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March 18, 2016 9

Seeking Justice: The Pardon of Leo Frank

This week marks the 30th anniver­sary of a sig­nif­i­cant event in ADL his­tory – the deci­sion by the Geor­gia State Board of Par­dons and Paroles to posthu­mously par­don Leo Frank.  Frank was the Jew­ish man­ager of an Atlanta pen­cil fac­tory who was falsely accused and wrongly con­victed in August 1913 of the rape and mur­der of Mary Pha­gan, a 13-year-old girl who worked in the factory. leo-frank-anti-semitism

Anti-Semitism was ram­pant in the early 1900’s and Leo Frank’s trial attracted national atten­tion and sig­nif­i­cant press cov­er­age – includ­ing irre­spon­si­ble press out­lets that inflamed the pub­lic with base and sala­cious anti-Semitism.  The trial itself was infected with a pervasively-hostile and anti-Semitic atmos­phere – from the argu­ments of the pros­e­cut­ing attor­ney to furi­ous mobs shout­ing “Hang the Jew!” out­side the cour­t­house.  Leo Frank’s trial and con­vic­tion shocked and gal­va­nized the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­nity – and under­lined the impor­tance of the estab­lish­ment of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in Chicago in 1913 with a mis­sion to “to stop the defama­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple and to secure jus­tice and fair treat­ment to all.”

Frank appealed his con­vic­tion – all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 7 to 2, that Frank’s con­sti­tu­tional due process rights had not been vio­lated.  Jus­tices Oliver Wen­dell Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes strongly dis­sented:  “Mob law does not become due process of law by secur­ing the assent of a ter­ror­ized jury. “

After all appeals were exhausted, Geor­gia Gov­er­nor Geor­gia John M. Sla­ton reviewed the case and com­muted Frank’s death sen­tence to life impris­on­ment. That coura­geous deci­sion in June 1915, enraged many and sparked riots in the streets.  Two months later, a mob of armed men kid­napped Frank from his prison cell, drove him over 100 miles to Mari­etta (Mary Phagan’s home­town) and lynched him.

Leo Frank lynching

Efforts to vin­di­cate jus­tice for Leo Frank were strength­ened in 1982, when eighty-three-year-old Alonzo Mann, who ran errands in the fac­tory as a boy, came for­ward to announce that he had seen the fac­tory jan­i­tor car­ry­ing Mary Phagan’s body to the base­ment on the day of her death.  The jan­i­tor had threat­ened to kill him if he told any­one.  ADL’s Atlanta-based South­ern Coun­sel, Charles Wit­ten­stein and promi­nent immi­gra­tion lawyer and national ADL leader Dale Schwartz led a vig­or­ous legal cam­paign to clear Frank’s name.  And on March 11, 1986, those efforts were rewarded with a par­don.  The land­mark deci­sion, how­ever, did not exon­er­ate Frank and prove his inno­cence.  Instead, Geor­gia par­doned Frank because of their fail­ure to pro­tect him and bring his mur­der­ers to justice.

 It’s hard to imag­ine a trial steeped in such anti-Semitism or racism today, but our nation is far from free of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate crimes.  Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. famously said:  “The arc of the moral uni­verse is long, but it bends towards jus­tice.”  The anniver­sary of Leo Frank’s par­don is teach­able moment and a reminder that the arc does not bend by itself – peo­ple striv­ing for equal­ity and jus­tice – even jus­tice, delayed – need to bend it.

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February 29, 2016 224

Louis Farrakhan Joins List Of Extremists Praising Donald Trump

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Far­rakhan made anti-Semitic accu­sa­tions of Jew­ish gov­ern­men­tal con­trol while prais­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump dur­ing the 2016 Sav­iours’ Day ser­mon at the NOI’s Mosque Maryam in Chicago on Feb­ru­ary 28.

