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In Wake of Virginia Violence, San Diego Jewish Community ‘Stands Up to Hate’ – Times of San Diego

Posted By on August 16, 2017

Share This Article: The Anti-Defamation League, Leichtag Foundation and the San Diego RabbinicAssociation are hosting a forum called No Place for Hate. Photo courtesy ADL

In the the aftermath of thedeadly white nationalist violence in Virginia, the Anti-Defamation League, Leichtag Foundation, and the San Diego Rabbinic Association are hosting a Stand Up to Hate forum on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The event at 7 p.m.will be held at the Lawrence Jacobs Jewish Community Center in La Jolla at 4126 Executive Drive. It will address White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and all other forms of hate and extremism.

Speakers will include (list continually updated): Congressman Scott Peters Rabbi Nadav Caine, Ner Tamid Synagogue; Chair, San Diego Rabbinical Association Rabbi Devorah Marcus, Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Yael Ridberg, Dor Hadash Synagogue Rabbi David Singer, Hillel of San Diego

Parking will be available in the JCC lot and overflow parking in the structure directly across from the JCC Executive Drive entrance.

Please arrive at 6:30 p.m. and leave non-essentials at home due to security checks.

In Wake of Virginia Violence, San Diego Jewish Community Stands Up to Hate was last modified: August 15th, 2017 by Debbie L. Sklar

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In Wake of Virginia Violence, San Diego Jewish Community ‘Stands Up to Hate’ – Times of San Diego

Photo from rally turns focus toward NM native – Santa Fe New Mexican

Posted By on August 16, 2017

In the search for answers after a white supremacist rally in Virginia devolved into deadly violence Saturday, attention turned to a New Mexican.

Dillon Hopper, a native of Roswell, heads the far-right organization Vanguard America that seemed in the chaos of the moment to have some sort of link to the man police say drove a car into a group of anti-racist demonstrators, leaving one woman dead.

Photos showing the suspected driver marching alongside the groups members earlier in the day placed the organization, once described as insignificant, as well as the leader credited with helping build it, at the center of national outrage.

Vanguard America has denied the man charged with murder in Saturdays attack was a member of the group before he showed up at the rally and says it does not condone criminal activity.

But the episode nonetheless shines a light on a white supremacist leader homegrown in New Mexico.

Only a few years ago, Hopper, 29, seemed like a local boy who had made good.

A 2013 column in the Amarillo Globe-News recounted how an elderly Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer inspired Hopper to join the Marine Corps. Hopper enlisted in Albuquerque and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he won a promotion to staff sergeant, he invited his former big brother, living at the time in the Texas Panhandle, to do the pinning the feel-good occasion for the newspaper story.

Hopper later became a Marine Corps recruiter. But while in that role, it appears he also helped build a white supremacist group.

In April of this year, Hopper stood before a gathering of white supremacists in Kentucky and touted his work as head of Vanguard America, an organization that had become part of an effort to recast the racist far-right as mainstream.

Hoppers service with the Marines ended in January, according to federal records. But thats several months after the Anti-Defamation League says he took charge of Vanguard America.

The group had grown out of online message boards and a split with the members of another similarly named white supremacist group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

By early 2016, Hopper was leading the organization, and under him, it has espoused an ideology increasingly aligned with neo-Nazis, said Carla Hill, an investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League.

A spokesperson for the Marine Corps declined to specify what kind of discharge Hopper had received, indicating he had not been court martialed. But in an email, the Marine Corps said that involvement in extremist groups is grounds for separation.

Association or participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isnt tolerated by the Marine Corps, Capt. Philip Kulczewski said when asked about Hoppers service records.

Vanguard Americas manifesto depicts America as a country built in the image of the Roman Republic and now on the verge of collapse. Its manifesto blames multiculturalism, arguing that America should be an exclusively white nation.

