“International Communist Jews” and the owners of “false money systems” are being blamed by rightwing extremists and pseudo-ministers preaching the gospel of the radical right for the crisis afflicting farmers in the Midwest plains states.
“You wonder why you’re losing your farms and your ranches and businesses out there,” an unidentified “preacher” tells farmers on an ABC News “20/20” segment. “Because your minister has lied to you concerning a bunch of international Communist Jews that have stripped your wealth and your land.”
According to correspondent Geraldo Rivera, farm protests have until recently “carried no particular ideological or political labels.” But, he declared, “a group of pseudo-ministers preaching the gospel of the radical right have been attempting to parley this farmer frustration into increased following for their cause.”
A transcript of the “20/20” segment, “The Seeds of Hate,” was made available to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. It is scheduled for broadcast this Thursday. Produced by Bob Lange, the segment is described as “a look at the growing movement in the farm belt of right wing armed militant farmers fighting the big banks.”
The rightwing extremist groups focused on by Rivera in the 20/20 documentary include the Aryan Nations based in Idaho; the Posse Comitatus of Wisconsin; the Convenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord in Arkansas, and others. All are loosely connected, though they share a common racist ideology as preached by the Identity Movement.
FINDING A SCAPEGOAT
Sam Van Pelt, a retired Nebraska State judge involved in the investigation of the violent death of a farmer, said that the continuing farm crisis had led farmers to blaming — “scapegoating” — “either the bankers or the lawyers or the Jews or some sort of international conspiracy” for their plight.
Rivera interviewed Pastor Dave Maroteck of the Identity Movement in Wisconsin on the teachings and views espoused by the sect. Maroteck, expressing revisionist ideology, said of the Holocaust: “Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. And I’m not saying there were six million Jews. I don’t believe it ever happened. They didn’t kill six million Jews, no way. Maybe a couple of ’em got eliminated.”
Continuing, he said, “And you want — what I like is that — the other races or Christian people gobble that up daily. I think that’s great. If they reso gullible, they — to suck up that garbage everyday, fine. And then I’m a racist and I’m a — I’m a Nazi or whatever, I don’t really give a good rip.”
Also during the 20/20 program, Rivera confirms the huge stockpiling of weapons by the extremist rightwing groups in the Midwest. An undercover informant is quoted in the transcript as saying, “If they do decide to get real violent, let me assure you they’ve got you outgunned ….”
Last May, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith issued a report detailing the background and activities of “an underground network of armed racists and anti-Semites” employing gangster and terrorist tactics, and estimated nationwide membership of these organizations in the range of 2,500-3,000 persons.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.