Neo-Nazis Trash Israel by Jo Freeman
Aug. 24 2002— Several hundred neo-Nazis demonstrated on the West
Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. demanding withdrawal
of all U.S. support of Israel. Organized by the National Alliance, which
was founded in 1974 to promote the white race, demonstrators also demanded
a separate white state and denounced “forced diversity.” Swastika
flags were vastly outnumbered by those with the National Alliance symbol
Across the street, separated by a moat of stone walls, plastic fences
and police, a couple hundred counter-demonstrators shouted their opposition.
Each side tried to out-shout the other, but given the distance between
them it was impossible for either to hear what the other had to say —
not that they wanted to.
The counter-protestors were organized and recruited by the Progressive
Labor Party, a small Maoist group founded in the 1960s, and the International
Socialist Organization. While they carried signs saying “Smash the
Nazis” they agreed with them that the Israeli occupation of Palestine
should end. Both wanted to “Free Palestine from its Israeli Concentration
Off on the edge of these highly vocal but small demonstrations two people
held up a sign saying “Zionists Against Nazis.” Neither were
Jews. Half a dozen anarchists also joined in; identifiable by their fashion statement of black clothes and facial bandannas, despite the 90-degree heat.
Many of the neo-Nazis also wore black and some wore dark suits, but none
covered their faces. All were white; 80 percent were male; quite a few
were well-tattooed. The counter-protestors were about 80 percent white,
with only a few tattoos; half were female.
Over a thousand police outnumbered the demonstrators by two-to-one. There
are numerous separate police forces in Washington, D.C. The National Capitol
Police encircled the demonstration on the Capitol lawn, while the Park
Police and the D.C. police escorted the counter-protestors to and from
their place on the Mall via a separate route. When their routes brought
the two groups within shouting distance of each other they were separated
by a line of police horses as well as one of officers on foot.
Neo-Nazis are not new. George Lincoln Rockwell founded the American Nazi
Party in 1959. He was assassinated in 1967, and the ANP became pretty much
of a shell, doing little more than collecting dues and publishing magazines.
Its place as chief organizer of right-wing anti-Semitism was taken by
the National Alliance, founded by William Pierce, a former physics professor
and ANP supporter, as an expansion of a youth group he founded four years
earlier. Pierce, who died last July 23 of cancer, was the author of The
Turner Diaries, a novel describing a violent race war in the U.S. The
FBI said Timothy McVeigh was inspired by the book. It gave him the idea
of bombing the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which killed
From its headquarters in rural West Virginia, the NA sells books, pamphlets,
videos and music promoting white separatism. Estimates of the income from
these enterprises range from one to two million dollars a year. It admits
that its membership declined in the 1980s, but says it has grown considerably
in the last few years, although it won’t release actual figures.
A count of demonstrators as they marched out of the west lawn came to
444 (plus the counter). The NA claims members in 21 states.
The NA differs from the ANP in its greater emphasis on hatred of Jews,
and its belief that all things bad in the U.S. happen because “our
leaders let Israel control them and drain our wealth.” The ANP,
while certainly anti-Semitic, gave top priority to denouncing blacks.
The NA produces and sells a video game called Ethnic Cleansing, about
“urban warfare between whites and non-whites.” But to win,
the player has to find and assassinate Israel’s prime minister,
Ariel Sharon. The ANP wanted to send blacks back to Africa or limit them
to small reservations. The NA wants whites — defined as gentiles of wholly
European ancestry — to have separate enclaves.
Like many other groups, the NA is capitalizing on the War on Terrorism
to push its own causes. The permit for Saturday’s demonstration
was made out to Taxpayers against Terrorism. Like many on the Left, the
NA asserts that “Israel’s terrorist actions against the Palestinians
and others are the direct cause of acts of terrorism against the United
Resources for studying Neo-Nazi extremism:
Anti-Defamation League —
Founded in 1913 to fight anti-semitism, the ADL maintains a detailed
database of hate groups.
Tolerance — A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center,
Teaching Tolerance has excellent curricula and activities for teachers
Wiesenthal Center — Founded by a Holocaust survivor, the Wiesensthal
Center in Los Angeles has extensive resources for researching hate groups.
Much of this material is available through their website.