UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 2003-4
The number of antisemitic incidents in 2003 in the United
States remained at the same level as in 2002. However, antisemitic
incidents on American college campuses declined by 36 percent, following three
consecutive annual increases. The Internet continued to serve as a vehicle for
anti-Jewish hostility, as conspiracy theorists and commentators proposed that
Jews were to blame for America going to war in Iraq, and elements of the
American anti-war movement maintained a harsh anti-Israel tone. In addition,
the controversy over Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ
generated a barrage of antisemitic hate mail directed at those in the Jewish
community who had expressed concerns about the film. Several prominent extreme
right activists went on trial or began serving prison sentences in 2003/4.
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
The Jewish community in the United States – the largest concentration
of Jews in the world – numbers approximately 5.3 million (Sergio DellaPergola,
2002) and comprises 2.2 percent of the total population of 282.1 million. The
bulk of American Jewry live in major metropolitan areas and their environs,
including New York (1.45 million), Los Angeles (519,000), Southeast Florida
(498,000), Chicago (261,000), Boston (227,000), San Francisco Bay (210,000),
Philadelphia (206,000) and Cleveland (82,000). The intermarriage rate is high,
accounting for more than 50 percent of all unions involving a Jewish partner.
organizations include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),
American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee (JDC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith,
Hadassah, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Jewish War Veterans (JWV) and
many other religious, fraternal and Zionist groups. The Conference of
Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations acts as the domestic and foreign
policy umbrella group for 52 member organizations. A merger between the Council
of Jewish Federations, United Israel Appeal and United Jewish Appeal in 1998
created the United Jewish Communities (UJC), which represents Jewish community
federations and independent Jewish communities throughout North America.
There is an active Jewish press
and almost every community with a large Jewish population supports its own
English-language weekly newspaper, as well as in some cases, Yiddish/Hebrew
EXTREMIST ORGANIZATIONS AND GROUPS
Extremists on the far right continued to be active in
2003/early 2004, while suffering a dearth of leadership resulting from the
deaths of William Pierce and Ray Redfeairn, the imprisonment of Matt Hale and
David Duke, the disarray in the National Alliance headquarters, and the aging
and ineffectiveness of Aryan Nations leaders. There has also been an escalated
legal crackdown on the tax protest movement and armed confrontation with
militia groups. Despite the deaths, arrests and attrition, groups have tried to
resuscitate themselves through a number of mechanisms, including combining
forces in jointly-held rallies and activities and increasingly sophisticated
use of the Internet.
The virulently antisemitic, white
supremacist Creativity Movement, formerly the World Church of the
Creator (WCOTC), promotes the creation of “an all-white nation and ultimately
an all-white world,” rejecting Christianity outright in favor of its
whites-only, pseudo-religion ‘Creativity’. It was led from 1996 by Matt Hale,
who called himself ‘Pontifex Maximus’, or ‘supreme leader’. WCOTC founder Ben
Klassen committed suicide in 1993.
In a pivotal legal decision of
November 2002, the Creativity Movement lost a copyright infringement lawsuit
brought against it by the Te-Ta-Ma Truth Foundation, which had successfully
trademarked the name Church of the Creator years before. When Hale refused to
comply with the court order to stop all use of the name and arrived in January
2003 for a contempt of court hearing he was arrested for soliciting the judge’s
murder. With Hale’s imprisonment while he awaited trial, several Creativity
members tried to lead and resuscitate the movement in different ways, both in America
and abroad, but it has increasingly deteriorated and membership has been decimated.