Farrakhan delivering his Saviours' Day sermon (Part 1) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit

Far­rakhan deliv­er­ing his Sav­iours’ Day ser­mon (Part 1) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit

While Part 1 of Far­rakhan’s 2016 Sav­iours’ Day ser­mon last week at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena largely avoided the topic of Jews, in Part 2 of his ser­mon yes­ter­day, Far­rakhan stated that Trump “is the only man…that stood in front of some mem­bers of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and told them ‘I don’t want your money’… Any time a man can say to those who con­trol the pol­i­tics of Amer­ica, ‘I don’t want your money,’ that means if I don’t take your money, you can’t con­trol me. And they can­not afford to give up con­trol of the pres­i­dents of the United States.” How­ever, Far­rakhan also dis­tanced him­self from a full endorse­ment of Trump stat­ing, “Not that I’m for Mr. Trump, but I like what I’m look­ing at.”

The NOI’s Sav­iours’ Day pro­vides Far­rakhan with an annual plat­form to dis­play his hatred for Jews. This year, in addi­tion to his com­ments about Trump rep­re­sent­ing a break from the sup­pos­edly other Jewish-controlled pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, Far­rakhan also blamed Jews, which he refers to as the “Syn­a­gogue of Satan” for the Iraq War and 9/11.

While Far­rakhan tried to defend his use of the phrase “Syn­a­gogue of Satan” by dis­cussing its ori­gins from the Book of Rev­e­la­tions, his alle­ga­tions of nefar­i­ous Jew­ish con­trol over the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment and world events still very much con­sti­tute anti-Semitism. For exam­ple, Far­rakhan claimed, “[for­mer U.S. Deputy Sec­re­tary of Defense Paul] Wol­fowitz, so-called Jew, but a mem­ber of the Syn­a­gogue of Satan…Satan is a human being with­out human char­ac­ter­is­tics. That’s why the rev­e­la­tor called them beasts in human form. These are peo­ple sit­ting in the Pen­ta­gon, plan­ning the destruc­tion of Mus­lim nations.”

He added, “Wol­fowitz had 10 years now, to plan how they’re gonna clean out the Mid­dle East and take over those Mus­lim nations. They needed another Pearl Har­bor. They needed some event that was cat­a­clysmic, that would make the Amer­i­can peo­ple rise up, ready for war…they plot­ted a false flag oper­a­tion and when a gov­ern­ment is so rot­ten that they will kill inno­cent peo­ple to accom­plish a polit­i­cal objec­tive, you are not deal­ing with a human. You’re deal­ing with Satan him­self, the Syn­a­gogue of Satan.” He con­cluded, “Now they got into the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and on 9/11 the Twin Tow­ers went down…George Bush, and those dev­ils, Satans around him. They plot­ted 9/11. Ain’t no Mus­lim took con­trol of no plane.”

Promotional flyer for Part 2 of Farrakhan's Saviours' Day sermon in Chicago

Pro­mo­tional flyer for Part 2 of Farrakhan’s Sav­iours’ Day ser­mon in Chicago

The idea that Jews are to blame for 9/11 is noth­ing new for Far­rakhan, who told his Sav­iours’ Day audi­ence last year that “it is now becom­ing appar­ent that there were many Israelis and Zion­ist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks.”

Despite Farrakhan’s decades-long his­tory of racism and anti-Semitism, Far­rakhan con­tin­ues to receive sup­port from celebri­ties and elected offi­cials. Far­rakhan was also pro­vided with a plat­form to pro­mote anti-Semitism in Iran ear­lier this month as a spe­cial guest at mul­ti­ple high-level events, meet­ing with cur­rent and for­mer Iran­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

Far­rakhan also announced that he does not intend to speak again any time soon, but did not elab­o­rate on the rea­son. Far­rakhan has been absent from some key NOI events recently due to his ail­ing health, but even at the age of 82, Far­rakhan con­tin­ues to avoid the topic of a suc­ces­sor. Dur­ing Sav­iours’ Day he said, “If you want to know who my suc­ces­sor is then you ask Allah because I’m not wise enough to make that choice and I have not made any such choice because it’s not in my pay grade.” Despite the NOI’s appar­ent pol­icy of avoid­ing this topic, the orga­ni­za­tion has at times spot­lighted Mosque Maryam’s Assis­tant Min­is­ter Ish­mael Muham­mad as a pos­si­ble successor.