Using the right-wing slogan blood and soil, Vanguard America romanticizes a notion that people with white blood hold a special bond with American soil. The Anti-Defamation League links that philosophy to the German slogan blut und boden popularized under the regime of Adolf Hitler.

Hill said the group was formerly regarded as insignificant in white supremacist circles. But it has grown in recent years, she added, with a particular focus on recruiting young men.

They are flowering on college campuses, Hill said, pointing to numerous reports of the groups stickers and fliers appearing at universities as well as members participating in white supremacist events.

In a video of his speech to a gathering of the Nationalist Front in Kentucky this year, Hopper declared that the future is about the youth. The group has taken to social media, calling on white people particularly white men to be proud of their race while also attacking minorities ranging from LGBT people to immigrants. It has targeted Jewish communities, its members known for having once hung an anti-Semitic banner from a Holocaust memorial in New Jersey.

Vanguard Americas promotional videos show young men marching in military formation wearing the white polo shirts and khaki pants that have become their uniform.

Members must be presentable, the groups website has said, and white Europeans. They cannot be felons or identify as gay or transgender, which the group describes as sexual degeneracy.

The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as having some paramilitary qualities, with small, active chapters in 13 states. Earlier this year, Hopper claimed the organization boasts about 200 members in 20 different states.

Hopper, who changed his last name from Irizarry in 2006 but uses that name in connection with Vanguard America, has said the group grew out of California about two years ago. Military records show he was last stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Vanguard Americas members were among the organizers of the rally by white supremacists in Virginia last weekend, billed as a protest against plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville.

In a march the night before the event, a crowd carrying lit tiki torches chanted the groups slogan blood and soil.

And on Saturday, the so-called Unite the Right rally erupted into violence between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators, reaching a horrifying low when a man plowed his car into a crowd.

The crash killed a local woman and injured several other people.

Police identified the driver as James Alex Fields, 20, and photos from earlier in the day show him marching with members of Vanguard America. He was dressed in the trademark white polo shirt and khaki pants and carried a shield depicting a symbol associated with the group.

A spokesperson for Vanguard America said Tuesday that Fields did not have any prior links to the group but said that Hopper was not available for an interview.

Unfortunately due to safety concerns our leader and president Dillon Hopper will not be conducting any interviews in relation to his connection to New Mexico the state he currently resides in, the organization said in an email, declining to answer further questions about how Hopper became involved with Vanguard America.

Hopper told the news website Splinter that he had not attended the event in Charlottesville.

Unclear is whether Hopper indeed lives in New Mexico.

While Roswell is known as a conservative bastion, the Anti-Defamation League has not received any reports of activity by the group inside the state. And New Mexico, a state where about half the population is Hispanic, is not known as a center for white supremacist groups.

Filings in a probate case in Roswell earlier this year listed Hopper with an address in Indiana. Court records indicate his mother died earlier this year but he has a brother living in the state.

Unclear, too, is whether Vanguard America will weather the fallout from a killing that riled the country.

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Photo from rally turns focus toward NM native – Santa Fe New Mexican

KKK groups are growing in Florida, even as they rise and fall across the US – Miami Herald

Posted By on August 16, 2017


Miami Herald
KKK groups are growing in Florida, even as they rise and fall across the US
Miami Herald
Klan groups tend to be short-lived, according to the Anti-Defamation League, because many KKK groups are led by self-appointed Imperial Wizards and then fail to garner support from individual members, according to the Anti-Defamation League. There is …

and more »

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KKK groups are growing in Florida, even as they rise and fall across the US – Miami Herald

Commandant says ‘no place for hatred’ in Marines after former recruiter tied to supremacist group – CNN

Posted By on August 16, 2017

The Military Times and the Guardian reported that former Marine recruiter Dillon Ulysses Hopper is the leader of Vanguard America — a group which helped organize the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent over the weekend. The Anti-Defamation League identified Hopper as the leader of Vanguard America, which ADL labels a “white supremacist” group, and said Hopper began leading the organization in “early 2016.”

