Table of Contents
The Scope of the Problem
In January 1994 the Anti-Defamation League, an organization devoted to defending the interests of Jews, reported that anti-Semitic acts against people and property rose 8 percent in the United States during 1993. The ADL also reported 1,867 incidents involving threats, harassment, assaults, vandalism, graffiti and other behaviors (one incident per 139,000 Americans). These included one arson, one attempted arson, one bombing and one attempted bombing. The ADL annual audit claimed 788 acts of vandalism (one per 330,000 Americans or stight1y over 2 per day in a country of 260,000,000) down 8 percent from the previous year. 0f those, 325 involved graffiti on bridges, buildings and signs, i.e., expressions of values, opinions and beliefs on private property. Nationwide, according to the ADL, in 1993 there were only sixty arrests for any of this activity, revealing that the vast majority of the incidents were unsolved and no identified culprit was apprehended. Vandalism is almost always a criminal offense and could be prosecuted if there were anyone to prosecute. The ADL, of course, lobbies hard for prosecution when the perpetrators are identified. On the other hand, the ADL’s 1992 annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents reported an 8 percent decline from 1991. Thus, the 1993 increase only served to bring the number of incidents back to its 1991 level. A total of 1,730 incidents were reported in 1992, including 28 serious cases such as arson, attempted arson, cemetery desecration and synagogue bombings. Forty+four percent of the incidents took place in public areas, such as public schools or office buildings. B’nai B’rith, Canada’s League for Human Rights, the Canadian equivalent of the ADL, also reported a decline in anti-Semitic incidents in its 1992 audit. A total of 196 incidents occurred nationwide in 1992 (one per 196,000 Canadians), down 22 percent from 1991. Half of the incidents occurred in Toronto, which has the largest Jewish population in Canada. The ADL audit, as always, included many incidents that are not crimes, only personal insults, such as one person telling another off and making reference to their ethnic identity in the process. ADL National Chairman, Melvin Salberg, said that he found this "very disturbing and of great concern. This ’in your face’ anti-Semitism may signal a new tendency to engage in direct confrontations with Jews and further erodes the taboo against open bigotry." The audit also includes incidents where mailings are identified on the basis of their alleged anti-Semitic content, public expressions of identification with Arab radicals in Israel’s occupied territories, distribution of holocaust revisionist material on the campus, and other activities protected under the First Amendment. The ADL reported 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 1991.5 This was up from 1,685 incidents recorded by the ADL in 1990, and 1,432 in 1989. Bona fide anti-Semitic physical violence against Jews is extraordinarily rare in the United States. The ADL reported only 30 such cases in 1990 and 60 in 1991. No disrespect is intended, and I’m sure such incidents were distressing to those who experienced them, but these figures do not support the claim of a serious and significant trend toward anti-Semitism in a nation of more than a quarter billion people. The vast majority of these incidents are on the order of simple graffiti, minor vandalism, verbal altercations or telephone harassment. Most remain unsolved in that no perpetrator was ever identified, let alone prosecuted. Where the perpetrator is identified, most of these offenses are committed by juveniles under 18. Many of the unsolved cases may be hoaxes. 1 A single hoaxer with a can of spray paint or a pocket full of quarters can significantly inflate statistics. The ADL compiled these statistics through a nationwide network of regional offices, local "monitors," clipping services, and reports from police agencies. In addition, the ADL actually solicited reports of anti-Semitic incidents by circulating questionnaires to its own mailing list - hardly a disinterested group. This practice raises serious doubts about statistics c0mpited by an interested organization eager to promote its own agenda. g According to Leonard Larson, syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, the ADL’s statistics may be questioned on other grounds as well. Larson notes that among the anti-Semitic incidents listed in an annual audit is a case where individuals in Boston displayed "pro-Palestinian/ antiIsrael graffiti" in the subwaysLarson adds that the ADL considered these and other incidents anti-Semitic because they recount brutal acts of repression against Palestinians by the Israeli government. "An obvious intent here is to use intimidation to silence criticism of Israel’s political and military conduct," Larson says. Anti-Semitism: On The Rise? Of course, there is disagreement whether anti-Semitism is on the rise i or in decline. In November, 1991, the ADL held a two-day conference in Montreal which produced a consensus that "Anti-Semitism, both in North America and abroad is on the rise, and Jews have to stop keeping quiet about it." According to ADL executive director Abraham Foxman "..we have reason to be concerned and frightened by what seems to be a rising tide of anti-Semitism here and around the world....The virus has become more active. The restraints and taboos have disappeared." In January 1992, however, another Jewish organization released its report, based on detailed survey data, that racial and religious tolerance is increasing and anti-Semitism is declining The American Jewish Committee report cited data, for example, which showed that in 1968, 59 percent of Gallup poll respondents expressed approval of marriage between Jews and non-Jews, whine in 1983, 77 percent approved. According to media reports, "The study found that anti-Jewish attitudes are at historic lows...Jews were even perceived in the 1990 general Social Survey as leading whites in general, Southern whites, Asians Americans, Hispanic-Americans and blacks in terms of who was regarded as harder working, richer, less prone to violence, more self-supporting and more intelligent." The American Jewish Committee said that "the report