Like many show biz extravaganzas in this town, a promised summit meeting of black and white racists and Holocaust revisionists here Saturday did not live up to its advance billing.
Only three of the promised 13 speakers and about 15 listeners showed up, who were well outnumbered by reporters and television crews ready to cover the “ecumenical hate-fest” anticipated by Anti-Defamation League officials.
Missing was the expected star of the afternoon, Professor Leonard Jeffries of the African-American studies department at the City University of New York, whose list of alleged Jewish conspiracies ranges from control of the colonial slave trade to denigration of black characters in Hollywood movies.
Also absenting himself was Willis Carto, founder of the white racist and anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby.
What the meeting inside the 400-seat hall lacked in numbers and volume was made up by 300 noisy protesters outside, with bullhorns, banners and placards.
They displayed and shouted such slogans as “No Nazis, No KKK, No Racism” and “KKK Out of L.A.” One Jewish participant wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a yellow star and the words “Auschwitz, Never Again.”
The protesters, mainly blacks but also some whites and Hispanics, identified with a bewildering number of organizations, reminiscent of the 1960s, including the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement, L.A. Radical Women, International Committee Against Racism and People Against Racist Terror.
Makungu Akinyela, spokesman for the Malcolm X group, told a street corner news conference, “We have learned from history that advocacy of white privilege and Aryan supremacy will ultimately lead to the genocides of African, Latino, Indian and other ‘non-Aryan’ people.”
17 PROTESTERS ARRESTED
As the protests became more intense, foot and mounted police in riot gear cordoned off the meeting hall and street approaches, and later spirited some of the speakers to safety. Seventeen protesters were arrested.
The conference was organized by the Cosmopolitan Brotherhood Association, a black nationalist and separatist group, purportedly to discuss constitutional rights of free speech and to question the uniqueness and veracity of the Holocaust.
It was left largely to two speakers to carry the conference message. Robert Brock, president of the Cosmopolitan Brotherhood, advocated reparations and self-determination for African-Americans and complained bitterly that on one paid attention to what he called the black holocaust.
“Blacks worked for 245 years and didn’t get paid. You don’t see that in the papers, you only read about Nazis and Jews,” he said. Brock claimed that whites had spread syphilis among slaves by forcing black women to breed with dogs and that “there were 110 million slaves and the Jews brought most of them here.”
Jews and liberals were also blamed by Brock for foisting racial integration on America.
Under questioning, Brock ascribed the no show of Jeffries, as well as the absence of an unidentified Jewish participant, to the machinations of the all-powerful ADL. He also lashed out against the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The more traditional Holocaust revisionist theme was propounded by Mark Weber, publications editor of the Institute for Historical Review.
While Jews experienced great suffering and persecution under Adolf Hitler, there was no German policy to exterminate Jews, gas chambers never existed, and the figure of 6 million Jewish victims was highly exaggerated, Weber claimed.
Dee Fields, a South African-born advocate of apartheid, was also scheduled to speak, but left the hall before her turn came up, surrounded by a protective police wedge. She was accompanied by her husband, Joe Fields, a leader of the Populist Party, which has been tied to Louisiana state Rep. David Duke, a white supremacist who is now running for president.
The couple held an impromptu news conference before the meeting. Dee Fields remarked, “What I object about the Jews is that they say (about the Holocaust) ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget’ I think that’s a very un-Christian attitude.”
Joe Fields said that although his Populist Party is fielding its own presidential candidate, he would urge his followers in Los Angeles to throw their weight behind Republican conservative candidate Pat Buchanan, because “he has a better chance of being elected.”
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.