In the wake of the shooting at a Kansas City Jewish Community Center last week, CNN is asking if the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan can be rebranded into a nonviolent civic organization.
CNN published a feature Saturday called “Can The Klan Rebrand?” where Ashley Fantz asked marketing experts if it’s possible for the KKK to undo the “damage” done by shooter and self-proclaimed anti-Semite Frazier Glenn Miller, who killed three people last Sunday.
"What this guy just did set back everything I've been trying to do for years," said Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona.
"The Klan has always been about wolves in sheep's clothing. Hate groups have never had on their business cards the n-word or some sort of overt act of violence. They've always tried to appear a little more inclusive and less threatening, so it's not surprising that they're saying they are against this shooting,” John Rowley, president of advertising agency and crisis management firm Fletcher Rowley in Nashville, told CNN.
"Disney is happiness,” said marketing expert Dan Hill. “Nike is you're proud you ran the race. The Ayran Brotherhood -- that's somewhere on the spectrum of rage and outrage. We are talking about an emotion that leads to violence. If you use that rhetoric, you can't say you didn't expect that kind of reaction."
"They stand for hatred; they always have," Atlanta-based brand consultant Laura Ries told CNN. "Maybe they don't believe in shooting up a center for Jewish people, but they still support beliefs that are beyond the scope of understanding for most people and certainly the freedom and equality our country believes in."
Ries said a lack of central leadership poses a big hurdle if the Klan wanted to rebrand.
"The KKK doesn't have a Pope. Look at what that guy has done. You have to have a leader like that to make people believe a change has happened," she said.
Rowley’s firm, which worked on former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards’ campaign in 1991, when he won against former KKK leader David Duke, said even the "best spin must be grounded in reality."
Jelani Cobb, director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, said there would be no point in having a Klan without violence.
"Violence and racial intimidation were the KKK's raison d'etre. They're not simply a controversial civic organization. If in fact they reject violence, the only honest way of establishing that would be to do restorative work for the incredible damage their history of violence has already done," Cobb said. "No sensible person is going to wait around for that to happen."
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that the KKK has about 8,000 members nationwide.
Almost 100 hate crimes have been perpetrated by users of the right-wing extremist website Stormfront.org, according to a new study from the South Poverty Law Center.
Stormfront.org founder Don Black, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, denounced white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, who shot up two Kansas City Jewish centers Sunday killing three people.
“We have enough of a problem with how we are portrayed without some homicidal whack job coming along and reinforcing that,” Don Black told the Daily Beast.
Heidi Beirich, a director at the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, called Stormfront the “largest hate site in the world” and “a magnet and breeding ground for the deadly and deranged.”
“Stormfront is the murder capital of the racist Internet,” Heidi Beirich, author of the SPLC report, said in a release. “It has been a magnet for the deadly and deranged. And VNN is almost as bad.”
The SPLC report says, “registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the Web forum became the first hate site on the Internet in 1995, a month before the Oklahoma City bombing.”
Two of the deadliest non-Islamic terror attacks, the 2011 bombing and shooting in Norway killing 77 and the 2012 shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple killing six, were both carried out by Stormfront users.
“It’s pretty clear that websites like Stormfront are breeding grounds for people who are just enraged at their situation, it’s there that people find the reasons their lives aren’t as they had hoped and Stormfront helps them find the enemy that is standing in their way – whether it be Jews, African Americans, immigrants and so on,” said Beirich. “Unfortunately it’s not very surprising that people who live in this kind of stew of violent racism eventually pick up a gun and do something about it at some point.”
SPLC says there are 10 characteristics shared by hate killers who were active on Stormfront, including unemployment, posting on more than one white supremacist website and having sustained activity across those sites.
Miller was also a frequent commenter on commenter on another anti-Semitic and racist Internet forum, Vanguard News Network.
SPLC says those racist right wing groups are expanding rapidly since President Barack Obama first ran in 2008.
“We have seen and documented at the SPLC an enormous growth of groups on the radical right, particularly in the last five years,” said Mark Potok, editor of the report and a senior fellow on the Intelligence Project. “That growth quite clearly seems to be driven by the appearance of Barack Obama on the political scene in the fall of 2008 and of course his subsequent election.”