should come at a relief to American Jews who fear a possible increase in anti-Semitism." This was not the first time in recent years serious differences over the prevalence of anti-Semitism have emerged among Jewish organizations. In 1983 the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Weisenthal Center were at loggerheads over the issue. The ADL reported a 15 percent decline in anti-Semitic incidents in 1982 from the previous year, and out of 829 incidents, only 197 involved vandalism at Jewish synagogues, temples and community centers. The Wiesenthal Center, on the other hand, claimed a total of over a thousand vandalism cases, asserting, for instance, that in the last three years 57 percent of the synagogues in New York had been vandalized. These are not trivial differences. In 1988, J. J. Goldberg, writing in Jewish Week, observed "a majority of the Jewish community’s professional experts insist there is no detectable jump either in the rate of anti-Semitic acts or in the level of anti4Jewish feeling among the American population at large." Goldberg’s article quotes sociologist Steven M. Cohen, who believes that an increase in reporting anti-Semitic incidents fuels the claim that they are increasing. Cohen says, "Jews are more sensitive to anti-Semitism than they’ve been in the past. So one of the reasons we may be seeing a rise in reports of anti-Semitism is that local people see incidents as anti-Semitic more readily. And secondly, the national media give it more prominence than in the past... You have to conclude that to some degree, Jews construct antiSemitism." Five years later, writing in The New Republic, Goldberg said that the very definition of "anti-Semitism" had been changed by some Jewish groups in order to support their agenda. "Before World War II, anti-Semitism was defined as wanting to harm Jews.i In the post-war era, it was broadened to include prejudice that might lead one to wish Jews harm. More recently, it’s come to mean any stereotype - or disagreement - with the Jewish community. The very term has become a weapon." Goldberg commented on the hyping of anti-Semitism by Jewish organizations, noting that people give money when motivated by fear, "In private, some Jewish agency staffers insist the alarmist tone set by a few national Jewish agencies, mainly for fundraising purposes, is a key cause of Jewish anxiety. Fingers point most often at the ADL and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, both of which specialize in mass mailings warning of impending doom and urging donations." A critique of alarmist tactics was circulated by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1993. Debra Nussbaum Cohen, a prominent Jewish journalist, noted "The reality, experts say, is that Jews no longer face serious discrimination in American society -- not in the community, the workplace, politics or academia. But American Jews are convinced more than ever that antiSemitism remains a serious threat, although few have encountered any real bias themselves. This dilemma, Ms. Cohen, avers, is occasioned by the very organizations that promote awareness of anti-Semitism and solicit funds to combat it. With apparent reference to the ADL audits, she says, The very lumping together of graffiti and epithets with occasional acts of violence in order to emphasize an upward trend in anti-Semitism may obscure the issue and raise undue alarm." Ms. Cohen quotes a source which she identifies as a "senior staffer" at a mainstream Jewish organization, "By focusing on small and dramatic expressions of antiSemitism which don’t mean much, they’re sending an alarmist message which is, at bottom, irresponsible. The ADL’s obsession with minuscule American hate groups has been noticed abroad as well. In October 1991 the Jerusalem Post editorialized "Disappointingly, the Anti-Defamation League, which used to take firm positions on Israel and devote much effort to its causes, now wastes energy on such marginal phenomena as neo-Nazi skinheads, devotes inordinate time to aggrandizing its executive director, and goes out of the way to ingratiate itself with the U. S. administration and the media." In a perceptive analysis of the hate crime controversy appearing in Reason magazine, associate editor Jacob Sullum observed that serious problems exist in ADL statistics. "...a single random event can skew the numbers, falsely suggesting an alarming nationwide rise. For example, the ADL counted twice as many anti-Semitic assaults in 1991 as it did in 1990.- But all but a handful of the additional atA tacks were associated with unrest in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, following a car accident in which a Hasidic Jew killed a black boy. If that incident hadn’t happened the number of assaults would have been roughly the same." Sullum also observes that the statistics constructed by the ADL fail to provide necessary perspective. "In 1990, the same year the ADL counted 30 anti-Semitic assaults, the Federal Bureau of Investigation counted nearly I million arrests for assault nationwide. Jews represent about 2.4 percent of the population, and let’s assume that they suffer a proportionate number of assaults. That means that for every assault motivated by anti-Semitism, Jews experience roughly QQQ assaults for other reasons (assuming that every assault led to an arrest)." 3 Faced with growing criticism of its statistics from within the Jewish community and without, the ADL commissioned another study to support its agenda. Amazingly, the May 1992 ADL study reported that "One in five adult Americans holds strong prejudicial attitudes against Jews, and anti-Semitism is most prevalent among blacks and the elderly, according to a survey released Monday. Overall, 20 percent of Americans in the survey fell into the ’most anti-Semitic’ category. Thirty-seven percent of blacks were in the category, compared with 17 percent of whites." 