward toward a two-state solution. Having said all this, Israel needs to think about taking its own initiative, not because any such move will ensure that there is peace — that can only happen when the Palestinians engage in the rethinking described above — but in order to credibly demonstrate to the world its commitment to peace. Internally, inaction has created a vacuum that is being filled by people who are against a two-state solution and who would like to erode Israel’s democratic values. Externally, boycotts and delegitimization campaigns continue to mount against Israel and one-state ideas gain momentum. An Israeli initiative — whether on halting settlements, better respecting Palestinians’ rights, or offering a plan — will not bring an end to anti-Israel activity. It will, however, weaken it significantly. It could draw away from it many well-meaning people who are frustrated with the decades-old stalemate and status quo. Responsibility for peace and for accepting at least parts of the others’ narrative lie on both parties. It is the Palestinian rethink, however, that could make all the difference.
by: Mark PitcavageFebruary 09, 2016 Rock musician and right-wing activist Ted Nugent surprised many of his followers on February 8 when he posted to his Facebook page a blatantly anti-Semitic graphic that labeled a dozen prominent supporters of gun control measures as Jews and asked “So who is really behind gun control?” Angelo John Gage The graphic was one that had circulated in white supremacist circles for several years before Nugent gave it new life, telling his followers to “Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil…you know how evil they are.” To their credit, a number of Nugent fans expressed dismay at his posting. One prophetic Nugent follower, a self-described 40-year fan, described the post as “appalling” and informed the aging rocker that he had just “opened the gates for hundreds of Jew haters and Holocaust deniers to pour out their garbage on your page.” Sadly, that was exactly what happened. Predictably, white supremacists and anti-Semites flooded to Nugent’s Facebook page to endorse his post and share it with their own Facebook friends (in less than 24 hours, the post had been shared over 2,800 times). Hundreds of white supremacists rushed to exploit and amplify Nugent’s post with their own propaganda, including a number of prominent white supremacists, such as former Klansman David Duke, neo-Nazi David Pringle, Traditionalist Youth Network founder Matt Heimbach and former National Youth Front leader Angelo John Gage. Gage, a white supremacist activist, blogger and occasional political candidate, helped start the rush when he quickly posted a YouTube video about Nugent’s posting, saying “it shows all these Jews, all of them,” and urging like-minded people to go to Facebook and “start blasting” anti-Semitic propaganda. Gage was not alone. Scott Roberts, another anti-Semite, posted his own YouTube video about the incident, explaining that “we seized this opportunity, Angelo, myself, David Duke…we are injecting that anti-Semitic truth, and taking the point [Nugent] initially came out with and hammering it home.” On the white supremacist discussion forum Stormfront, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists made similar pleas. “Anyone that is pro-white or ‘alt-right’,” posted user “RavenClaw, “needs to jump on this and comment. Post David Duke videos on there.” Another Stormfronter, “PolishSlavAryan,” asked, “Can we all work together as a team to make it go viral? The mainstream needs to know.” An Oregon Stormfronter explained that “even at this early point the exposure is priceless…Some will look into the ‘jewish problem’ a bit further. Win.” Hundreds of anti-Semites indeed flocked to Nugent’s Facebook page to share their opinions of Jews. “Jews are the existential enemy to the white race and need to be exterminated off the face of [the] Earth,” wrote a Facebook user with the screen name “Max Macro.” User Dan Dean echoed those sentiments: “Zionists Jews are your deadliest enemy. Virtual wolves in sheep’s clothing. Deep darkness cloaked in a false light.” Others took the opportunity to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and anti-Semitic stereotypes, epithets and canards. A Facebook user with the Holocaust-themed screen name “Zykklon Beaner” urged Nugent not to retract his statement: “No apologies, Ted, stick by your guns, literally and figuratively! F__k these supposed ‘chosen’ Zionist scum!” So far, Nugent has neither apologized for or deleted his post. To date, his only reaction was to make another post in which he raged against people who had called his original message anti-Semitic and asked how anyone “could possibly not know that Jews for gun control are Nazis in disguise?” Meanwhile, he wrote, “I adjust my yamika [sic] at my barmitzva [sic] playing my kosher guitar.”