A teacher at a top independent school in London allegedly told a Jewish student who cut in the lunch line that she would send her “to one of your gas chambers.”
The 17-year-old reported the incident, which occurred earlier this year at North London Collegiate School, where students often pay £6,000, or $10,000, per term.
“A teacher was passing by and she rushed up to my daughter and said, ‘Don’t do that or I’ll have to send you to the back of the queue or to one of your gas chambers,” the girl’s father, who did not wish to be identified, told the Daily Mail.
“It was very unpleasant, very uncalled-for and very unfortunate,” he said. “My daughter was shocked and upset. She didn’t say anything to the teacher at the time but all her friends expressed amazement. They kept saying, ‘Did she really say that?’”
The prestigious school, which educated actress Rachel Weisz and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, said it sought legal advice on the matter and took “appropriate action.” It did not identify the teacher or what measures were taken.
The comment was overheard by numerous students and was reported by another family to the Community Service Trust, a non-profit which combats anti-Semitism.
“This would be highly offensive in any circumstance, but to be directed at a pupil by a teacher is unheard of and makes it far worse,” said Mark Gardner, director of the Community Service Trust. “We are working with all parties to resolve the matter.”
“North London Collegiate School is proud of its rich, multi-cultural history and celebrates equality and diversity within the school community,” the school said in a statement. “The school was recently made aware of an allegation of an offensive statement made by a member of staff. The school promptly commenced an investigation. Having reached a determination and sought specialist legal advice, appropriate action was taken.”
The girl’s family says that’s not enough.
“The school doesn’t deserve to be in the middle of a race issue. It is normally a model of correctness in these things,” her father said. “But there should be an element of visibility so people see the teacher has been disciplined. My wife and I would also like the school to make a public statement that there has been an incident and [the remark] was totally unacceptable.”
A municipality in Northern Spain called Castrillo Matajudios, which translates to “Castrillo Kill Jews” is calling a town hall meeting this week to mull over changing its name.
Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez submitted a proposal to change the name of the town, which has a population of 60, back to its original name.
The town allegedly changed its name to ‘Kill Jews’ during the Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1478.
The original name is believed to be “Castrillo Mota de Judios” or “Castrillo Jews’ Hill.”
"The majority decision will be respected, even if it is only by one vote,” Rodriguez told the Spanish daily newspaper Diario de Burgos.
In parts of Spain, particularly in the north, where the origins of anti-Semitic terms are ignored, a traditional alcoholic drink, lemonade spiked with alcohol, is also called “matar Judios.”
Killing Jews is sold at Easter festivals each year. On Good Friday, April 18, Leon will hold a “matar Judios” fiesta where an estimated 40,000 gallons of lemonade will be sold.
The president of a local hotel associations, Ramon Benavides, was quoted as saying last month: “When ‘killing Jews,’ it’s best to take it slow and keep track of how much you drink to avoid excesses and its consequences the next day.”
“Regrettably, this type of expression exists in Spain in ceremonies and parties,” said Maria Royo, a spokesperson for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, adding that “the people saying it are mostly unaware of the history. It is a complicated issue that is ingrained in local culture.”
A number of Jewish leaders have come forward voicing concern over the recent spike in ebook sales of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
The book, published in two volumes between 1925-1926, is Adolf Hitler’s pre-war autobiographical manifesto. The book covers the process by which Hitler developed increasingly anti-Semitic and militaristic views. A central theme of the book is “the Jewish peril” which argues for the existence of a Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership. Hitler openly voices his hatred in the book for what he believed to be the world’s two great evils: communism and Judaism.
Publishing records show the book wasn’t much of a hit when it was first released. But the rise of the ebook has caused a small, but not irrelevant, spike in the book’s sales. A number of people suggest the increase in sales is due to the more covert nature of an ebook. Instead of being ashamed of the Mein Kampf book sitting on their coffee table, readers can store the book on their Kindle or iPad without worrying about others seeing there choice of reading. It’s impossible to know if this theory holds any water, but one thing is known here: Hitler’s book is being downloaded more now than in the past.