4 The study used a series of eleven questions to gauge anti-Semitism. Included among these were Jews stick together more than other Americans (51% agreed). Jews always like to be at the head of things (39% agreed). The other questions related to Jewish loyalty to Israel, Jewish business practices, and Jewish power in America, etc. .In order to be entirely free of anti-Semitism, a respondent could not agree with more than one of the eleven questions. Agreeing with more than six put one in the "hard core of haters" who are "unquestionably" anti-Semitic. Debra Nussbaum Cohen observed in Jewish Week that the survey question about Jews sticking together more than other Americans was "a quality that could regarded as ambiguous, if not positive, by non-Jews and Jews alike." Other questions, such as the one implying Jewish leadership ability, are equally troublesome. .This could easily be taken as a compliment. By injecting these two ambiguous questions in the survey the ADL survey seriously fudged the results. A more interesting result might have been obtained if the same questions were posed to an equal number of Jews. Another critical account of the ADL survey was penned by Richard Cohen in the Washington Post Magazine. He observed "You may even want to publicly agree with one of the statements with which the surveyors caught anti-Semites in the process of thinking anti-Semitically: ’Jews pretty much run the movie and television industries.’ I would have said yes to that myself." Cohen adds that he could cite several books to back up this position, and that Hollywood has been dominated by Jews so completely and their influence in the entertainment business is so vast that to name them would take up the remainder of his column. In short, to agree to this statement is simply not evidence of anti-Semitism. However Cohen admonishes that "...non-Jews know better than to comment about what is before their very eyes. Should they answer forthrightly, they might well be denounced for anti-Semitism." A very good point. In fact, in the ADL survey, they were. What many critics have pointed out as a perverse and manipulative double standard in perceptions of anti-Semitism is clearly evident. Hate Crime In Perspective The ADL statistics have their problems, and similar compilations of "hate-motivated" incidents compiled by other interested parties, such as the NAACP and Klanwatch are also flawed. Perhaps the most glaring flaw in these statistics is the practice of counting unsolved incidents. Doubtless, numerous hoaxes are included among them. Other crime statistics help to put these figures in perspective. For example, 570 individuals -- mostly young minority males -- died in violent, often interracial, gang warfare in Los Angeles in the twelve months of 1989. In addition there were 3,819 gang-related reported assaults with deadly weapons, 93 rapes and 1,851 robberies. The perpetrators of this year of carnage, which certainly surpasses the death toll from racist and anti-Semitic "hate crimes" in 20th century America, have also been mostly young minority males, primarily skinheads. The issue of black gang violence was graphically illustrated by a thirty second TV commercial commissioned by the Evanston, Illinois, Human Relations Commission in 1992. The commercial began with a shot of a Ku Klux Klansman on the left and a black gang member on the right, arms crossed and looking defiant. The announcer states, "if they were giving medals for killing black people, the neo-Nazi would win a bronze medal, the KKK member a silver and the street gang member the gold." At this point the following data appears on the screen under the Klansman and the gang member, KKK Murdered at Least 20 Blacks, I960-I991 Black Gangs Murdered at least 1,300 blacks, 1991 alone If you’re in a gang, you’re not a brother, you’re a traitor The black community went ballistic. A public screening was disrupted by protestors, who called it racist. Operation Executive Director Janette Wilson said that the ad "misstates the problem." The Anti-Defamation League The Anti-Defamation League projects a public image of a human rights organization, with a particular interest in the welfare of Jews and opposition to whatever it considers as anti-Semitism. Established in Chicago in 1913 as a subdivision of B’nai B’rith, a Jewish fraternal order, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, the tax-exempt organization maintains 31 offices nationwide and has a budget of $34 million, and over four hundred employees including an extensive legal staff. Over the decades the ADL established a reputation within and without the Jewish community as a major supporter of civil rights for Jews and other minorities, a staunch opponent of bigotry in all forms, a fearless watchdog over racist and anti-Semitic groups and a major educational resource on human rights issues. Little known was its far less scrupulous espionage, disinformation and destabilization operations, not only against neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen, but against leftist and progressive groups as well. The ADL’s charade came to a halt in January, 1993. A rapidly developing investigation by the San Francisco Police Department into the activities of police intelligence officer Tom Gerard produced evidence of extensive network of illegal ADL penetration into confidential police files in San Francisco and elsewhere. The investigation quickly focused on Roy Bullock, a paid ADL operative and well-known figure in the gay community who had possession of an extensive ADL "enemies list" of some ten thousand individuals and 1,000 organizations. Bullock, who had worked for the ADL for fully 35 years and who was regarded as their "top spy," had an illegal intelligence sharing" relationship with Gerard, who regularly stole information from police files for transmittal to the ADL and in some cases to Israeli agencies through Bullock. 0ther information developed that there were Bullock and Gerard "clones" positioned in or close to police departments throughout the country. What was striking about the "enemies list," was that most of the individuals and organizations listed were of the leftist, progressive persuasion. Given the scarcity of bona fide racist and neo-Nazi organizations, it is not surprising that few of them would be listed. Also not surprising is that many Arab human rights organizations listed were. What was shocking was the range of left groups, which included many organizations included among the ADL’s allies. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Black United Fund, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Asian Law Caucus, and the San Francisco Anti-Apartheid Committee were on the list. Predictably, this produced a howl of protest from a sector of the American political spectrum that might have been expected to condone the ADL’s harassment of the far right. Why leftist groups, particularly human rights groups? For the simple reason that the ADL fears nothing more than that the American civil rights establishment will adopt the Palestinian cause, which in certain respects resembles the plight of American blacks. Some of the tension existing between Black organizations and the Jewish community centers around this controversy, although ADL disinformation efforts manage to either kept it swept under the rug or framed in terms of "black anti-Semitism.". Some of the best coverage of the ADL scandal appeared in the san Francisco Examiner, where reporters Dennis Opatrny and Scott Winocur covered the story almost daily from it’s inception. Detailed overviews appeared in April and May 1993, respectively by George Cothran and Peter Hegarty in the ASF Weekly, a San Francisco tabloid, and by Robert J. Friedman in the Newt York weekly, The Village voice. Cothran and Hegarty had this to say "Examples abound of the ADL’s brazen invasion into the lives of people who happen to disagree with its political, views. In 1983, the group disseminated a "blacklist" to A Jewish campus leaders around the country that smeared scores of respected academics and Middle East peace activists as ’pro-Arab sympathizers and propagandists who use their antiI I Zionism4as merely a guise for their deeply felt anti-Semitism." The ADL responded to the adverse publicity with an intense media disinformation campaign, claiming that it did nothing wrong in "sharing information on violence-prone groups with law enforcement officials," and that it "will not countenance violations of the law on the part of anyone connected with the agency." This was met with healthy skepticism by virtually all concerned. Robert J. Friedman had this to say in the Village Voice, "That’s what the ADL says for public consumption. But morale is so low that its employees complain of sleepless nights and crying fits. And even as other Jewish groups circle the wagons around the ADL in a show of solidarity, many do so holding their noses. More than a few Jewish officials privately say that the ADL has to decide whether it is a human rights group or a secret police agency." When ADL National Director Abraham Foxman went on a damage control mission to West Coast news media offices and Jewish organizations he attacked critics of the ADL in characteristic fashion, calling them "anti-Semitic, undemocratic, and anti-American bastards." The ADL also enjoyed the same relationship it had with American police intelligence officials with Israel’s spy agencies, the super-secret Mossad and the Shin Bet. The ADL may also have played a role in the Jonathan Pollard case as well. Pollard, an American Jew, was charged in 1987 with stealing thousands of pages of U.S. military secrets and transmitting them to Israel. According to Friedman "Pollard’s handler was Avi Stella, an Israeli air force colonel whose wife worked for the New York ADL as a lawyer. Pollard later wrote to friends that a prominent ADg8leader was deeply involved in the Israeli spy operation." Part of the ADL’s legal strategy in the various lawsuits filed against it over the years is to claim "journalistic privilege." The ADL claims to be a "news and information gathering" organization," and as such it is entitled to protection under the shield laws used to protect the working press from having to reveal their news sources. In no sense of the word is the ADL on a par with the New York Times or Time Magazine, nor is it even vaguely related to the working press. Its publications are designed to support the ideological prerogatives of the organization and its constituency, and not to provide "news." In addition, its publishing activities are only a small part of it’s overall program, most of which is public relations and fundraising, along with developing and maintaining its extensive enemies files. Yet, time after time judges have bought this argument, and the ADL has avoided potentially damaging discovery proceedings that would have provided ample ammunition for both criminal prosecutions and private lawsuits. Such was the case in San Francisco. The evidence that developed against the ADL was overwhelming. Not only did their paid agent take part in stealing police records, a felony, but there were numerous other infractions as well. There was active speculation that felony indictments against prominent ADL officials would be forthcoming. They were not. why not? Consider this: "Some close observers believe that political pressure will make it impossible to prosecute the respected Jewish organization. ’Mark my words, this is going to be obfuscated, obliterated...’ said one veteran inspector. ’It’s going to be a classic study in how things get covered up. You don’t do Jewish people in San Francisco. It’s not PC. Especially when you have two U. S. Senators who are Jewish (Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein) and the city’s Chief of Protocol is Dick Goldman (a prominent fundraiser in the Jewish community.)" The inspector was prophetic. The ADL and its spy, Roy Bullock, were dropped from the criminal investigation in April, leaving only Tom Gerard, against whom prosecution would be very difficult. In December, I993, the San Francisco District Attorney reached a settlement with the ADL. The ADL agreed to pay $75,000 to "fight hate groups" and it surrendered documents on some 1,400 groups and individuals it had illegally obtained - a mere slap on the wrist. Although the ADL is apparently off the hook in this case, the damage done to its carefully crafted reputation poses a major challenge to its staff of disinformation specialists and spin doctors. This was the organization’s closest call yet. Quite possibly there will be more to come. The ADL and the FBI The history of the ADL’s relationship with government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has yet to be written. However, in working through a large stack of FBI documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act it becomes clear that the organization has labored hard and long to ingratiate itself to federal law enforcement authorities, ostensibly as "experts" on their own enemies. Until the Reagan administration the FBI kept the ADL at arm’s length, although they readily accepted ADL information in the same manner that they do from a wide range of informants. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau was particularly reluctant to get into any kind of cooperating arrangement with the ADL.. Hoover, for example, repeatedly declined offers to address ADL banquets, realizing that his presence would be a propaganda coup for an organization he didn’t entirely trust. In a 4 January 1966 letter to Dore Schary, ADL national chairman, Hoover declined attendance at an ADL dinner for Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg. A note is appended which reads: "NOTE: Mr. Schary is a Hollywood producer who is well known to the Bureau. He has never been investigated but Bureau files reflect that he has been a member or sponsor of, contributed to or was in other ways affiliated with a number of organizations cited as CP [Communist Party] front groups or which have been designated as subversive pursuant to E0 [Executive Order] 10450. The reason for distrust - aside from the extremist background of certain ADL leaders - was the sheer opportunism evident in ADL tactics to compromise the independence of the bureau, and also in the shoddy quality of some ADL investigative work on its enemies. An internal FBI memorandum dated August 12, 1965 from Assistant Director William Sullivan to R. W. Smith made reference to an ADL pamphlet on the Ku Klux Klan. Sullivan notes "It is stated on page 6 that a Klan plot to assassinate Martin Luther King early in 1965 ’leaked out, and the FBI and other law enforcement authorities threw a heavy guard around him.’ This is not true... "...the pamphlet erroneously lists James Venable’s National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as the second most important group, having the support of 7,000 to 9,000. Originally formed by Venable to bring a number of small Klans into one organization, the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has A not realized its goal." A year later FBI documents refer to another erroneous ADL report, this inflating the strength of the Ku Klux Klan, which the ADL claimed was at about 29,500! .The ADL also claimed in a September 1966 statement in the ï¬ ew York Times that KKK membership had increased by 10,000 since the first of the year. According to an FBI memorandum "while the Klan has made organizational efforts in the North and Middle West, they have met with little success." There has been no indication that Klan membership has grown by 10,000 since the first of the year...The present Kla23 membership is between 14,000 and 15,000 active members. Perhaps most significantly, however, the 1966 FBI memorandum contained the following, which is transparently evident to objective observers, "The Anti-Defamation League has vested interest in discovering and exposing anti-Semitic organizations such as the Klan and other hate groups." Indeed, the ADL seems to need groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the various minuscule neo-Nazi organizations. when the last Klansman and the last neo-Nazi turn out the lights and lock the door, either the ADL cooks up an acceptable substitute or it goes the same way. Small wonder the ADL is accused of exaggeration. Absent a scarey-looking threat the ADL finds its reason for existence dramatically diminished. This peculiar symbiotic relationship between extremist groups and the counter-extremist groups that hate them is well-established. Faced with problems like these, throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970’s the FBI practiced a healthy skepticism about ADL information. It seemed clear that there was nothing the organization would like better than to have the premier federal law enforcement agency become their enforcement arm. It wasn’t until Judge William Webster became FBI director in 1978 that the agency bowed to political pressures from the White House and elsewhere, and significantly stepped up its informal intelligence sharing operation with the ADL. Cooperation between the ADL and the FBI increased enormously under President Reagan in 1981, and became formal with the issuance of a 1985 "memo" requiring all FBI field offices to develop formal liaison with some thirty ADL Field offices around the nation. This memo remained secret until it was uncovered in 1990 in a FOIA request to an FBI field office in Minnesota, where it was released to a journalist by mistake. The memo, directed to the Special Agent in Charge (SAC)of twenty-four FBI field offices, accompanies two ADL publications to review and instructs each SAC to "contact each ADL regional office to establish a liaison and line of communication..." One of the publications in question was the ADL’s controversial I984 "Hate Groups in America." Hate Groups in America In 1980 the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights contracted with the AntiDefamation League to produce a report on extreme right "hate groups" for a $20,000 fee. The ADL hardly needed the fee, but was thrilled at having the implied endorsement of a government agency for one of its reports. This did, not work out so well, however. After the report was published the commission rejected and declined to publish it on several grounds. A letter dated March 8, I982, from Paul Alexander, acting general counsel of the commission, to John Hope, III, acting staff director, gave the following reasons, "I would like to raise several policy considerations. The ADL report does not in any way resemble a standard USCCR report. It is not a dispassionate attempt to present a balanced accounting of facts. The commission previously has had no difficulty in publishing reports containing defamatory information when it was verifiable and necessary to the report. .0ur Voting Rights Report is the most recent example. In that report, however, we did not find it necessary to mix epithets and emotionally-laden labels with the facts. The ADL report is rank with epithets and labels that only serve to distort the factual accountings of the activities of the KKK and similar organizations." "The liberal use of hyperbolic epithets throughout the ADL draft sets a tone that probably precludes correction through simple adjectival laundering. The alleged inaccuracies