A Radical Electronic Resource . George Bush, anti-Semites and the Big Lie . Chronology of

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From: New York On Line 212-852-2662 A Radical Electronic Resource ======================================= . George Bush, anti-Semites and the Big Lie . Chronology of a Coverup . by Chip Berlet . 9/1/88 . George Bush's plan for a kinder gentler America apparently will be implemented with the help of persons who think the Holocaust is a hoax. When the Bush campaign was revealed as having recruited an ethnic support coalition which included racists, fascists, anti-Semites, Nazi apologists and even aging Nazi collaborators, it responded with a typical and ironically appropriate damage control technique--the Big Lie. It didn't even bother to get its story straight inside the campaign. At various points during the controversy the Bush campaign announced: . * It would investigate the charges. . * It would not investigate the charges. . * It was shocked by the charges. . * It could not be held responsible for screening everyone. . * It was unable to substantiate the charges. . * The unsubstantiated charges were reckless political attacks. . * No one would resign until the charges were substantiated. . * The persons resigning admitted no wrongdoing. . * The anti-Semites had resigned from the campaign. . * The issue was closed. Clearly there are some mutually exclusive positions in the above list, they even might be considered mendacious circumlocutions--in other words... a lie. The charges primarily came from two sources: a report by Detroit-based freelancer Russ Bellant (published by Political Research Associates in Cambridge); and a series of articles by reporter Larry Cohler and Walter Ruby appearing in Washington Jewish Week. Both sources focused on the Bush campaign's recruitment of Eastern European nationalists who had emigrated to the U.S. after World War II, having fled countries such as Latvia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and the Croation section of Yugoslavia. These ethnic activists had gravitated towards the Republican Party due to a shared emphasis on rolling back communism and gaining independence for the nations near the Baltic coast and the Balkans which now are under Soviet domination. Some of these ethnic emigres, who champion "liberation" for these "Captive Nations," had fled their homelands due to their allegiance to Nazi Germany. Their continued support for fascism and anti-Semitic views were aspects of their political work kept hidden while toiling on behalf of George Bush and the Republican Party. A chronological look at the controversy shows how artfully the Bush campaign sidestepped the charges while simultaneously mollifying its Jewish and fascist constituencies. 9/08/88 -- The story surfaces when Washington Jewish Week charges several Bush ethnic advisory committee members are well- known anti-Semites and pro-fascists, including persons who opposed the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation (OSI) probe into emigre Nazi collaborators in the U.S. The article focuses on Bush ethnic advisors Jerome Brentar, Florian Galdau and Philip Guarino. *** Brentar has suggested the OSI search for Nazi war criminals is a communist plot, and worked with groups claiming the Holocaust is a Jewish hoax. *** Galdau is described by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal as the leader of the Romanian pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic movement in New York City. *** Guarino is linked in published accounts to the fascist- oriented P-2 masonic lodge in Italy, and has made racist statements about non-white ethnic minorities. Mark Goodin, spokesperson for Bush campaign, announces "The Reagan-Bush adminstration supports OSI and George Bush will support OSI as president," and pledges the campaign will look into the allegations. "If there is anything to them, we'll take action," said Goodin. James Baker, Bush campaign chairman, adds, "There is no place in this campaign for anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry or people who espouse those views. Any individuals who espouse those views will not be welcome in this campaign." Response in the Jewish community is quick. Henry Siegman, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, says the charges are a "shocking revelation. It suggests a high degree of either insensitivity or incompetence on the part of George Bush's staff. I'm sure George Bush is personally unaware of the sordid personal history of these people. But now that he has been made aware of them we have every right to expect him not only to remove these people but to repudiate what they stand for." Albert Vorspan, senior vice president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations calls the composition of the Coalition "outrageous and frightening. The inclusion of notorious extremists in a committee with such close ties to the vice president violates the principles that George Bush has publicly espoused." Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urges "an immediate investigation by the Bush campaign of the backgrounds of members of the Bush campaign ethnic coalition who are known anti-Semites and have been linked to Holocaust revisionist and anti-OSI (Office of Special Investiations) activities." Foxman adds, "There is no place in any political campaign for anti-Semites. The League urges that these persons be summarily removed." 9/9/88 -- Bush spokesperson Mark Goodin announces Jerome Brentar has resigned, saying Brentar's "association with [convicted Nazi war criminal] John Demjanjuk put him at odds with Vice President Bush." No mention is made of the more substantial charges regarding Brentar. As for Galdau and Guarino, Goodin says, "We have absolutely no substantiation at this point of any of these charges". Michael S. Miller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, however, says his group has information supporting the Washington Jewish Week descriptions of Jerome Brentar, Florian Galdau and Philip Guarino. "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that these three individuals have expressed sympathies with Nazism, with fascism," Miller tell the New York Times. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is also cited by the Times as having corroborating background material. 9/10/88 -- The Philadelphia Inquirer runs an article by David Lee Preston which corroborates much of the material in Washington Jewish Week. Preston also cites the Bellant report which describes how the Republican Party has been recruiting ethnic facists, racists and anti-Semites for over 20 years, through its Heritage Groups Council. The Bellant report includes a photo of George Bush on the campaign trail at a July 1988 event co-sponsored by a pro-Nazi group, the anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. Also reproduced is a 1984 Republican ethnic pride calendar which urges the celebration of "Croation Independence Day." The Croation state was run by a Nazi-puppet government which oversaw the slaughter of over 500,000 Serbians and Jews. 9\11\88 -- The Washington Post carries a story on how Bush advisor Fred Malek, who, while serving as an aide to President Nixon, had compiled lists of employees with "Jewish-sounding" names -- names of persons Nixon suspected were part of a "Jewish Cabal" at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Malek resigns from Bush campaign almost immediately. 9/12/88 -- The Bush campaign announces five more resignations in addition to Brentar, in a stated effort to prevent Bush from being hurt by "politically motivated attacks." The statement of resignation issued on behalf of the five panel members says in part, "We have been attacked unfairly by George Bush's political opponents. These...attacks are aimed at neutralizing the support George Bush has and will continue to have in the ethnic community." In addition to Brentar, who previously had resigned, the five new resigness include Galdau and Guarino as well as Ignatius Billinsky, Laszlo Pasztor, and Bohdan Fedorak. *** Billinsky, a long-time critic of OSI, is president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America which Bellant desribes as "heavily influenced but not totally controlled by" anti-Semites, collaborators with Hitler, and apologists for Nazism. *** Pasztor, who recruited many of the ethnic leaders with questionable backgrounds for the Republican Heritage Groups Council, himself briefly served during World War II as an official in a Nazi-collaborationist Hungarian government controlled by an anti-Semitic organization, the Arrow Cross. *** Fedorak, also a leading critic of OSI, hosted the July 1988 campaign appearance by George Bush co-sponsored by a pro- Nazi group. Mark Goodin, spokesperson for Bush, dismisses these charges as "little more than politically-inspired garbage...the campaign looked into the allegations against these individuals and was unable to substantiate them." Bush responds to reporters questions by saying: "Nobody's giving in. These people left of their own volition. We're not accusing anybody of anything....We're getting into a very peculiar deal where some people are accusing people...I don't like it a bit." A few days later, Radi Slavoff, national co-chairman of Bulgarians for Bush, becomes the last ethnic panel member to resign. *** Slavoff is charged with working in a national front which was aligned with Nazis, and heading up the Heritage Groups Council which has become a safe harbor for anti-Semites and pro- Nazis emigres. 9/15/88 -- With the resignations out of the way, the Bush counterattack begins. Bush spokesperson Mark Goodin denounces Bush's political enemies for disseminating "reckless allegations" Although he claims the Bush campaign has not seen the Bellant report, Goodin says "The campaign has been unable to substantiate any of the allegations...They are some of the most reckless allegations levelled against anybody....This has the unmistakable stink of Boston Harbor." Bush campaign supporters begin to refer to the charges as "Sasso-like attacks," and tell reporters the Bellant report is part of a Dukakis dirty-tricks effort. In fact, Political Research Associates has no ties to the Dukakis campaign, but the smear sticks, and most major media drop the story. The charges in Bellant's report are not covered in the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, or United Press International. For most of the country the story never happened. For those newspapers still covering the story, the Bush campaign's lies begin to unravel. Washington Jewish Week reports that Florian Galdau says he had never been asked to resign and had no intention of doing so. According to the newspaper, Galdau "said he had never signed a statement issued by the Bush campaign in his name and that of four others whose resignations the campaign announced." Says Galdau, "I did not resign. Why should I resign? I don't want to resign. I was appointed [to the Bush committee]...and I don't think they have the right to ask me to resign." Galdau's son, Florin: "[The Bush campaign] called my father [on Sept. 12] and denied they had any information whatsoever on any of the allegations made [against] him. Neither [the caller] or anyone else in the Bush campaign asked my father to resign-- and he did not resign...If they ask him to resign, he will tell them to go to hell." Meanwhile on a Cable Network News program Jerome Brentar insists he never resigned from the Bush ethnic panel; and he denies that the Nazis deliberately gassed Jews during the Holocaust. Bush spokesperson David Sandor quickly responds: "This is obviously in conflict with what we have said. We stand by what we have said....We didn't force them to resign....George Bush is their friend. They will continue to support him. They stand by their statement." 