Monday, February 22, 2010

Naomi Litvin: The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 3

This is Part 3 of my series: The John Birch Society. Click the links below to read my previous posts.

The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 1
The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 2


I was frustrated and also a little worried about Part 3 of this John Birch Society series. The whole subject was starting to sound old and boring, with CPAC grinding along. I was monitoring tweets in two search columns on Tweedeck: one was John Birch Society, and the other was CPAC. All I was getting was hysterical tweets from lefty baby boomers who had suddenly sobered up and realized that the JBS has co-sponsored the conservative's CPAC convention. Seeing Rachel Maddow shmoozing it up at the John Birch Society Booth only revealed a few silly items, like JBS had a nice shiny booth and Rachel was acting like an idiot.

I had been reading books about the John Birch Society from 'special order' at the library. They were interesting, albeit pretty musty smelling, and chock full of Bircher material from the 1960's. I needed something fresh, something to get my juices flowing, something that I could get some shock and awe out of. Nothing much was happening. Yes, Glenn Beck likes the JBS. And yes, Ron Paul won the straw vote and he is a JBS man, too. Nothing much was jumping out at me, if you know what I mean.

I needed a break, so I picked up Libby Kahane's book about her husband Rabbi Meir Kahane, Volume One and started up reading where I had last left off. Suddenly there was just what I needed. Rabbi Meir Kahane worked for the FBI as an undercover agent inside the John Birch Society under the pseudonym of Michael King.

Then, when the John Birch Society had tweeted me up, I couldn't help from feeling pleased about that . After the shock settled in that they had noticed me, I was re-energized and ready to keep going on this!

The_JBS: If you're going to CPAC today, stop at Booth 706/708. Talk to Andy Dlinn, an outspoken JBS Chapter Leader and Jewish member.

NaomiLitvin : Don't understand: are you saying you have a 'Jewish' division in the John Birch Society?

The_JBS: Just saying that we welcome those of all races and creeds. According to your blog, you're curious about JBS.

Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought - Volume One: 1932-1975
Libby Kahane

Libby Kahane: ..."Another project concerned the John Birch Society. This ultraconservative, anti-Communist, anti-Semitic group was gaining support all over the country. During the 1960s it had about 100,000 members and extended its influence through a chain of 400 bookstores. Meir had written about the danger to Jews posed by the Birch Society in 1963*...

Meir Kahane: The F.B.I ... to [its] credit, was intensely worried about the Birchers. They sensed a threat to the democratic structure. They asked our group to research the Birchers and find out whatever we could about them: where they were getting their money, who their backers were, their philosophers, their writers and what constituted their appeal in their mushrooming growth ... The fact that the Birchers, and others of their ilk, could thrive during a period of relative prosperity (actually it was an affluent period) made me worry: What would happen during economic depression when a scapegoat is needed for the hardships and deprivations of the masses?*

Libby Kahane: In a project funded by a "law enforcement wing of the government," Meir joined and infiltrated the John Birch Society. In a 1972 radio interview, he said: "I spent two years with them trying to find out their sources of income, which I did."*

*There are 181 pages of detailed footnotes in Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought - Volume One: 1932 - 1975

Meir Kahane
State University.com
"Kahane was as a consultant with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). His assignment was to infiltrate the right-wing, ant-Semitic John Birch Society and report his findings back to the FBI. For this position Kahane took on the false name Michael King and spent nearly two and a half years posing as a Christian, learning all he could about the John Birch Society."

Peddlers of Fear:
"A rally in Boston in July, 1966 was the scene for a vicious smear attack on Jewry
by Doctor Revilo P. Oliver, a member of the National Council of the John Birch Society since its founding, a contributing editor of the American Opinion, with a long record of anti-Semitic activities. For more than an hour, Oliver ranted to his ultra right wing audience that the "conspiracy of the Jews" presented "the conspiracy of the Illuminati and the Communists" and that it had helped produce "the evils of today" which he enumerated as being "degenerates, scum, dregs, savages, desperate screaming enemies, cockroaches, mobs, parasites and lazy illegitimates."
"Welch was a leading figure at the rally. Simply stated, therefore, the John Birch Society has become a safe harbor for anti-Semites. It condones anti-Semitism and anti-Semites, providing them with captive audiences to present their warped and unsound views on the national loyalty and integrity of the Jew and Judaism. Perhaps Welch might claim to be an unwilling fellow traveler with the anti-Semitic lunatic fringe; however, the record of his past performance leaves reason to doubt his ability to control his followers who use the Society to further their blasphemous vilification of the Jew and his faith."

Buckley And The Jews
The Jewish Press
Jason Maoz

"Among his many other accomplishments, William F. Buckley Jr. made the conservative movement a far less forbidding place for Jews."

"Conservatism in the early 1960's was, fairly or not, largely defined in the Jewish mind as a downscale hothouse of paranoia, racism and resentment fronted by such figures as the Christian Crusader Rev. Billy James Hargis, the anti-Semitic columnist Westbrook Pegler and, of course, Robert Welch, whose John Birch Society was never officially racist or anti-Semitic but attracted a fair number of those who could accurately be classified as such."

The Daily Beast
Return of the Fright Wing
by John Avlon
"The Birchers have tried to rebrand themselves without changing their essential message, with a slick new Web site featuring a multicultural set of children emblazoned with American flags, announcing that they are simply “Standing for Family and Freedom.” But inside, the forums offer support for the 9/11 Truth-associated Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina and tales that “the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‘collapse of communism’ were not planned and implemented by the Soviet Union’s KGB ...”

Adding to bibliography:
Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought
Volume One 1932 - 1975
Libby Kahane
Jerusalem
5768/2008

Comments are welcome. 
Let's keep the conversation going. I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg on the subject. 
Please help me decipher further what is going on here with the return of the John Birch Society.
I'd like to thank Ernie1241 for his work on the John Birch Society and comments on Part 2