According to Hopper’s service records, he was a member of the Marine Corps from July 10, 2006 until January 30, 2017. If ADL is correct, that would mean he began leading the white nationalist group while still technically in the Marines.

Following those reports, Neller told CNN: “Our core values of honor, courage and commitment frame the way Marines live and act. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to these core values.” The US Marine Corps could not confirm if the service branch had knowledge of Hopper’s involvement with the hate group.

CNN was not able to determine whether Hopper participated in the Charlottesville protest, and attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful.

With his statement, Neller becomes the second member of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak out about events in Charlottesville. Last week, Adm. John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, called the events in Charlottesville “shameful” and “unacceptable.”

“The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred” Richardson said in a statement posted on Twitter and Facebook. “We want our Navy to be the safest possible place — a team as strong and tough as we can be, saving violence only for our enemies.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis also told reporters he was saddened by what he saw in Charlottesville.

Hopper was an “average recruiter” who “was kind, attentive, humorous and had friends in the command of all races and sexes,” his immediate supervisor, Staff Sgt. Kristen Chambasian, said in a statement provided by the Marine Corps. She added that “Hopper recruited students from high schools in his area of all nationalities and backgrounds,” saying those recruits “were screened, interviewed and found basically qualified mentally, morally and physically.”

Marine Corps recruiting procedures require perspective recruits to go through multiple levels of scrutiny from multiple people. Of those Marines recruited by Hopper, Chambasian said she did “not personally know of any of them having had any issues with racism” due to their interactions with him.

She added: “I cannot speak to when or what changed in Staff Sgt. Hopper that resulted in his recent and current life choices.”

A Marine Corps official told CNN the service is attempting to determine if Hopper may have recruited like-minded individuals into the Corps, but has found no evidence of that so far.

Participation in supremacist or extremist organizations is a violation of Defense Department orders and leads to mandatory dismissal from military service following the first substantiated incident.

Hopper served in at least two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and went on to serve as a Marine recruiter from 2011-2014 before leaving the Marines on January 30, with the rank of staff sergeant. During his service in the Marine Corps, Hopper was a recipient of the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal three times.

A Marine Corps official said Hopper’s status is that of a retired Marine, though he did not serve a full 20 years.

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Commandant says ‘no place for hatred’ in Marines after former recruiter tied to supremacist group – CNN

What Trump Means When He Says ‘Both Sides’ – Pacific Standard

Posted By on August 16, 2017


Pacific Standard
What Trump Means When He Says 'Both Sides'
Pacific Standard
And, generally speaking, right-wing extremists have been responsible for many more deaths than left-wing extremists since at least the 1970s, according to the Anti-Defamation League; over the last two-plus decades, white supremacists were behind 43 …

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What Trump Means When He Says ‘Both Sides’ – Pacific Standard

Zionist Group Shunned At Chicago SlutWalk But Organizers Cry Sabotage – Forward

Posted By on August 15, 2017

There are some things you might expect from a SlutWalk an annual march designed to bring attention to sexual assault and rape culture. You would expect participants to show up in fishnets and tutus and pasties, carrying protest signs and chanting things like My dress is not a yes! You would expect that the marchers would attract attention from passersby, especially tourists, and that there might be some conflicts with local law enforcement, particularly if the chants included insults to the police and if the march obstructed traffic. You might even expect arrests. All of these things did, in fact, happen at Saturdays Chicago SlutWalk.

You would probably not expect loud chants of Free, free Palestine! But that happened, too.

The SlutWalk is the latest chapter in a summer of increasing tensions between the citys Jewish community and some LGBTQ groups. In June, at the Dyke March a more radical alternative to the citys main Pride parade three women had been asked to leave because their rainbow flags emblazoned with Stars of David were supposedly making other marchers uncomfortable. It reminded some Palestinian marchers, the organizers said, of the Israeli flag.