Matt Hale’s trial on five counts began in April 2004. Two former members of the
WCOTC testified against Hale, one of whom, Tony Evola, was actually an FBI
informer who was Hale’s chief of security. Stripped of the right to use its
original name in the trademark lawsuit, the group now refers to itself as the
Creativity Movement. The movement suffered an additional blow when, in early
2004, an ex-member sold most of its remaining resources to a human rights
group, including books written by the movement’s founder, and boxes of internal
The neo-Nazi, Hillsboro, West Virginia-based
National Alliance (NA) was led from 1974 by veteran antisemite and white
supremacist William Pierce, until his death in July 2002. Pierce had increased
National Alliance activities, membership and contacts until it became the
largest and most active neo-Nazi organization in the United States. Following
Pierce’s death, Erich Gliebe, former head of NA’s Ohio chapter and manager of
the group’s white power music company Resistance Records, assumed control. In
2003 the National Alliance became increasingly unstable, with infighting among
its leadership and attacks on Gliebe.
In 2003 National Alliance members
openly participated in rallies against the war in Iraq, where they carried
signs that railed against Israel and the Jews. They have continued recruitment,
and employed increasingly bold tactics to gain publicity and new members. An
aggressive leafleting campaign was launched across the country in at least 18
states, with fliers containing messages that were antisemitic, anti-Israel,
anti-gay or exploited local racial tensions. In January 2004, a National
Alliance member used a mailing list of criminal defense lawyers purchased from
the Florida Bar to send copies of racist and antisemitic literature and letters
inviting them to join the group.
The National Alliance has clearly
been damaged by in-fighting and leadership struggles, and its future remains
tenuous. However, while national headquarters continue to struggle, many local
units remain strong and active. In the fall of 2003, the organization attracted
one prominent new member: long-time activist Edward Fields, publisher of the
racist and antisemitic The Truth at Last.
ultra-right-wing organizations increased significantly in 2003, one tactic being
to act as umbrella groups in organizing multi-group extremist events. Billy
Roper, of White Revolution (a splinter group from the National Alliance) is
emerging as the leader most able to unify various groups for a common cause,
followed by NSM (National Socialist Movement). White Revolution has held events
jointly with such groups as Aryan Nations, NSM, Tom Metzger of White Aryan
Resistance, the Creativity Movement and the KKK.
The Christian ‘Identity’
movement promotes its racist, antisemitic agenda by manipulating religious themes.
It holds that people of white European ancestry are descended from the Lost
Tribes of Israel, making them the ‘chosen people’ of the Bible. Identity’s ‘two
seed-line’ theory asserts that only whites are descended from Adam and Eve and
that Jews originate from a sexual union between Eve and Satan. Among notable ‘Identity’
groups in the US today are America’s Promise Ministries of Sandpoint, Idaho;
Dan Gayman’s Schell City, Missouri, Church of Israel; Pete Peters’ Laporte,
Colorado-based Scriptures for America Worldwide and Kingdom Identity Ministries
in Harrison, Arkansas.
Songs for His People, a major
annual event for the Christian ‘Identity’ community, took place on the weekend
of 20 February 2004, in Kimberling City, (Southwest) Missouri. The event drew a
record 400 people, and included members of underground paramilitary groups.
Aryan Nations, a
paramilitary neo-Nazi group formed in the mid-1970s, also subscribes to ‘Identity’
ideology. Aryan Nations was based in Hayden Lake, Idaho, and led by founder,
Richard Butler, until forced to declare bankruptcy in late 2000 (see ASW 2000/1).
Membership has since dwindled significantly. Following the group’s split into
four factions, there have been additional breakups and reformations (see ASW 2001/2).
Richard Butler continued to head the Aryan Nations group in Idaho. Ray Redfeairn died
in October 2003, leaving Aryan Nations without a designated successor. Morris
Gulett leads the splinter group Church of the Sons of Yahweh in Louisiana.
Charles Juba in Pennsylvania is attempting to resurrect his faction. In
November 2003 Richard Butler ran for mayor in Hayden, Idaho; two other Aryan
Nation members ran for city council seats; all were unsuccessful.
Despite setbacks on many fronts,
including ill health, the aging Butler continued his activities, and served as
a revered icon in the extremist movement. In early 2004, Butler was an honored
guest at Aryanfest 2004, an international gathering of white supremacists in Arizona.