and misrepresentations noted by the respondents present very serious problems...If (they) are at all representative, the report probably contains many inaccuracies. It is doubtful that the report could survive the normal process of a source-check as their does not appear to be sufficient date to support the allegations." Alexander further noted that the ADL report "bordered on jingoism."r Although the USCCR wisely declined to lend its name to the report, the ADL published it anyway, with epithets, emotionally laden labels, and jingoism" intact. Like all ADL publications on the people and groups that it hates, its tone is one that encourages contempt for the civil liberties of its subjects and treats them in a dehumanizing manner -- behaviors the ADL purports to oppose. The report has now appeared in several editions and is widely circulated to journalists and police departments. Hate Group Membership If determining the extent of anti-Semitism, racism or hate crimes is problematic, consider determining the strength of anti-Semitic and racist groups. Some of the most wild speculation has been made in this area. At a time when the ADL estimated nationwide KKK membership at roughly 12,000, a St. Louis TV station claimed a fantastic 50,000 members in Missouri alone. In this instance the ADL’s estimate is much closer to the truth, although it probably didn’t take into account multiple memberships. Many Klansmen join through the mail and rarely or never attend meetings Some belong to several Klans, and a few carry cards from virtually all of them. Thus, 1,000 "members" may represent only eight or nine hundred actual Klansmen and even fewer are actual participants in Klan activities. Subtract from this police informants, agents for "monitoring" groups, curiosity seekers and literature collectors, and this figure diminishes even further. Also, in most racist groups the membership list and the mailing list are usually two distinct entities. Ku Klux Klan organizations have maintained large complimentary mailing lists in the past, although that practice has faded for reasons of economy. Some groups don’t have "members" as such, only people who receive their mailings, and others make no distinction between members and people who write and ask for information. A few groups even send out blank membership cards with their solicitation letters. According to the ADL, in 1990, the various Ku Klux Klan organizations had a combined membership under 4,000, down from 45,000 in 1964 and 12,500 in 1981. In 1987, during a period g growth, the ADL estimated hard-core neo-Nazis at "no more than 400-500." The much publicized "skinheads", recently estimated at 5,000 nationwide are almost certainly no more than a third of that. Determining who is and who isn’t a neo-Nazi racist skinhead involves a lot of pure guessing. A recent possible hoax in Denver initially focused on the local skinhead population and an estimate of 200 was made, a great surprise to bona fide Denver racist groups. Many bikers adopt the skinhead appearance while having no serious affinity for their views, and there are many "anti-racist" skinhead groups around. The actual number of bona fide racist, neo-Nazi skinheads in Denver is probably under 25. At the time a Kansas City KKK "group" made national news in 1988 with its plans for a public TV show it had only two members. Speculation had ranged as high as a hundred and rumors of alleged KKK vandalism and cross-burnings spread through the community. Groups like the "Posse Comitatus" attained almost mythical proportions in the early 1980s, with estimates as high as 40,000 given by irresponsible writers. This was absolute fantasy, although Jim Wickstrom, Posse "leader," claimed the incredible figure of a million and a half! Having talked with police agencies, journalists, farmers and local officials, and with Posse members themselves, I seriously doubt if more than 1,000 serious Posse activists ever existed at any one time. The Posse was never tightly organized and the national "group" was primarily a literature distribution operation. Local "groups" were autonomous and virtually anyone could claim membership and be believed. In Kansas, for example, State police officials monitoring farm auctions in the early 1980s made the incredible mistake of estimating Posse presence in one case by noting that a "Posse" activist was present and he had thirty or so people gathered around him reading the literature he passed out hence, there was a Posse "presence" in the "neighborhood of thirty" at the auction! A single individual distributing Posse literature in service stations and restaurant restrooms caused near panic in one county. This situation got so far out of hand that in 1985 three Kansans filed a civil rights lawsuit against Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephen for "creating" the Posse Comitatus to further his political career. A suit brought on behalf of Freda Steele, James Steele and Harold Hollander, all 4 rural Kansas residents, charged that unnecessary police powers were utilized during a repossession action against Mr. Steele, which included "air support and a small army of Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, Kansas Highway Patrol troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police personnel, all heavily armed as for combat, who descended on said farm like an invasion force." Among the various problems in determining membership in groups is the fact that claims by the groups themselves can’t be believed. Invariably, A they will exaggerate their own strength. Both Ku Klux Klan and anti-Klan groups routinely distort the KKK’s numbers, influence and threat to the established order. In 1984 a terrifying right-wing Halstead, KS, organization with the creative name of the "Farmer’s Liberation Army" was finally determined to have one member, founder Keith Shive. Anti-racist groups took the organization very seriously and references to it appeared in the national press. Shive was absolutely delighted with the response. Similar cases involving allegedly paramilitary "constitutional patriot" and tax protest groups consisting of one or two members are not uncommon. A creative trickster with access to a photocopy machine can create havoc in a community with the help of a properly "sensitized" local media on the