After the story went viral, the Dyke March organizers faced accusations of anti-Semitism, and Chicago Jews began wondering if there was a place for them within the LGBTQ community. In the middle of this, the organizers of SlutWalk declared that, in solidarity with Dyke March, they, too, would be banning Jewish stars from their own march. They later rescinded the ban and said it only applied to nationalistic symbols such as flags; religious symbols would be permitted.

Amanda Berman, a lawyer in New York, had been following the story from afar. She had been participating in progressive politics, including events like SlutWalk, since she was a teenager. She is also the director of legal affairs for the Lawfare Project, a nonprofit that describes itself as the legal arm of the pro-Israel community. It upset her that recent public conversations had started to conflate Jews and Israel. Im not Israeli, she said. Im not the Israeli government. She also supported the message of SlutWalk, that women should be able to express their sexuality without fear of harassment or assault. Last week, she formed her own self-described progressive Zionist womens organization, Zioness, and announced her intention to come to Chicago to march in SlutWalk.

The name Zioness was deliberately chosen to provoke. Zionism has become a provocative word, said Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein, who also came to Chicago to march in SlutWalk. But Zionism is the civil rights movement of the Jewish people. Its a sad state of affairs that its considered provocative that Jews should be proud of their civil rights.

Goldstein believed that by marching in SlutWalk, the members of Zioness would be setting a positive example to young Jewish women who felt rejected by progressive politics. They would also be making sure that the Dyke March would not have set a precedent of ejecting Jews.

Other people involved in SlutWalk didnt interpret Zionism in the same way Berman and Goldstein did. Two days before the march, SlutWalk organizers announced that Zioness would not be welcome.

SlutWalk Chicago does not support the Zioness progressives planning on coming to the walk Saturday, they wrote. We at SlutWalk Chicago stand with Jewish people, just as we stand for Palestinian human rights. Those two ideologies can exist in the same realm, and taking a stance against anti-Semitism is not an affirmation of support for the state of Israel and its occupation of Palestine. We oppose all oppressive governments whether they be the United States or Israel, as we recognize these regimes often disproportionately oppress women and femmes. We find it disgusting that any group would appropriate a day dedicated to survivors fighting rape culture in order to promote their own nationalist agenda.

The post prompted a lengthy and angry debate about the nature of Zionism, whether SlutWalk and the entire left were anti-Semitic and deliberately rejecting Jews, and whether SlutWalk was abandoning its mission of opposing rape culture in favor of opposing Israel. Some insisted the two causes were deeply intertwined.

Freedom of women is a core value of Judaism, said Scout Bratt, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-Palestinian group. Im speaking as an American Jew who stands with Palestine and BDS. There are so many ways in which Israel perpetuates oppression in my namemy Jewish identity and my tax dollars as an American. Israel is a highly-militarized society that is integral to gender-based violence.

Members of JVP also argued that Berman and Goldstein were not as progressive as they claimed, since the Lawfare Project has received funding from the MZ Foundation, which also funds right-wing Jewish groups like the Zionist Organization of America.

Nonetheless, Zioness insisted it was their legal right to marchas an American, said Goldstein, it is your right as a civilian to stand in a public place, and no other civilian can make you leaveso on Saturday at noon, they gathered with the rest of the marchers in Lake Shore Park. In contrast to the other marchers, who carried homemade signs, theirs had been professionally printed and featured a Shepard Fairey-style illustration of a woman wearing a very conspicuous Jewish star around her neck. Although the group was only four days old, it had already attracted local supporters.

This is an important time, said one of them, Nate Stender. We cant afford to say, If youre not with us, youre against us. Ive been a feminist my entire life. Ive been a Zionist since my political awakening. Its only since 2017 that Ive been told I cant be both.

