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In-Depth Interview: Historian/Author Stuart Wexler links anti-Semitic Violence to Christian Identity Movement

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Stuart Wexler has been studying American hate groups for decades, and explains recent and past links of Christian Identity extremists with violence against Jews and Blacks.Wexler is the author of America’s Secret Jihad: The Hidden History of Religious Terrorism in the United States and co-author with Larry Hancock of Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King, Jr.  Read his recent commentary that we discuss here.

We open with discussion of the April 27 attack on the synagogue in Poway, CA and the suspect, John Earnest, who attended the local Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the mass shooting at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, where Robert Bowers is charged with 11 murders.  Wexler offers evidence that both men were motivated in part by Christian Identity screeds.

Wexler traces the history of white Christian leaders, like Hollywood-based radio evangelist Wesley Swift, who were proponents of racist and anti-Semitic beliefs, and we also touch on the Catholic demagogue and radio preacher Father Coughlin, as well as Henry Ford and other figures.

Wexler adds to PBC’s knowledge of Cointelpro, the FBI operation that not only infiltrated and broke up 1960’s black nationalist groups, it also used the same tactics on white hate groups.

Near the end, we discuss how serious, deadly incidents of anti-Semitism are trivialized by frequent charges of anti-Semitism leveled at political speech that’s critical of Israel, including the recent controversial Tweets by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).