9/16/88 -- Jerome A. Brentar tells the Philadelphia Inquirer he is "definitely still in the campaign, still in the coalition....I was asked to step down. I told them that I'll step down if they send me a letter outlining why I have to step down, what I did wrong to earn this degradation....Until I get such a letter, I feel I'm still part of the Coalition." The Bush campaign finally takes its only stand relating to the actual issues involved, and issues the following statement: "Jerome Brentar and this campaign disagreed....We were at fundamental odds over some very important beliefs in this campaign toward racial and religious tolerance, and he was asked to step down....as far as we're concerned he's no longer part of this campaign." 9/18/88 -- Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Lee Preston demolishes more Bush campaign lies. He notes that since 1969, several dozen alleged Nazis, fascists and anti-Semites have held leadership posts in the Heritage Groups Council. He quotes Allan A. Ryan, Jr. (now with the legal office of Harvard University but formerly director of the Justice Department's OSI war criminal probe) as saying he had read Bellant's report and found it to be "well documented and reliable." Preston also reports that in 1972 a convicted Nazi war criminal Boleslavs Maikovskis of Minneola, N.Y. served on the advisory board of the Latvian-American section of the Republican's Heritage Council for the Re-Election of the President. 9/22/88 -- In Washington Jewish Week the Republican National Committee's Kathryn Murray admiting she has not read the evidence contained in the Bellant report, but claims the report is "filled with ridiculous charges" and "insults all ethnic Americans." Murray says the RNC has no intention of examining evidence of the extremist background presented against anyone in the report. The paper, however, reports ADL has evidence backing charges against four of the persons resigning from Bush campaign. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quotes Albert Maruggi, RNC press secretary, saying there were no plans to investigate the backgrounds of any of the ethnic group members cited in the Bellant report. Incredibly, four of the Bush ethnic panel members who resigned, Guarino, Slavoff, Galdau, and Pasztor, are still active in the RNC's Heritage Group's Council. 9/27/88 -- The Boston Herald carries an Alan Dershowitz column where Dershowitz reveals he has independent knowledge of some of Bellant's charges. "I first heard about the presence of Nazis in the hierarchy of the Republican Party as far back as 1970" In the course of working on the New York governor's race, Dershowitz says he "learned that several members of a Republican `Captive Nations Committee' were Nazi sympathizers who had been personally involved in the Holocaust in Europe, as well as with racist and neo-Nazi groups in America." New York Post columnist Pete Hamill in a column titled "George Bush and his fascist fan club" quotes Menachem Rosensaft, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance and leader of the International Network of Children of the Holocaust: "He accepted their resignations. And he said he was against anti-Semitism. But when they were gone, an aide said the charges against these men were `unsubstantiated and politically motivated.' Clearly Bush wanted them out once they were exposed, but he still wants the votes of their constituency." 9/29/88 -- Ron Kauffman, Northeast political director for Bush Campaign tells the Jewish Advocate newspaper the Bellant report is "totally outrageous." Mark Goodin, Bush Campaign spokesman, denounces Bellant's report and says people who voluntary resigned from campaign "vigorously defended" themselves against the charges. "We were not able to substantiate any of the allegations...These individuals maintain fierce opposition to the charges. We certainly accept that explanation." So the Bush campaign has come full circle to a total whitewash of the allegations. Just last week author Charles R. Allen Jr., an expert on the emigre Nazi network, questioned the candor of Bush when he "professed ignorance of [the] pro-Nazi backgrounds" of the ethnic campaign supporters. Allen produced a 1983 photograph of George Bush shaking hands with Yaroslav Stetsko, then leader of the pro-Nazi Anti-bolshevik Bloc of Nations. The photo was taken at a White House reception. Bush signed the photo: "To the Honorable Yaroslav Stetsko with best wiches - George Bush." Allen also produced a 1976 RNC memo in which Bush, as RNC Chair, is reported to have reviewed the past work of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and set goals for the coming year. What Allen, Bellant and other critics conclude is that if George Bush becomes President he will continue to collaborate with Nazi collaborators, anti-Semites, fascists and racists as long as their hard-line anti-communism is useful to the Republican Party and a militant foreign policy. This is a story that has been widely ignored. Other than the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer, no major newspaper or electronic news organization has covered the story in depth. ADL's Boston director Leonard Zakim is concerned about the situation. Zakim says that if in fact the Bush campaign has never completely investigated the charges concerning the Republican ethnic advisors as requested by ADL, then he is "extremely unsatisfied with that response." "The ADL is very clear in demanding a full explanation take place, these charges are extremely serious and we expect the response to be equally serious. We are very disturbed that spokespersons for the Bush camp did not see fit to repudiate in full those individuals whose stateed views are offensive," says Zakim. "We don't see this as a Jewish issue. When charges like these are raised, all people should be concerned. It shouldn't only be Jewish organizations calling on the political campaigns to deal with issues of racism and anti-Semitism, but all persons of good conscience." --------------------------------------------- Chip Berlet, a journalist and paralegal investigator, is an analyst at Political Research Associates (PRA) and secretary of the National Lawyers Guild CIvil Liberites Committee. For a copy of the Bellant report, send $6.50 (includes postage) to PRA, 678 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 205, Cambridge, MA 02139.


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