As the rally began, with speeches two African-American queer activists in support of incarcerated black women and sex workers, the Zioness marchers stood behind the makeshift stage, holding their signs high so that it would be impossible to miss them. Other marchers attempted to block the signs with red umbrellas, the international symbol of sex worker rights. The Zioness marchers moved and dodged, and the red umbrella-holders moved and dodged, too, so the signs would remain blocked. They crowded nearer and nearer to the speakers and made it difficult for other people in the audience to see or hear what was happening. Several people in the crowd, including a woman who held a sign that read Dont hijack the march, were visibly and audibly annoyed.

Aimee Levitt

The Chicago SlutWalk goes on the march.

The SlutWalk organizers maintained that the Zioness contingent was to blame for the chaos.

They were deliberately being confrontational, said Red Schulte, one of the organizers. They were deliberately trying to sabotage us. They were blocking people and shouting over speakers and shouting down supporters who were around.

The Zioness leaders, naturally, felt otherwise.

They accused us of hijacking the march, said Berman. They came to attack us. When we were walking away, they were chasing us around. Added Goldstein, How can you stand for womens rights and obstruct other women? Nonetheless, instead of putting an end to the distraction, they kept their signs raised throughout the rally.

Despite SlutWalk organizers insistence that Palestinians were only one of the many marginalized groups they supported, the speakers who deliberately addressed the Zionism/Palestinian issue received the most attention and applause. SlutWalk is partnered against all forms of violence, said Andy Thayer, a longtime LGBTQ activist and co-founder of the Chicago Gay Liberation Network. We cannot have a democracy defined by ethnic and religious standards. Its no accident that members of the Christian right support Zionism.

Scout Bratt also spoke on behalf of JVP: As a Jew, I have a responsibility to speak out against the racist and sexist occupation.

The final speaker, a Palestinian woman identified only as Leilah, declared that no one could be both a Zionist and a feminist because feminism supports all oppressed people, while Zionists are oppressors. Zionist terrorism led to the Nakba, she said, referring to the catastrophe of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes. Zionism means violence for Palestinian women!

The crowd, with the conspicuous exception of the Zioness contingent, responded with chants of Free, free Palestine!

Although the organizers warned the crowd several times that the march would not tolerate antagonistic behavior, no one was asked to leave, said Schulte, the SlutWalk spokesperson. Many of the Zioness protesters left as the march began making its way eastward toward Michigan Avenue, and those who remained joined in the chant of Survivors! We all stand together!

After the Zioness contingent left, the march assumed more of the mood and tone typical of a SlutWalk. About 100 people marched down Michigan Avenue chanting slogans decrying the patriarchy, rape culture, and the police, particularly when the officers escorting the marchers refused to let them cross the street because they were obstructing traffic. You should move for us! the marchers yelled. Tourists stopped and took pictures, and a few raised their fists in solidarity. (Thats city living, one woman commented.)

The number of marchers steadily dwindled, particularly after the group passed Trump Tower, about a mile from the starting point. As the march entered the Loop, police officers warned the marchers not to step in the street. When one did, to avoid a pedestrian as the marchers turned off of State Street, the police arrested her and the others who stepped in to help.

It was very apparent that the cops were grabbing people they had identified as organizers, said Schulte. It happened incredibly fast. All the organizers except two were arrested, and one supporter. It was very deliberate.

Four of the five detainees were released that same day. The fifth was held overnight, but released on bail the following afternoon. This was the first time, said Schulte, that there had been arrests during SlutWalk.

The police were aggressive, she said. They hate SlutWalk. Weve always done an amazing job of taking streets. They hate that. They hate that we test boundaries and take up so much space for our demonstration.

Berman and Goldstein left the march long before the arrests and were unaware of what had happened. They were pleased that they had asserted their right to be at the SlutWalk. People from several other cities had already invited them to come spread their message of progressive Zionism and free speech.

There are teenage Jewish girls who wont go out into public demonstrations, said Goldstein. There are students who dont wear stars of David on California campuses. This is America in 2017!

Denise Sprague, a Chicagoan, had heard about Zioness earlier in the week and met up with the group before the rally. She later overheard some of the Palestinian marchers making disparaging remarks about her Zioness sign. She said she wouldnt characterize it as harassment, but it made her sad.