by: Shaya LernerFebruary 10, 2016 By Rabbi David Fox Sandmel ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs As a professional in the Jewish community who works on interfaith relations, I am often asked “why aren’t Muslims speaking out against terrorism and ISIS?” The answer is that, in fact, many Muslims have done so. Equally important is for religious leaders to speak out and address the root causes of extremism in their community, and find ways of discouraging terrorist activity, particularly among youth who are considered among the most susceptible populations. In this regard, one of the most hopeful initiatives, something that has not gotten much attention in the mainstream media, is the “Marrakesh Declaration,” released at the end of last month. The “Marrakesh Declaration” is the product of a gathering of Muslim leaders from more than 100 countries around the world sponsored by the Moroccan government and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. At the meeting, Muslim leaders heard several testimonies about the grave situation of various religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries. At the end of the meeting, the Muslim scholars who gathered in Marrakesh released the “Marrakesh Declaration,” a brief statement that in which they: Call upon Muslim scholars and intellectuals around the world to develop a jurisprudence of the concept of “citizenship” which is inclusive of diverse groups. Such jurisprudence shall be rooted in Islamic tradition and principles and mindful of global changes. Urge Muslim educational institutions and authorities to conduct a courageous review of educational curricula that addresses honestly and effectively any material that instigates aggression and extremism, leads to war and chaos, and results in the destruction of our shared societies; Call upon politicians and decision makers to take the political and legal steps necessary to establish a constitutional contractual relationship among its citizens, and to support all formulations and initiatives that aim to fortify relations and understanding among the various religious groups in the Muslim World; Call upon the educated, artistic, and creative members of our societies, as well as organizations of civil society, to establish a broad movement for the just treatment of religious minorities in Muslim countries and to raise awareness as to their rights, and to work together to ensure the success of these efforts. Call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land; we call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression; Call upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, vilification, and denigration of what people hold sacred, as well as all speech that promote hatred and bigotry; AND FINALLY, AFFIRM that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries. Lest anyone think that this is a departure from “traditional” Islamic teaching, the Marrakesh Declaration explicitly traces its ancestry to the Charter (or Constitution) of Medina. According to Muslim tradition, this Charter was written by the prophet Muhammad in 622 C.E. in an effort to end political strife in the city; it guarantees autonomy and freedom of religion to the residence of Medina, including, explicitly, its Jewish population. While the Charter is not a modern document and reflects the historical setting in which it was created, the principle of religious freedom is found in the Quran itself and other classic Islamic sources. The threat of Muslim extremism is real, dangerous, and must be taken seriously; even though it represents a small minority of Muslims, we have witnessed its tragic consequences. The vast majority of Muslims (and let us not forget that it is Muslims themselves who are most often the target of these extremists) reject the terrorists and their ideology. The Marrakesh Declaration is an important, but certainly not the only, example of Muslims speaking unequivocally, from their own tradition, against extremism, terror, and the infringement of religious freedom. It is a pity that this and other efforts have not garnered the attention they deserve.
by: Oren SegalFebruary 18, 2016 Farrakhan meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan was provided with an opportunity to promote his typical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories last week in Iran. Farrakhan was a “special guest” at multiple high-level events and met with current and former Iranian government officials including Grand Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Farrakhan was also reportedly the guest of honor at a ceremony unveiling a new drone, during which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was present. Farrakhan previously met with Rouhani at a 2013 event organized by the Iranian delegation on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and visited Iran in 1996. During a press conference after an event marking the 37th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Farrakhan stated, “Whenever America wants to destroy a nation, a people, they must first demonize them, and the Zionist-controlled media in America has chosen to demonize Iran.” He added, “Not because Iran is a demon but the demon is the demonizer.” According to the NOI’s Final Call newspaper, Farrakhan also claimed Jews conspire to divide Muslims. Farrakhan said, “I call [this group of Jews] the Synagogue of Satan…In the book of Revelations, it reads, those who say they are Jews and are not, I will make them of the Synagogue of Satan. And they are working day and night to destroy any unity among Muslims.” Farrakhan speaking to Iranian media Iranian media outlets published Farrakhan’s comments from the press conference about supposed Jewish control of the U.S. media and supposed Jewish plots to undermine Muslim unity, giving his anti-Semitism broader reach. It is no surprise that Farrakhan would invoke anti-Semitism during what the NOI is referring to as “a special, historic pre-Saviours’ Day trip.” Saviours’ Day, which takes place February 18-21, is one of Farrakhan’s largest platforms for anti-Semitism. During last year’s Saviours’ Day sermon (Part 2), Farrakhan stated, “It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks… It now appears that 9/11 was a false flag operation… We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11.” He also claimed that Israel constantly acts against America’s interests, but “they don’t fear America because they control it from within.”