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February 9, 2016 71

White Supremacist Messages Flood Facebook After Anti-Semitic Posting by Ted Nugent

Rock musi­cian and right-wing activist Ted Nugent sur­prised many of his fol­low­ers on Feb­ru­ary 8 when he posted to his Face­book page a bla­tantly anti-Semitic graphic that labeled a dozen promi­nent sup­port­ers of gun con­trol mea­sures as Jews and asked “So who is really behind gun control?”

Angelo John Gage

Angelo John Gage

The graphic was one that had cir­cu­lated in white suprema­cist cir­cles for sev­eral years before Nugent gave it new life, telling his fol­low­ers to “Know these punks. They hate free­dom, they hate good over evil…you know how evil they are.”

To their credit, a num­ber of Nugent fans expressed dis­may at his post­ing. One prophetic Nugent fol­lower, a self-described 40-year fan, described the post as “appalling” and informed the aging rocker that he had just “opened the gates for hun­dreds of Jew haters and Holo­caust deniers to pour out their garbage on your page.”

Sadly, that was exactly what hap­pened. Pre­dictably, white suprema­cists and anti-Semites flooded to Nugent’s Face­book page to endorse his post and share it with their own Face­book friends (in less than 24 hours, the post had been shared over 2,800 times). Hun­dreds of white suprema­cists rushed to exploit and amplify Nugent’s post with their own pro­pa­ganda, includ­ing a num­ber of promi­nent white suprema­cists, such as for­mer Klans­man David Duke, neo-Nazi David Pringle, Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work founder Matt Heim­bach and for­mer National Youth Front leader Angelo John Gage.

Gage, a white suprema­cist activist, blog­ger and occa­sional polit­i­cal can­di­date, helped start the rush when he quickly posted a YouTube video about Nugent’s post­ing, say­ing “it shows all these Jews, all of them,” and urg­ing like-minded peo­ple to go to Face­book and “start blast­ing” anti-Semitic pro­pa­ganda. Gage was not alone. Scott Roberts, another anti-Semite, posted his own YouTube video about the inci­dent, explain­ing that “we seized this oppor­tu­nity, Angelo, myself, David Duke…we are inject­ing that anti-Semitic truth, and tak­ing the point [Nugent] ini­tially came out with and ham­mer­ing it home.”

On the white suprema­cist dis­cus­sion forum Storm­front, neo-Nazis and other white suprema­cists made sim­i­lar pleas. “Any­one that is pro-white or ‘alt-right’,” posted user “Raven­Claw, “needs to jump on this and com­ment. Post David Duke videos on there.” Another Storm­fron­ter, “Pol­ish­SlavAryan,” asked, “Can we all work together as a team to make it go viral? The main­stream needs to know.” An Ore­gon Storm­fron­ter explained that “even at this early point the expo­sure is priceless…Some will look into the ‘jew­ish prob­lem’ a bit fur­ther. Win.”

Hun­dreds of anti-Semites indeed flocked to Nugent’s Face­book page to share their opin­ions of Jews. “Jews are the exis­ten­tial enemy to the white race and need to be exter­mi­nated off the face of [the] Earth,” wrote a Face­book user with the screen name “Max Macro.” User Dan Dean echoed those sen­ti­ments: “Zion­ists Jews are your dead­liest enemy. Vir­tual wolves in sheep’s cloth­ing. Deep dark­ness cloaked in a false light.” Oth­ers took the oppor­tu­nity to pro­mote anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries, Holo­caust denial, and anti-Semitic stereo­types, epi­thets and canards.

A Face­book user with the Holocaust-themed screen name “Zykklon Beaner” urged Nugent not to retract his state­ment: “No apolo­gies, Ted, stick by your guns, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively! F__k these sup­posed ‘cho­sen’ Zion­ist scum!”

So far, Nugent has nei­ther apol­o­gized for or deleted his post. To date, his only reac­tion was to make another post in which he raged against peo­ple who had called his orig­i­nal mes­sage anti-Semitic and asked how any­one “could pos­si­bly not know that Jews for gun con­trol are Nazis in dis­guise?” Mean­while, he wrote, “I adjust my yamika [sic] at my bar­mitzva [sic] play­ing my kosher guitar.”

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