Its a shame, she said. In one way, I was glad to be part of [a larger group]. In another, I wonder if maybe I would have been better off being there as an independent Jewish woman. You want your voice to be heard as a liberal Jewish person. I dont think any organization should be saying, Jews who believe in Israel shouldnt be a part of this. I find it horrible that this is the state of the world.

Aimee Levitt reports regularly on Chicagoland for the Forward. Contact her at feedback@forward.com. Follow her on Twitter, @aimeelevitt.

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Zionist Group Shunned At Chicago SlutWalk But Organizers Cry Sabotage – Forward

Down Comes Another Synagogue, Up Go More Condos – Habitat magazine

Posted By on August 15, 2017

In yet another blow to historic preservationists, a state Supreme Court judge has cleared the way for demolition of a century-old synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to make way for a new high-rise condominium, DNAinfo reports.

The Congregation Shaare Zedek, which has held services in the building since 1923, sent an email to its congregants, saying that after the High Holy Days in September it would “say goodbye to our space,” according to a neighbor of the of the 212 West 93rd Street structure. Shaare Zedek joins a growing list of aging buildings synagogues, parking garages, SROs, mom & pop businesses, gas stations that are being razed to feed the citys ravenous appetite for new hotels and high-end apartments.

The Ornstein Leyton Company, which bought the West 93rd Street property last year for $34.3 million, is planning to demolish the synagogue and replace it with a 14-story condominium. The bottom three floors will remain for Shaare Zedek and its new synagogue, plans show. Scott Leyton, a partner in the development company, called the old synagogue building antiquated, beautiful, but really nonfunctional.

The synagogues president, Michael Firestone, has said in the past that the sale was a necessary financial move as the congregation was struggling with the upkeep of the building and with the cost of maintaining the deteriorating 16-acre Bayside Cemetery in Queens.

When the news broke of the synagogues intention to sell the building last year, residents banded together as the West Nineties Neighborhood Coalition to oppose the demolition of what they considered as a gem of the community. The coalition pleaded their case before Community Board 7, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the areas elected officials, all of which could not help them prevent the demolition. The court decision sealed the building’s fate.

Demolition is expected to start sometime in January. Shaare Zedek will hold a farewell meeting on September 10 to commemorate the space.

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Down Comes Another Synagogue, Up Go More Condos – Habitat magazine

Pennsylvania fifth in nation for hate groups – Allentown Morning Call

Posted By on August 15, 2017

Pennsylvania is home to more than three dozen hate groups ranging from local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan and a violent skinhead group to anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim organizations, according to a national watchdog group that tracks extremist organizations.

In its annual Intelligence Report, released in February, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported the number of hate groups had surged nationally to 917 in 2016, within 100 of the all-time high recorded in 2011.

Forty of the groups were in Pennsylvania, making it the fifth most active state behind California (79), Florida (63), Texas (55) and New York (47), according to SPLC.

Theres no question about it that theres a decent white supremacist presence all throughout the state, said a senior investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia, who asked that his name not be published because of the nature of his work.

But, he cautioned, white supremacist and other hate groups are difficult to quantify because they exist in shadows and are often little more than clusters of like-minded people who ascribe to the ideology of a larger group. Such pockets of hate group activity exist throughout the state, in urban areas including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and rural places like Potter County, in north-central Pennsylvania, where one of the nations largest neo-Nazi groups has a regional headquarters.

Much of the activity is private or anonymous, such as distributing leaflets in neighborhoods or on college campuses, but in the last year Pennsylvania white supremacist groups have staged public events.

In November, about 50 members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement held an anti-diversity rally on the Pennsylvania Capitol steps, drawing about 200 counter-protesters and dozens of police in riot gear, according to published reports. And in May, the East Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan drew attention and protests after their announcement they would burn a cross in rural Lancaster County, although the event happened on private property, according to news reports.