watch for witches to burn. Robert DePugh’s Kansas City area-based paramilitary "Minuteman" organization of the 1960s suffered from similar distortions. Primarily a paper operation with a handful of activists, DePugh topped out at 500 "members," most of whom were essentially inactive literature-collectors and several of whom were government agents. Media estimates ranged in the thousands. By 1968 the FBI had refined its intelligence on the group to the point where they stated that there were "less than fifty persons upon whom Minutemen leaders can call for overt action." My own subsequent investigation suggested a more realistic figure of under a dozen. During the McCarthy era, by the way, the membership of leftist groups, including the Communist Party, was similarly exaggerated. gt 8 The Southern Poverty Law Center In February 1992 ï¬ sA Today reported that Klanwatch, a subdivision of Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center, had identified a total of "346 white supremacy groups operating in the USA, up an alarming 27% from the past year." Included were 97 Ku Klux Klan and 203 alleged Neo-Nazi groups. This figure is outrageously inflated. What Klanwatch apparently did is locate any mailing address they could find, including the large number of "post office box chapters" maintained by several organizations, police, government agencies and private groups monitoring the Klan. They probably listed many groups whose actual affiliation is neither KKK or neo-Nazi, and who would argue with the designation of "white supremacy." This writer publishes an annual directory of these groups (and a companion directory on the left), and can attest to the irresponsible inflation of Klanwatch’s figures. In terms of viable groups with more than a handful of members, not post office box "groups" or two man local chapters, the actual figure is a combined total of about 30 -- a far cry from 346! Unfortunately, this kind of exaggeration is typical. The Southern Poverty Law Center has been faulted on other grounds as well. In February 1994 the Montgomery Advertiser ran a series of articles exposing various aspects of the SPLC, including its questionable fundraising tactics and other dishonest practices. Among the issues raised were, "The SPLC has reserve funds of $52 million...Just what the Law Center does with all that money is a source of concern. Some who have worked with Morris Dees call him a phoney, the ’television evangelist’ of civil rights who misleads donors... For 15 years, people throughout the country have sent millions of dollars to the (SPLC) to fight the Ku Klux Klan and other supremacists. But critics say the Law Center exaggerates the threat of hate groups..." The SPLC responded to the series with a number of veiled threats and charged that it was a "hatchet job". Nevertheless, the series was widely praised and is regarded as a model for courageous, objective reporting. The SPLC Legal Offensive In I987 Dees and the SPLC made national headlines with a civil judgement against United Klans of America and two of its members for the 1981 slaying of a black teenager. Unable to afford competent counsel in the complicated matter, the UKA was forced to turn over all of its assets and went out of business. At issue in that trial was the liability of the UKA for the acts of its members. Had this doctrine that organizations are responsible for the acts of their members been established as a legal precedent in the 1960s, it would have decimated the early civil rights movement and would have bankrupt the NAACP and CORE, both of which this writer belonged to. Even the labor movement and the anti-war movement could have been crippled by lawsuits arising from the violent acts of some of their participants.. Suppose a black activist group was hit with a $7 million judgment because one of its members killed someone in the Watts riots? This sounds far-fetched, but had the Dees precedent existed then it could have happened. Conscientious civil libertarians, while strongly opposing the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups, disdain unfair and underhanded methods used to go after them in the courts. The SPLC proclivity to use civil suits, where constitutional protections are minimal, against poor, working-class and often semi-literate Klansman unable to afford counsel, has been compared to shooting fish in a barrel. The issue, of course, is a classical moral one, i.e., whether the ends justify the means used to accomplish them. Most moral philosophers would say that the means indirectly determine the ends, and that unjust means necessarily lead to unjust ends. Another Dees civil case involved three neo-Nazi "skinheads" who killed a black man during a November 1988 fight in Portland, Oregon. The skinheads pleaded guilty and are serving long prison sentences. This was not the end of the matter, however. Morris Dees and the SPLC, with the cooperation of the ADL, filed civil suit on behalf of victim’s family. None of the skinheads was worth suing, so Morris Dees sought a judgment against Tom and John Metzger and their White Aryan Resistance (WAR) organization, to which the skinheads allegedly belonged. The Metzgers, it was agreed, did not even know the men who committed the crime, nor had they directed their actions. The issue was whether, by virtue of the Metzgers attitudes, opinions and beliefs, they had somehow "motivated" the killers. The Metzgers and WAR had minimal assets, not nearly enough to even cover the cost of the lawsuit. Dees and the ADL were clearly trying to put WAR out of business. The Metzgers were, of course, unable to afford counsel and at-. tempted to defend themselves. After a long trial before a judge with one year of experience on the bench, a tired jury found against the Metzgers in October 1990, and awarded the victims family an enormous settlement. A subsequent appeal was denied, largely because the Metzgers, with no legal training, had failed to bring up specific objections during the trial. At ’one point, when Tom Metzger attempted to pay for a transcript of the trial with donated funds in order to prepare their appeal, Dees garnished the’ payment, thus impeding their efforts. Criticism of Dees does not come from right-wing sources alone. gin a column appearing under the banner of