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CNS News

November 08, 2002


Group Lumps Conservatives with Klansmen and Neo-Nazis

By Michael L. Betsch Staff Writer

THE Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims its organizational mission is to "expose and combat the purveyors of hatred in our midst." However, some conservatives say they are offended by the ADL's deliberate efforts to equate the right wing with hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Low Riders.

Website note: Abraham Foxman, wealthy and controversial chief of the Anti Defamation league, likes to refer to himself as a "Holocaust survivor." As a biography on this website shows, he was not even born when Hitler invaded his native Poland, and he was looked after by Polish Catholics throughout the war; his parents also "survived".

The ADL maintains an extensive database of information on a broad range of "dangerous extremists" and closely monitors the nationwide activities of the predominantly anti-Semitic, white supremacist organizations. The group's website also features a calendar of "Upcoming Extremist Events" in order to alert concerned citizens across the country of hate gatherings occurring in their cities and towns.

Yet some question why the ADL has issued a warning for the Free American's 2002 Home-Land Security Expo that will take place in McDonough, Georgia, from Nov. 8-10.

The Georgia event is billed as an "exposition and book fair" and will feature lectures by notable conservative commentators Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center and Larry Pratt, president of Gun Owners of America. asked the ADL to define the extremist threat that the Home-Land Security Expo poses to America.

Define 'Extremist'

"I don't know that the ADL has a formal definition for the term 'extremist'," said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact finding for the ADL. "But you can typically use the rougher definition of someone whose views are so far out of the mainstream that they have effectively disenfranchised themselves simply because so few people agree with them," he said.

ADLPitcavage said the ADL has labeled the Home-Land Security Expo an extremist event because most of the participants and vendors are right-wing extremists, white supremacists, anti-government extremists, and conspiracy theorists. And, he said the event closely resembles the Y2K "preparedness" trade shows of the 1990s.

"The preparedness expos of the 1990s were sort of traveling trade fairs for survivalists and right wing extremists," Pitcavage explained. He said those expos typically featured booths exhibiting survival products such as "dried beans" and "shark cartilage" pills; right-wing extremists, tax protesters and militias; and white supremacists selling books and other items.

Pitcavage said the ADL is concerned that the Home-Land Security Expo's organizer, Clay Douglas, is trying to revive the extremist trade shows. Douglas is also the founder of the Free American, which the ADL has deemed a "conspiracy-oriented magazine that focuses on anti-government and anti-Semitic theories."

Conservatives Defend Their Honor

DeWeese, who will discuss the issue of sustainable development at the Home-Land Security Expo, said he never would have accepted Douglas' invitation to speak at the event if he was anti-Semitic as the ADL accuses him of being.

"I'm massively offended by that and it's wrong," he said. "There is no one who will be at this conference who would be a spokesman for anything like that."

DeWeese said he is not surprised that the ADL has labeled the Home-Land Security Expo an extremist event. After all, he said the event will feature information that is important to people who believe in national sovereignty, limited government and don't like the United Nations.

The ADL, he noted, has trouble accepting the notion that conservatives question government, taxes and the U.N.

"They want to shut us up," DeWeese said of the ADL. "We have no point that should be exposed; we should not be allowed to speak out on these things because it's dangerous to peace on earth.

"We are told that we are not allowed to have our point of view; that that just is not to be discussed in polite society, that we are extremists, that we are dangerous, that this is the reason why we have trouble in this country," DeWeese said. "Well, yeah, it's probably true because we say, 'No,' to these things and they don't want that."

Pratt, from Gun Owners of America, also said he was offended that the ADL would equate the Home-Land Security Expo with hate groups. He has been invited to discuss Second Amendment issues at the weekend event.

Pratt said the ADL is experiencing the same problem the Federal Bureau of Investigation faced prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Before then, Pratt said, the conviction had always been that the threat to America came from conservatives and the "vast right wing conspiracy" that Hilary Clinton feared.

"The ADL has got its similar, ultra-liberal blinders on," Pratt said. "For them, anything to the right of Hilary Clinton is a massive threat to the security of the commonwealth."

Pratt said the ADL has never understood that people might want to take care of themselves rather than rely on the government to care for them. Contrary to the liberal ideology of the ADL, he said those who attend the Home-Land Security Expo are more than likely of the mindset, "No, I think I'll do it myself."

Related items on this website:

  Dossier on the origins of anti-Semitism
  Dossier on the Anti-Defamation League
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