He died in September 2004.
Formed in Dallas in the late
1980s, the white supremacist Hammerskin Nation, the most violent and
best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead group in the United States, is composed almost
exclusively of young white males, among whom the group actively recruits. As is
often characteristic of racist skinheads, in 2003 a number of its members were involved
in violent crimes, including harassing, beating or murdering members of minority
Although the Hammerskin Nation
was in decline during 2003, it continued to sponsor hate rock concerts, and
many popular racist rock music bands are affiliated to it. The Hammerskins have
an estimated 19 chapters in the US and their website lists chapters in several
other countries, including Canada and in Europe. At the same time, the
Hammerskin splinter group known as the Outlaw Hammerskins has expanded.
The Minnesota-based neo-Nazi
National Socialist Movement (NSM) has contact points throughout the US and
believes in racial separation and minimal intervention of government in the
lives of citizens. NSM grew rapidly in 2003, adding a number of new units. In
2003, it had between 100 and 200 members and hangers-on in 23 chapters.
Virulently antisemitic and racist, most of its vitriol is aimed at Jews and
Liberty Lobby, founded in
1955 by Willis Carto, was for years the most influential antisemitic propaganda
organization in the United States, with a considerable impact on right-wing
extremism. The antisemitic and anti-Israel American Free Press, which
favors conspiracy theories, succeeded Liberty Lobby’s original publication
Spotlight. In 2003 it frequently accused Israel and influential Jews in America
of responsibility for the war in Iraq. It regularly advertises Holocaust denial
Former Ku Klux Klan leader
David Duke lived in Russia and the Ukraine for almost three years, from
2000 to 2002, where he lectured and wrote articles promoting his antisemitic
theories (see ASW
2001/2). In 2002 he found a receptive audience in an increasingly
anti-Jewish Arab world (see ASW 2002/3).
In mid-December 2002, Duke returned to the US and pleaded guilty to multiple
charges resulting from his years of white supremacist outreach: mail fraud,
bilking his supporters of money, and filing a false tax return. On 15 April 2003, he began serving a 15-month prison sentence.
After his incarceration, Duke
continued to send letters to right-wing publications and websites expressing
his contempt for the US federal government and Israel, as well as Jews and
other minorities, and promoting his book Jewish Supremacism. His EURO
(European American Unity and Rights Organization) website posted editorials
opposing Israel and the war in Iraq. EURO was planning to hold a rally to
welcome Duke home from prison in New Orleans, 29-30 May.
Ku Klux Klan groups remain
the most numerous type of hate group in the United States. The Imperial Klans
of America (IKA) is one of the most active Klan (KKK) organizations in America.
A half dozen major Klan organizations and over forty smaller Klan groups
provide a significant Klan presence, especially in the Midwest and the South.
One of the more notable Klan incidents occurred in Pennsylvania, where David
Hull, a Klan leader, was arrested in February 2003 on explosives charges in
connection with an alleged plot to bomb abortion clinics.
The Militia movement
encourages turning anti-government sentiment into action. It continued to cause
problems in 2003, despite the decline in membership and activity it has
suffered since the mid-1990s. Although most militia groups claim to be
non-racist, some militia members have expressed racism or antisemitism (see ASW 2000/1,
Militias are most active in Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and California. The
most serious incidents involved the Michigan Militia. In July 2003, Scott Allen
Woodring, a Michigan Militia member, shot and killed a Michigan State Police
officer during a standoff; Woodring was later killed in a second confrontation.
The antisemitic and anti-white
rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), has
long marked him out on the extremist scene. After having moderated his
antisemitic statements in recent years, his Saviors’ Day speech in February 2003
followed by speeches in the fall demonstrated his continuing hostility toward the
Jewish community. Towards the end of 2003, Minister Louis Farrakhan gave two back-to-back
speeches that included significant antisemitic content, “The 8th Anniversary
Holy Day of Atonement” and “What is Islam?” The rise of antisemitism on the
left and in the mainstream media over the past two years has probably
encouraged Farrakhan to vocalize his feelings about Jews (see below).
