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May 12, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-05-12

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Community Views

r The Militia Movement:
Four-Pronged Approach


I have achieved troops (most under the authori- mies." "Mark of Michigan" (Mark
my "15 minutes in ty of the United Nations) and ul- Koernke), who has received so
the limelight" that timately send loyal Americans much publicity, is affiliated with
Andy Warhol pre- into concentration and labor the Christian Identity Move-
dicted for every hu- camps. Thus, the last resources ment.
man being. My on which the citizens can count
A third thread is a hate and ex-
words or my image are organized bands of armed cit- tremist group called Posse Comi-
have been spread izens who will be at the barri- tatus, which means "Power to the
across the world cades to prevent these tragic Country." For them, the only le-
(although I can't occurrences. To this can be added gitimate official in the United
guarantee that they were seen or an almost infinite variety of in- States is the county sheriff (who
heard or read).
tellectual and rhetorical "wrin- if he betrays you should be sub-
Indeed, for the past couple of kles" attesting to the venality of ject to revolver justice). All oth-
weeks I, like my ADL colleagues the government and government ers, especially the federal officials,
across the country, have handled officials.
are illegitimate. When you hear
literally 100 media inquiries a
Depending on how one ana- about people refusing to buy li-
day as the media quite properly lyzes the groups, there are either cense plates, pay taxes, get a dri-
picked apart every scintilla of three or four separate currents ver's license, etc., the probability
minutia which might have a which — after the acceptance of is they are or are influenced by
bearing on the terrible and trag- the basic philosophy above — dis- Posse Comitatus and its rhetoric.
ic terrorist bombing in Oklahoma tinguish the militias.
Posse also liberally sprinkles its
The first is the John Birch So- messages with exposing Jews,
While John Doe 1 or 2 or 3 or ciety, whose organization and blacks and other minorities as
4 or 5 may have been the indi- philosophy occupy one group. In- "the problem."
vidual focus, the institutional vil- deed, Norman Olsen, recently re-
A fourth component is what is
lain in all of this was "the
called "unorganized militia."
Militia." And so it might be
One of Mark Koernke's oper-
timely to discuss the fact that
ations is called Michigan Mili-
there isn't a militia, but sev-
tia At Large. That's the
eral. Indeed, there are four
purpose of his messages "shot-
separate threads which run
gunned" across the country via
throughout the militia move-
short-wave radio and the In-
ment. To be sure, one thread
ternet. Mr. Koernke's militia
runs through all of them: that
and his broadcasts to an
the government is engaged in
audience reflect
a huge conspiracy against the
a "leaderless cell," one that
isn't formally organized and
This conspiracy has been
doesn't hold meetings. Such
going on for years, and the
cannot be infiltrated
tragic event at the Branch
and no single group could be
Davidian compound in Waco
held responsible nor their lead-
two years ago was the first or-
ers charged with crimes.
ganized strike of the govern-
Militias, essentially cyclical
ment against the citizenry.
in nature, have been around
This was followed up by the
for quite a while; what we are
killing of the wife and child of
seeing is only their most recent
a white separatist (who, it just
re-incarnations. But conspir-
happens, was resisting arrest
acy theories have been around
by the FBI executing felony
for centuries, although the
warrants against him) — a
paranoid relationships to gov-
thinly veiled excuse to justify
ernment are almost exclu-
government murder.
sively an American
This was followed up by the
equally thin-veiled excuse to
There will always be those
disarm American citizens by
who see themselves beset by
passage of the anti-crime bill
secret and evil forces and who
which outlawed certain weapons signed head of the Michigan
organize to save the rest of
and made purchase of others Militia, is a member of the John
slightly more inconvenient. (It Birch Society and attends its the world which is too ignorant
doesn't matter that the anti- meetings. The John Birch Soci- or too uncaring to know what is
crime bill did almost nothing to ety message is not a hate mes- "really going on."
There will always be their
disarm citizens, including the fact sage (unless one counts hating
handmaidens, the Mark Ko-
that it did not make it illegal to the federal government).
purchase automatic weapons,
The second thread is a hate ernkes of the world, who make
only those manufactured after message. A hate group called the their livings assuring their fold
a certain date, and even today Christian Identity Movement that it's "us or them."
It will always be so until the
there is a very brisk business of best illustrates it. (In Montana
voice of the American
buying and selling automatic and and elsewhere, the Christian
semi-automatic weapons and Identity message is delivered people rises up in outrage and in-
their bullet magazines.)
through Aryan Nations.) Iden- dignation; until America rejects
Further, the argument goes, tity believes that people of color, passivity and inaction, supports
the government is engineering a whom they call the "Mud People" democratic organizations, votes
fiscal crisis (to occur in 1996) to who have come to earth through and otherwise behaves in ways
create national chaos which will the netherworlds below, are agi- which underscore, not under-
serve as the excuse to occupy our tated by the satanic Jews who mine, democracy; commits itself
towns and cities with foreign manipulate them to cause all our to solutions, not blame; and dri-
troubles. Identity advocates arm- ves these paranoid voices of doom
Richard Lobenthal is the director
ing oneself, being prepared to either back into the fold or back
of the Anti-Defamation League
barricade oneself and ultimately under the rocks from which they
in Michigan.
doing violence against "the ene- crawled.

Editor's Notebook

The Machers


Looking through
some of the back
issues of The
Jewish News is
akin to reading a
history book. Not
only does one
read about the
11 Holocaust as it
AL-4A was happening
and World War II as it was hap-
pening, there was also extensive
coverage of the establishment of
the State of Israel.
If anything, these old pages
show a strong and loyal dedica-
tion of Detroit's Jewish commu-
nity to Israel. The front page
headline on the May 21, 1948,
Jewish News read, 'We Acclaim
the Reborn State of Israel and
the First Provisional President
of Israel, Dr. Chaim Weizmann."
On the very next page was an

Maple-Drake Jewish Commu-
nity Center.
The event, which will be pre-
viewed in our May 19 edition,
will include a 3.5-mile walk of
solidarity, picnic foods and plen-
ty of entertainment though the
For the Hermelins, the event
answers important questions
covering the current state of Di-
aspora-Israel relations. In 1948,
22,000 jammed Central High,
and as recently as 1991, 3,500
Detroiters packed Shaarey
Zedek to show support for Israel
during the Persian Gulf War.
The question the Hermelins
pondered was the need for the
dramatic, the urgent, to get and
keep Jews interested in what
was going on in Israel. The oth-
er issue brought up was the very
need for an event here in Detroit

Walking for Israel. Everyone is a "macher."

article of how 22,000 Detroiters
assembled at Central High School
for this city's first-ever Israel In-
dependence Day celebration. The
place was so overcrowded that
thousands were turned away.
David Hermelin was at that
rally as a youth. He said he re-
members watching the "mach-
ers" as they led the day's
Now, Mr. Hermelin and his
wife, Doreen, are the "machers."
They are the general chairmen
for the May 21 Israel Fest,
marking the 47th anniversary
of the State of Israel at the

to celebrate a connection with
Israel. Many in our community
are bored with the traditional
walk, and surveys have shown
that younger American Jews
have less of a "sense of owner-
ship" when it comes to the State
of Israel.
"As the Jewish community
starts to move into a new sort of
relationship with Israel, some
of the events that we are spon-
soring carry with them more
symbolism and point more to-
ward terms oflinkage," said Mr.
Hermelin. "There's a different


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