the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Service, Ray Jenkins, a writer for the Baltimore Sun, noted that while the State of Oregon lacked evidence to put Metzger on trial for murder in the case, what Morris Dees did was to "...convert the civil law, whose basic purpose is to settle disputes between individuals, into an arm of the criminal law. In legal abracadabra, the standard of proof in civil, cases -- usually only ’preponderance of evidence’ -- is a good deal easier to meet than the higher standard of ’guilt beyond a reasonable doubt’ required in criminal prosecution. Let’s not forget, there are cases on record where civil law was tortured into criminal law to punish Communists in the 1950’s, then civil rights groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in the 1960’s." An unnamed philosopher once said to beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong. The zealous and vengeful nature of these self-appointed "hate-crime" vigilantes, so quick to abuse long-established legal processes designed to protect the civil rights of all citizens, renders them as dangerous as the hate groups they claim to oppose -- and perhaps even more so in that they maintain an image of legitimacy. Militancy and fanaticism in any pursuit, even one that is objectively laudable on its face, is bound to produce results that are injurious in the long run. "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you." Friedrich Nietzsche, 1878 1 Associated Press, "Harassment of Jews Rose in ’93, AntiDefamation League Reports," New York Times (25 January 1994). 2 Debra Nussbaum Cohen, "ADL Reports Fewer Anti-Semitic Acts In 1992," Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (5 February 1993). 3 "Anti-Semitism Declines," Jewish Week (12 March 1993). Stewart Ain, "Anti-Semitism: Fewer Acts, More Personal," The Jewish Week (5 February 1993). 5 Debra Nussbaum Cohen, "Reports Says Acts of Anti-Semitism Up In 1991." Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (7 February 1992). 8 6 "Acts of Anti+Semitism Hit Record High in ’90," The Jewish Week (8 February 1991). 7 "1,432 Anti-Jewish Incidents Reported Last Year," Associated (Press (18 January 1990). A 8 Toby Axelrod, "A Violent Trend..." The JBWish Week (14 February 1992). 9 Leonard Larson, "ADL Report Diminished Its Reputation," D.C. Observer (12 June 1988). 10 Canadian Jewish News (14 November 1991). 11 New York Times (8 January 1992). 12 Ibid. 13 "Wide Divergence in 2 Reports on Anti-Semitism In The U.S.," Jewish Post Q Opinion (19 January 1983). A A 14 J. J. Goldberg, "Tide Of Anti-Semitic Acts Exposes ’Perception Gap,’" The Jewish Week (18 November 1988). 15 Ibid. 16 J. J. Goldberg, "Scaring The Jews," The New Republic (May, 1993). 17 Ibid. 18 Debra Nussbaum Cohen, "Paradox of Anti-Semitism in America: Perception vs. Reality, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (8 1 January 1993). 19 Ibid. 2O Ibid. 2l "Calling All Jews," Jerusalem Post (21 October 1991). 22 Jacob Sullum, "What’s Hate Got To Do With It?," Reason (December 1992). 23 Ibid. 24 Associated Press, "1 in 5 Americans Anti-Semitic, Survey Finds," Tulsa Herald (17 November 1992). 25Ibid.i 26 Debra Nussbaum Cohen, "1 in 5 Americans ’Hard-Core’ AntiSemites, Survey," Jewish Week (20 November 1992). 27 Richard Cohen, "The Gotcha Game," Washington Post Magazine (20 December 1992). 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 New York Times, 27 January 1990. i 31 "Chicago Is Talking," Newsweek (31 August 1992). 32 Kevin Johnson, "Anti-Gang TV Ad Called Racist," USA Today (28 August 1992). 33 Dennis J. Opatrny and Scott Winokur, "S. F. Spymaster Revealed," San Francisco Examiner (8 April 1993). 34 George Cothran and Peter Hegarty, "Spies For Zion," SF Weekly (28 April 1993). 35 Robert J. Friedman, "The Anti-Defamation League is Spying On You," Village Voice (11 May 1993). 36 Ibid. 37 Garth Wolkoff, "ADL Chief Lashes Out At Critics, Press, D.A.," Jewish Bulletin Qi Northern California (7 May 1993)38Friedman, Op Cit. 39 Cothran and Hegarty, Op Cit. 40 "Overstepping Bounds" (14 December 1993). 4l J. Edgar Hoover, Letter to Dore Schary, National Chairman, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, January 4, 1966. 42. C. Sullivan, "Memorandum," to R. W. Smith, "Review of Pamphlet, Report on the Ku Klux Klan, by Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein," 12 August 1965. 43 William C. Sullivan, "Memorandum" to F. J. Baumgardner, "Investigation of Klan Organizations, Racial MattersKlan," 22 September 1966. 44 Ibid. 45 Federal Bureau of Investigation AIRTEL, "Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith (SDL), Information Concerning Civil Rights Matters," 4 February 1985. 46 Anti-Defamation League, Hate Groups In America: A Record of Bigotry and Violence (New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1983). 47 The KKK Today: A 1991 Special Status Report (New York: AntiDefamation League) 48 Irwin Suall and David Lowe, "Shaved for Battle -- Skinheads Target America’s Youth, Political Communication and Persuasion 5 (1988): 144. 49 Editorial, "Swastikas In Denver: Isolated Incidents or Worse?, Rocky Mountain News (13 June 1990): Police Watch, "Skinheads Cleared," Rocky Mountain News (26 July 1990). 50 Interview with James Allen Moran, Grand Dragon, White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, December, 1988. q 51 "Lawsuit Says Stephan Invented Radical Sect to Further His Career," Associated Press (3 August 1985). E 52 Bruce Maxwell, "Far-Right Group Ready To Fight For Farmers," Rochester Post+Bulletin (13 November 1984). 53 Anti+Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Extremism on the Right; A Handbook (New York: The ADL, 1983). Even this figure may have been too high. A A 54 J. Harry Jones, The Minutemen (New York: Doubleday, 1968). 55 Mark Hayfield, "Hate Groups Increase - As Do Their Crimes," USA Today (20 February 1992). 56 Laird Wilcox, Guide To The American Right (0lathe, KS: A Editorial Research Service, 1993): Laird Wilcox, Guide To The American Left (0lathe, KS: Editorial Research Service, 1993). 57 Greg Jaffe and Dan Morse, "Rising Fortunes: Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center," Montgomery Advertiser (February 1994). 58 Ray Jenkins, "Even A Scoundrel Is Due A Fair Trial," Los Angeles Times/Washington Post Service (November 1990).