Farrakhan’s annual NOI Saviors’
Day speech, given on 23 February 2003, included attacks on the Jewish
community, homosexuals and Israel. Farrakhan blamed the war in Iraq on “the
warmongers in [Bush’s] administration, the poor Israeli Zionists” who “have
literally gotten America’s foreign policy to protect Israel” (see General
On 16 October Farrakhan devoted a
large portion of his speech at the 8th Anniversary Holy Day of Atonement to denouncing
Jews. Using old Christian themes, he labeled the Jews Christ-killers, and compared
the past to the present. “See how they [the Jews] brought him into court on
false charges? See how they plotted to crucify him? And it’s easy to sing about
what was. It’s difficult to believe that what was, is. The Rome of yesterday is
nothing to the America of today.” Farrakhan added that Jewish businesses took
advantage of blacks: “I don’t like the way you leech on us. See a leech is
somebody that sucks your blood, takes from you and don’t give you a damn thing.
See, I don’t like that kind of arrangement.”
Farrakhan’s speech came on the
same day that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad told the Organization
of the Islamic Conference that Jews “rule the world by proxy” and “get others
to fight and die for them.” NOI supported Mahathir Muhammad by printing a
transcript of the speech in The Final Call. The transcript included the antisemitic
portions, and a link to the entire speech provided on the website, www.finalcall.com.
Farrakhan capped his antisemitic
rhetoric on 23 November 2003 with a speech, “What is Islam?” On this day he
reiterated the Christian themes of the Jews’ perversion of God’s message. In
explaining Islam, Farrakhan blamed the Jews “who are the masters of Hollywood”
for publishing “the filth that is published daily, feeding the minds of the
American people and the people of the world filth and indecency, making it fair
seeming in their eye.”
Farrakhan’s increased use of antisemitism
is of great concern because many people seem to believe he is no longer the
same racist antisemite he was in the past. He has recently been featured at
several mainstream events that characterize him as a moral figure, such as Russell
Simmons’ Hip Hop Summits. In addition, to posting Farrakhan’s speeches as well
as articles of the organization’s members, the NOI site has links to the antisemitic
Nation of Aztlan website (via the NOI’s student association page), and continues to advertise The Secret Relationship between
Blacks and Jews. Authors of The Secret Relationship argue
essentially that the history of slavery in the New World was initiated by
Jewish ship owners and merchants, who as a group remained the main beneficiaries
of the slave economy and who ““carved for themselves a monumental culpability
Malik Shabazz, national chairman
of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), a racist and antisemitic black nationalist
group, continued to make anti-Jewish and racist statements at public events
throughout 2003. Shabazz’s efforts focused on the Million Youth March, held in Brooklyn,
New York, on 6 September 2003. Although it drew support from New York City
Councilman Charles Barron, NOI’s Min. Kevin Mohammad, attorney Alton Maddox,
civil rights activist Rev. Herbert Daughtry and academic Dr. Leonard Jeffries,
under 1,000 people attended.
Prior to the march, on 3 July,
Shabazz went to Morristown to voice support for Amiri Baraka, New Jersey’s poet
laureate. Baraka was sharply criticized for his poem “Somebody Blew Up
America,” which repeated the myth that 4,000 ‘Israelis’ stayed home from work
at the World Trade Center on 11 September (see General
The NBPP continues to use the
black community’s nostalgia for the original Black Panthers and has been able
to survive the death of its controversial leader, Khallid Abdul Mohammad. However,
while the NBPP still attracts some followers under the guise of championing the
causes of black empowerment and civil rights, its record of racism and antisemitism
has overshadowed its efforts to promote black pride and consciousness. The
Million Youth March did not attract significant support, and Malik Shabazz and
the NBPP seem to be almost completely irrelevant to the black community. He has
since attempted to gain greater recognition, and was
the keynote speaker at the Michigan State University 31st annual black power rally on 20 November 2003.