The presence of hate groups in the Lehigh Valley has been visible this year with the arrest of several men following an April raid by federal agents on the home of a known skinhead leader in Phillipsburg, N.J. Federal authorities charged Joshua Steever, 37; Henry Lambert Baird, 49, of Allentown; and Jacob Mark Robards, 40, of Bethlehem and three other men from Maryland and Virginia with drug and weapons trafficking conspiracy.

They were members, prosecutors allege, of Aryan Strikeforce, a skinhead white supremacist organization active throughout Pennsylvania. Steever, Baird and Robards have been convicted of violent felonies, according to court records. Prosecutors allege they transported and sold what they believed was methamphetamine and parts of automatic weapons to earn money for the group.

That was a substantial blow to that organization, but it hasnt made Aryan Strikeforce dissolve altogether, the Anti-Defamation League researcher said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the following hate groups active in Pennsylvania:

peter.hall@mcall.com

Twitter @phall215

610-820-6581

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Pennsylvania fifth in nation for hate groups – Allentown Morning Call

It may not be ripe for a large white supremacist rally, but there’s hate in CT – The CT Mirror

Posted By on August 15, 2017

MARKESHIA RICKS / New Haven Independent

Nearly 300 people gathered Sunday at Chapel and Church streets in New Haven, one of several rallies around the state to protest white supremacist violence and hate.

Washington Connecticut may not be fertile ground for a white supremacist rally like the one that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., but the state is not immune to hate.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., says there are several active hate groups in the state.

Perhaps the leading white supremacist figure fromthe stateis KennethZrallack, described by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the founders of the White Lives Matter movement, a small network of hardcore white supremacists with connections to a variety of hate groups.

Zrallack and his brother Matthew organized the Connecticut White Wolves shortly after their graduation from high school in Stratford. In 2004, ADL called the group a collection of racist skinheads that has grown into the largest and most active extremist group in the state, promoting an ideology espousing hatred of Jews and racial and ethnic minorities.

Members, though typically young, have been involved in a number of criminal acts in Connecticut and have forged ties with nationally recognized hate groups, including the National Alliance, the Creativity Movement, White Revolution and the Ku Klux Klan, the ADL said.

The White Wolves seemed to disband after Ken Zrallack was arrested in 2010 and charged withconspiring to sell guns and hand grenades to an FBI informant brokering a deal for a Ku Klux Klan offshoot. A jury acquitted him of those charges.

Zrallack then became one of the very first activists in the White Lives Matter movement in the spring of 2015, the ADL said. That movement was a reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement that grew out of frustration at a spate of police killings of black youth.

A chapter of the ACT for America in Cheshire is also considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The center said that in the nine years since it was founded by Brigitte Gabriel, ACT, which stands for American Congress for Truth, has grown into far and away the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.

The group says it is planning a number of America First rallies across the nation on Sept. 9.

The nationalgroup has condemned the violence in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer.

MARKESHIA RICKS / New Haven Independent

Jesus Morales-Sanchez, an organizer with Unidad Latina en Accion, speaks to the crowd Sunday in New Haven.

ACT for America stands squarely with the rights of all Americans to peacefully rally on behalf of their own beliefs, or in opposition to those of others, Gabriel said. Heather Heyer was murdered for her beliefs, and we join in sorrow with her family and friends. Her killer will be brought to justice, and while that cannot undo what has been done, it sends a powerful signal to the forces of hate and intolerance that they will be dealt with swiftly and according to the American rule of law.

The third Connecticut hate group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center is a black separatist organization known as the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The SPLC calls the organization a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.

Connecticut is more likely to hold rallies in support of those who are the targets of hate groups, like it did in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, said Steve Ginsburg, ADL Connecticut regional director.

He said white supremacists are not a real force in Connecticut, but there are people in every state with extremist ideologies who connect with others over the Internet.