The book sat atop Amazon’s Propaganda & Political Psychology section as of yesterday. The book was also ranked 12th in the Politics and Current Events section of the Apple bookstore on Wednesday. Understandably, the Jewish community is troubled by the book’s recent spike in popularity.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is concerned enough by the sales that he’s calling for publishers to only sell annotated versions of the book.
"We know that the facts of life are that you cannot censor any idea from the Internet, it's simply impossible," Cooper told Fox News yesterday. "But an annotated version is important for someone who doesn't know the context of the time and so that they're not reading pure genocidal hate."
The introduction of the book posted on Amazon tries to briefly frame the historical context surrounding on the book, but leaders in the Jewish community feel the short introduction alone is not sufficient. Here is an excerpt of the introduction from Amazon:
“Beyond the anger, hatred, bigotry and self-aggrandizing, 'Mein Kampf' is saddled with tortured prose, meandering narrative and tangled metaphors (one person was described as "a thorn in the eyes of venal officials")," the desceiption reads. "That said, it is an incredibly important book.”
In response to the book’s rising sales, the Anti-Defamation League has offered an introduction of their own to the book that they hope will help readers properly frame the material they’re about to read.
“We believe it is important for Mein Kampf to continue to be published as it does have value to historians and students of World War II and Holocaust history,” Holocaust survivor and Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said in a statement. “There is always the concern, however, that some people who are already infected with anti-Semitism will misuse the book in an attempt to glorify Hitler or reinforce their own warped views about Jews. We think the only constructive way for the book to be published is with an introduction that explains the historical context and the impact of the thinking behind Hitler’s words, which led right up to the murderous, racist Nazi regime.”
Walt Disney, the man, has had a squeaky clean reputation much like the entertainment empire that he founded.
While there have been reports of Disney being a union buster, racist and anti-Semitic, his name is still synonymous with wholesome entertainment and family values.
Actress Meryl Streep questioned his legacy at the National Board of Review dinner last night, noted Variety.
Streep was not there to accept an award, but rather to honor fellow actress Emma Thompson who played “Mary Poppins” creator P.L. Travers in the Disney film “Saving Mr. Banks.”
After praising Thompson, Streep slammed Disney for his reported sexist and anti-Semitic positions, which are not mentioned in “Saving Mr. Banks," noted Entertainment Weekly.
“Disney, who brought joy arguably to billions of people was, perhaps, or had some racist proclivities," stated Streep. "He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group and he was certainly, on the evidence of his company’s policies, a gender bigot.”
“Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women,” added Streep, who quoted Disney animator Ward Kimball: “He didn’t trust women or cats.”
Streep then quoted a 1938 letter in which the Walt Disney company rejected a female animator and informed her that only men worked on their cartoons.
“When I saw the [Saving Mr. Banks], I could just imagine Walt Disney’s chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. Travers’ favor for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work," said Streep. "It must have killed him to encounter in a woman an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination.”
Reality TV star Tila Tequila emerged from obscurity after she recently posted a picture of herself on Facebook wearing a swastika and an SS hat, while standing in front of the entrance to an Auschwitz prison camp.
The caption for the picture reads: “Tilisis is the Goddess of Love and War! Learn your facts!”
In response to the criticism she faced for the picture, the star responded that she is not anti-Semitic, but that others are close-minded about the so-called true history of Hitler.
Interestingly, Tequila has posted a number of Nazi images and references since her announcement two years ago that she was converting to Judaism.
“I just feel like the Jewish people have such a beautiful way about them,” Tequila wrote, “and I can’t wait to officially be Jewish. Shabbat Shalom.”
In a new song Tequila posted Sunday, she refers to herself as “Hitila”. She includes lyrics like “Jewluminati motherf*ckers hate me” and “Worldwide genocide, blame it on the Jews.”
In April 2012, Tequila entered rehab when suffered a brain aneurysm after an accidental drug overdose.
Kanye West was accused of anti-Semitism Monday after he suggested that President Barack Obama doesn’t have the same connections or wealth as Jewish people.