The Nation of Aztlan, a
small California-based Latino group, continues to distribute virulently antisemitic
material via its website and e-mails. In 2003 and the beginning of 2004, Hector
Carreon, editor of its publication La Voz de Aztlan, repeatedly blamed
Jews and Israel for every negative event that affected the Mexican community in
the United States and claimed that Jews controlled the US government and the
media (see General
While most antisemitic activity in the US has been limited
to hate propaganda, members of extremist organizations and their associates
sometimes engage in threats, violence and vandalism.
The total number of antisemitic
incidents in 2003 held steady as compared to 2002. More striking, however, was
the 36 percent decrease in campus incidents: after a five-year trend of decline
during the late 1990s, campus incidents had risen for three consecutive years
(2000-02). Many of the 2002 incidents grew out of anti-Israel or ‘anti-Zionist’
demonstrations or other actions in which some participants engaged in overt
expression of anti-Jewish sentiments, including name-calling directed at Jewish
students, placards comparing the Star of David to a swastika or vandalism of
Jewish property, such as Hillel buildings. While anti-Israel activism continued
on many campuses in 2003, the demonstrations were less characterized by the
kind of antisemitic invective that had tainted such activity in previous years.
The total of campus incidents in 2003 was 68, compared to 106 in 2002 (40 acts
of harassment and 28 of vandalism).
In 2003, forty-two states and the
District of Columbia reported 1,557 antisemitic incidents, almost identical
to the 1,559 incidents reported in 2002.
Vandalism and Harassment
About 60 percent, or 929, of all incidents reported in 2003 consisted
of acts of harassment (including intimidation, threats and physical and verbal
assaults) directed at individuals and institutions, a 9 percent decrease over
2002, when the total was 1,028. The Internet remained a major vehicle for the
expression of antisemitic sentiments. While it is impossible to quantify such
messages, groups and individuals hostile toward Jews transmitted hate
literature and antisemitic conspiracy theories (often related to the Iraq war)
through hundreds of websites and through forums such as chat rooms, bulletin
boards and e-mail in great numbers. Much of this Internet hate traffic in early
2004 was related to Jewish concerns expressed in connection with Mel Gibson’s
film The Passion of the Christ.
There were 628 reports of
antisemitic vandalism (including property damage, cemetery desecration and
antisemitic graffiti) in 2003, an 18 percent increase over the 531 such acts
reported in 2002. This substantial rise in vandalism and desecrations reversed
a three-year trend of decline (2000-02). This category accounted for about 40
percent of all incidents in 2003.
The states showing the largest
numbers of reported incidents in 2003 were New York, 364 (up from 302 in 2002);
New Jersey, 209 (up from 171); California, 180 (down from 223); Pennsylvania,
117 (up from 101); Massachusetts 102 (down from 129); Florida: 102 (up from
93), and Connecticut, 70 (up from 41).
Among the most serious incidents
reported in 2003 were three arson attacks and five cemetery desecrations. In Terre
Haute, Indiana, a Holocaust museum memorializing children who were victims of
Nazi medical experimentation was destroyed by arson. A bullet was fired through
the door of a Wildwood, New Jersey synagogue (no injuries). At a Jewish
community center outside Phoenix, Arizona, swastikas and expletives were
spray-painted in the walls and driveway, and on a congregant’s car. In Allentown,
Pennsylvania, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue by three youths.
More than 40 headstones were overturned, some smashed to bits, at a Jewish
cemetery in Wichita, Kansas. In Berkeley, California, antisemitic slogans and
symbols were painted in classrooms and hallways of a university campus
building. And in Long Island, New York, “Heil Hitler,” and other graffiti and
obscenities were painted on the property of a Jewish center.
