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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Militant Jewish group seeks to block N.C. gathering of white supremacists

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A militant Jewish group has been calling Charlotte hotels in an effort to block a planned February gathering by white supremacists, even as a coalition of anarchists and liberal groups plans its own protest.

The Jewish Defense Organization is threatening to boycott any hotel that hosts American Renaissance magazine’s Feb. 4-6 conference. A JDO spokesman said Monday it had called 40 hotels in search of the conference site

The JDO website describes American Renaissance as "a collection of Jew-Hating and racist neo-Nazi & KKK."

Renaissance editor Jared Taylor, who hasn’t announced the site, dismissed the criticism.

"These people are just goofy," he said. "They have this weird notion that we’re anti-Semites, neo-Nazis ... I don’t know where they get this crazy bee in their bonnet."

Marilyn Mayo tracks both groups as a director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

"You have one extremist group fighting another extremist group," she said. "In fact, the American Renaissance is not a neo-Nazi group. It’s a racist group."

American Renaissance is a publication of the nonprofit New Century Foundation. According to its website, the group advocates "race realism," a belief that race is "the most prominent and divisive" fault line in society.

Taylor said he expects 200 people at the conference, the venue of which his website says will be announced just before the event "in order to ensure security."

JDO spokesman Jeff Klein said his group takes credit for forcing the cancellation of past Renaissance conferences. He said none of the 40 hotels it checked with said they had booked the group.


"We’re hoping, God willing, the thing gets canceled," Klein said.

The Jewish Defense Organization is an offshoot of the Jewish Defense League. According to Mayo, "they advocate a militant Jewish nationalism as a means to protect the Jewish people."

Meanwhile, a Durham, N.C.-based group called the Southern Anti-Racism Network is planning its own protest of American Renaissance.

Organizer Theresa El-Amin said she expects a coalition of groups from as far as Alabama and Baltimore to attend a peaceful Feb. 5 protest. One of the groups is Anti-Racist Action, whose website says doesn’t "rely on the cops to do our work for us."

"The cops uphold white supremacy and the status quo," the website says. "They attack us and everyone who resists oppression. We must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists."

Last week, local NAACP President Kojo Nantambu alluded to the American Renaissance conference at a rally to protest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ decision to use the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a makeup day for students. The conference, he said, shows "how wicked Charlotte is."

Taylor said it’s "contemptible" that any group would try to stifle the American Renaissance conference.

"We’re a nonprofit, legal organization," he said. "We take positions that some people may find controversial. But does that mean people should be trying to shut us up (and) prevent us from meeting?"

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