During a radio interview with New York station Power 105, West commented on Obama and oil money.
"People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing,” West said. “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”
He added that black people also don’t have the same connections as oil people, and that rapping was created to form a community for black people to keep up.
The Anti-Defamation League called West out on his comment, submitting a statement about him to the group’s website. They have also called for an apology from West.
“There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government,” the statement read. “As a celebrity with a wide following, Kanye West should know better.”
West has been creating controversy since the beginning of his Yeezus tour, which he is still performing. He has received criticism for comparing himself to Jesus on the album, and selling t-shirts with the confederate flag on them.
11Police Looking Into Attacks On Jews In New York; Assaults Might Be Part Of ‘Knock Out The Jew’ Game (Video)
A series of attacks on Jewish people have taken place in Brooklyn, N.Y., and they might be part of a disturbing new game called “Knock out the Jew.”
CBS New York reports that police have yet to connect all the incidents, but released surveillance video that shows one group attacking a Jewish man. The video shows from a few different angles the victim, a man in a hooded jacket, getting punched.
“It’s clearly anti-Semitism,” said one man, who claimed his 12-year-old son was attacked in similar fashion. “One, full strength with his fist, whacked him, punched him, on the side of the face, full force.”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the victims are being attacked because they are Jews and the attacks aren’t muggings and aren’t about money.
Rabbi Yaacov Behrman said he believes the assaults are part of a disturbing game by some African-American teens.
“And they’re playing a game: ‘knockout.’ ‘Knock out the Jew,’ maybe. And they’re going around the neighborhood punching Jews,” Behrman told CBS New York.
Three freshly sprayed swastikas have also been found in Brooklyn recently, suggesting that the attacks may indeed be hate crimes, according to Mail Online. NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attacks and graffiti.
A California college security guard in Orange County was placed on leave this week after a report by CBS 2 in Los Angeles revealed racist and anti-Semitic images he posted on the Internet.
Carlos Vazquez, 31, is a parking officer for the University of California, Irvine, and a public safety officer at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. UC Irvine has not taken disciplinary measures against Vaquez, but Golden West College has put him on leave.
Two of the images from Vazquez’s Instagram uncovered by CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein showed pictures of his children Photoshopped with Adolf Hitler.
“Proud father moment when my daughter met the great fuhrer,” read one caption.
“I love how attentive my kids are when it comes to real WW2 history,” said another.
The caption for another picture of a black family read: “Mammy, when is daddy coming home from prison? I miss seeing him beat you and I miss how he made us hungry.”
“Waking up in juvenile jail,” he captioned the image of a statue of a young African American boy. “It’s in their blood.”
Another picture showed a Swastika taped on a baby’s diaper.
There was a picture of a hamburger with a Swastika drawn on it using mustard that said: “I will have the Nazi burger easy on the Jew sauce.”
Melissa Carr of the Orange County Anti-Defamation League told CBS 2 that her biggest concern is the photoshopped pictures of his children.
“To me, the pictures of his children, presumably, being exposed to this hate is troubling. That brings up the issue of hate being learned,” Carr said. “Hate comes from home.”
The following video from CBS 2 was uploaded to YouTube by USNationalistNews, which believes “[r]acism was an ideal invented by the Left, during the 20's and 30's for the sole-purpose of combating Nationalism.”
While Cathy Lawhon, a spokeswoman for UCI, said she was against the “abhorrent and hateful” images, they were posted on a personal account. Thus Vazquez did not violate school policy.
“As ill as it may make us to look at some of these things, we do have freedom of speech in this country,” Lawhon said.
The public safety director at Golden West College, Don Arnold, immediately took action against Vazquez, when the images were brought to his attention.
Arnold said “prejuce and racial bais” are “not acceptable at all” on their campus.
Vazquez offered no comment to Goldstein when confronted. Shortly after speaking to Vazquez, his Instagram was reportedly changed to private, and several minutes later the user was deleted.
The following video from CBS 2 was uploaded to YouTube by USNationalistNews, which believes “[r]acism was an ideal invented by the Left, during the 20's and 30's for the sole-purpose of combating Nationalism.” Viewer discretion is advised.