The National Alliance, NSM, White Revolution, Christian ‘Identity’
groups and others continue to distribute flyers and other hate literature,
generally under cover of darkness, by dropping off propaganda (often downloaded
from the Internet and printed out) on people’s lawns or cars, or stuffed inside
newspapers. The National Alliance leased a large public billboard outside of Orlando,
Florida, to draw attention to its white supremacist organization and website.
Propaganda in 2003/early 2004
included antisemitic materials that were replicated, as indicated above, across
the spectrum of extremist groups, both on the right and the left, and included
a variety of antisemitic slogans; some focused on Jewish response to Mel
Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. It should be noted that the
rise of antisemitism on the left and in the mainstream media over the last two
years has served to validate and motivate the rhetoric and acts of extremists,
such as Farrakhan.
Conspiracy Theories: Blaming Jews for the Iraq Crisis
Extremist groups stepped up their anti-Israel rhetoric in
2003, focusing in particular on the war in Iraq (see also General
Analysis). Israel, as well as high-ranking Americans Jews in the Bush
administration, was perceived by many as pushing the US into war – forcing it
against its own interests to undertake what has variously been called “Israel’s
war” and “a war for the Jews.”
While expressions of this
conspiratorial mindset have often arisen in the past on the extremist fringes,
current manifestations indicate that such theories have gained a foothold in
circles bordering on more mainstream politics. High profile public figures such
as Congressional Representative James Moran, political commentator and past
unsuccessful presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, as well as African-American
activist New Jersey Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka, made comments in 2003
implicating Jews and Israel in the Iraq war.
Increasingly sophisticated use of the Internet by extremists
continued to develop and expand in 2003. The enhanced technology of antisemitic
sites created by various groups is often evident, with website visitors being
greeted by slickly-produced Flash videos and background music playing, along
with original artwork and cartoons. There are hundreds of antisemitic websites,
of varying technical expertise, that continually spread racism, antisemitism,
and anti-Israel views, as well as Holocaust denial.
Virtually every major extremist
group based in the United States has some form of Internet presence, and many
groups based overseas utilize servers located within the United States to
circumvent local laws prohibiting racist, extremist, bigoted and antisemitic
Holocaust denial groups such as
the Institute for Historical Review and the Committee for Open Debate on the
Holocaust, as well as a number of militia groups and conspiracy theorists, are
also accessible online. Particular events in 2003/4, for example, the release
of the film The Passion of the Christ, have led to the establishment of additional
websites that attack Jewish groups or individuals.
ATTITUDES TOWARD THE HOLOCAUST AND THE NAZI ERA
The California-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR)
– for years the most active propagator of Holocaust denial in the United States
– continues to decline. Its activities in 2003 were limited to e-mail
compilations of news stories from the mainstream media, the occasional radio
interview with IHR director Mark Weber, and the sale of extremist and antisemitic
literature through its affiliated Noontide Press website. Though IHR did
organize a small gathering at which British Holocaust denier David Irving
lectured on 10 December 2003, IHR has not held a major Holocaust denial
convention since May 2000, and its Journal of Historical Review appears
to be defunct.
Another blow to the Holocaust
denial movement in the US came in February 2003, when former Canadian resident
Ernst Zündel, a Holocaust denier and Nazi publisher, was deported from Tennessee
on immigration violations. He was being held in a Canadian prison while
undergoing proceedings to deport him back to Germany. His wife and webmaster
Ingrid Rimland was in the US trying to secure his release – even taking out
several full-page advertisements in the Washington Times to publicize
his plight – but without success.
Much Holocaust denial activity in
the US in 2003 was conducted by foreigners. David Irving, the maverick British
historian-turned-Holocaust denier, ran his annual “Real History” conference in Cincinnati
in late August, which featured its usual mixture of Holocaust revisionism, World
War II conspiracy theories, and attacks on Jews and Israel. In late November
and December Irving also went on a speaking tour of several US states. Germar
Rudolf, a 39-year-old German who fled to the US after having been convicted in
his native country of defaming the memory of the dead, has also been active.