I dont think we are ripe to be the next Charlottesville, but I could be wrong, Ginsburg said.

The state legislature voted unanimously this year to toughen Connecticuts hate crime laws. But still, there is evidence of hate in the state.

In February, hundreds of printed fliers from a white supremacist group were found on driveways and in mailboxes along the Newtown Turnpike in Weston, Wilton, Westport and Norwalk. The fliers read, We must secure the existence of our race and a future for white children. Make America White Again.

There are also dozens of hate crimes reported each year to the state police, a requirement of Connecticuts hate crime laws.

Reports from 2003 to 2012 show a slight increase in hate crimes, with 166 reported in 2012.

But the FBI says that two-thirds or more of these types of crimes go unreported.

Tom Condon / CTMirror.org

An anti-hate rally in West Hartford Sunday

Bridgeport author Andy Piascik, who has written about the Ku Klux Klans history in Connecticut, said its difficult for the United States to shake off the white supremacist movement.

The ideology of white supremacy is a central aspect of U.S. history, he said. The society was founded on the slavery of African Americans and we live with that legacy today.

The Ku Klux Klan appeared first in Connecticut in the 1920s, he said, when there was concern about continued immigration of Italians, Poles and Jews from Europe, increasing labor unrest and large socialist and anarchist organizations who tried to appeal to everyone.

The latest Klan rallies in the state occurred in the early 1980s, but counter-protesters vastly outnumbered the marchers.

Today, counter-protesters in Connecticut would significantly outnumber the white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, Piascik said.

The sort of KKK-type groups are likely to be small in Connecticut, Piascik said. But look at how quickly they came out of the woodwork (in Charlottesville.) They want to announce to the world we are here.

Steve Thornton, a retired labor organizer in West Hartford who has written about fascism in America, predicted the violence in Charlottesville is going to spur more, not fewer, hate crimes.

Originally posted here:
It may not be ripe for a large white supremacist rally, but there’s hate in CT – The CT Mirror

ADL Unconvinced by Trump’s Condemnation of KKK and White Supremacists – Algemeiner

Posted By on August 15, 2017

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US President Donald Trump denounces white supremacist groups on Monday Aug. 14. Photo: Screenshot

President Donald Trump finally issued a strident condemnation of white supremacist groups on Monday afternoon, denouncing by name the Ku Klux Klan and other neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations whose violent actions at Saturdays far right rally in Charlottesville, Va., included a car ramming attack that resulted in the death of one anti-racist protester.

Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans, Trump said.

Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America, the president declared.

But one leading US Jewish organization said that Trumps statement which came after two days of intense pressure from Republicans and Democrats for the president to call out those responsible for the violence by name wasnt enough.

August 14, 2017 12:04 pm

Lets be clear: I think we should expect a leader in the highest office in the land to step above the lowest possible bar, said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on a Monday afternoon media conference call. We need to move from words to real action.

Greenblatt urged the White House to adopt a plan of action to confront white supremacist ideology, through such measures as training every single law enforcement officer to deal appropriately with hate crime, as well asincreasing funds foranti-bias programs at the Department of Education.

But the ADL leader courted controversywhen he asserted that Trump needed to ensure that there were no links between the current White House staff and white supremacist organizations.

Individuals who are associated with, for example, the alt-right found their way into positions of authority in the West Wing, Greenblatt said.

Referring to Saturdayscar ramming attack, Greenblatt continued, If this indeed was an act of terror, the president should make sure that no-one on his staff has ties to terrorists.

Asked whether he had any particular White House officials in mind, Greenblatt replied, I think the appropriate thing is to use the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics to do an investigation and make that determination for themselves. Pressed on whether this might include senior White House officials Steven Bannon and Sebastian Gorka both of whom have strongly denied frequent accusations of being connected with white supremacist groups Greenblatt answered,its certainly possible.

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ADL Unconvinced by Trump’s Condemnation of KKK and White Supremacists – Algemeiner


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