Since coming to the US in 1999, Rudolf has made technical improvements in the web
operations of several Holocaust deniers, begun producing a series of ‘Holocaust
handbooks’ attempting to deny various aspects of the Holocaust, and has
reanimated Bradley Smith’s short-lived print magazine The Revisionist,
with content translated from foreign-language Holocaust denial publications.
Neither his books nor his magazine, however, appear to be reaching an audience
outside the already committed circles of Holocaust deniers.
US Holocaust deniers, on the
other hand, focused much of their attention in 2003 on the war in Iraq, as well
as on criticism of Israel and American Jews. Though some limited their
criticism to Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, Zionism and neoconservative
‘conspiracies’, others were more explicit in linking their current obsessions to
their beliefs in age-old plots by nefarious Jews inspired by a supremacist
religious doctrine to take over the world and oppress non-Jews.
RESPONSES TO RACISM AND ANTISEMITISM
As of March 2003, forty-six states and the District of
Columbia had penalty-enhanced hate crime laws. The Federal Hate Crime
Statistics Act (HCSA) continues to require the Justice Department to acquire
data on crimes which “manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual
orientation, disability, or ethnicity” from law enforcement agencies across the
country and to publish an annual summary of its findings. In 2002, the FBI
documented 7,462 reported bias-motivated criminal incidents, compared to 9,726
in 2001. Of these, 3,642 were motivated by racial bias; 1,102 by
ethnicity/national origin bias; 1,244 by sexual orientation bias; 1,426 by
religious bias; and 45 occurred against disabled individuals. Of the incidents
motivated by religious bias, 931 (65.3 percent) were directed against Jews and
Jewish institutions; these constituted 12.5 percent of the total number of
reported hate crimes in 2002. In 2001, 1,043 (57.1 percent) incidents motivated
by religious bias, were antisemitic crimes.
No progress was made in 2003 on
passing a comprehensive federal hate crimes law, but a federally-funded youth
hate crime prevention initiative, Partners Against Hate, continues to create
promising training and education initiatives. In October 2003, voters in California
overwhelmingly defeated Proposition 54, the so-called Racial Privacy
Initiative, which would have banned the state from collecting racial data in
all but a few instances. Opponents of the measure had been concerned about the
impact of the initiative on essential hate crime reporting and tracking
The US District Court in Portland, Oregon, sentenced
Martinique Lewis to three years in prison on 2 December 2003, for providing financial support to six men who conspired to help Islamic radicals fighting US
forces in Afghanistan. Lewis, 26, who pleaded guilty to six counts of money
laundering, sent money overseas to members of her group, dubbed the Portland
Seven by the media.
In early 2004 two other members
of the group, which called itself Katibat al-Mawt (Death Squad) were
sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to levy war
against the US. Patrice Lumumba Ford, 32, and Jeffrey Leon Battle, 33,
Martinique Lewis’ ex-husband, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on 16 October 2003. According to transcripts of recorded conversations between the various
suspects, Battle considered killing Jews at a synagogue or Jewish school in Portland.
Another defendant in the case, Ahmad Ibrahim Bilal, referred to Jews as “lampshades,”
a Holocaust reference.
The trial of WCOTC leader Matt
Hale began in April 2004 in Illinois (see above). If convicted of soliciting
murder, Hale would face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum
fine of $250,000; the obstruction of justice count carries a maximum penalty of
10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
White supremacist Michael Edward
Smith was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal weapons and hate crimes
charges on 17 March 2004. Smith was arrested in January 2002 after a motorist
observed Smith pointing an assault rifle at a Nashville synagogue and alerted
police. Smith, who admitted that he had connections to the neo-Nazi National
Alliance and to the Ku Klux Klan, had conducted research on Jewish institutions
in Nashville and Atlanta.