The Southern Poverty Legislation Heart has lengthy performed the position of ideological enforcer, branding conservative critics of the Left’s ideology “haters” on the extent of the Ku Klux Klan. However just lately, the SPLC more and more seems to even have boots on the bottom at leftist protests that skirt the boundaries of the legislation.
The SPLC has an extended historical past of carrying water for Antifa rioters, however this yr, one of many group’s personal attorneys received arrested for home terrorism at an Antifa riot in Atlanta. Now, it appears one other SPLC lawyer could have helped arrange the arguably anti-Israel protest on Wednesday that occupied the rotunda of one of many buildings on Capitol Hill that homes workplaces of members of Congress, the Cannon Home Workplace Constructing.
Massive crowds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered to demand a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that runs the federal government within the Gaza Strip. Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing greater than 1,400 individuals—together with civilians and even infants—and taking almost 200 hostages. Israel declared struggle and has urged individuals in Gaza to evacuate to allow Israel to wipe out Hamas whereas minimizing civilian casualties.
The protesters took over the Cannon rotunda, demanding a cease-fire. Police had erected fencing across the U.S. Capitol complicated however protesters labored their method into the Cannon constructing. They sat down, holding banners studying, “Ceasefire,” “Let Gaza stay,” and “Mourn the useless and struggle like hell for the dwelling.”
A cease-fire sounds noble, however the requires cease-fire come within the wake of Hamas’ horrific terrorist assault, when Israel remains to be recovering and figuring out mutilated our bodies, and when Hamas continues to carry between 200 and 250 hostages. Would these protesters demand a cease-fire on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor?
On Wednesday, U.S. Capitol Police confirmed to The Each day Sign that they’d arrested 308 individuals on the protest. They arrested 305 for illegally demonstrating inside a congressional constructing and three for assault towards a police officer. The Capitol Police haven’t responded to requests for remark in regards to the SPLC lawyer’s involvement.
Amid the chaos, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shared a photograph of a protester’s telephone. That photograph reveals a chat entitled “World Intifada.” Intifada means “revolt” or “rebellion,” and within the Israel-Palestinian battle, it refers to 2 Palestinian uprisings, in 1987-1993 and 2000-2005.
Townhall reporter John Hasson recognized one of many individuals within the chat, Katrina Bleckley. Based on her LinkedIn profile, Bleckley is “lead lawyer” on the SPLC. Her X (formerly Twitter) account, which has since been made personal, describes her as a “migrant liberator,” consists of “she/her” gender pronouns, and options the hashtag “#FreePalestine.”
The SPLC has not responded to a number of requests for remark about Bleckley’s involvement within the protest. Bleckley didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Greene formally requested that the police “protect all video surveillance footage, photographic proof, police reviews, and arrest data” from the incident, which she known as an “rebellion,” regardless of the obvious lack of violence (apart from the three protesters who allegedly assaulted police).
“The group that organized the rebellion, Jewish Voice for Peace, is a pro-Islamic, anti-Semitic group that seeks the destruction of the state of Israel, in accordance with the Anti-Defamation League,” the congresswoman added.
“By launching an rebellion within the Capitol complicated, these actors brought about elevators to be shut down, staircases and hallways to be blocked, exits to be made inaccessible, and official legislative enterprise to be obstructed, placing Members of Congress, their staffs, and Capitol guests in danger,” she added.
The Committee on Home Administration contacted the Home Sergeant at Arms and confirmed that proof is being preserved, a spokesperson informed The Each day Sign. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., “believes that those that break the legislation should be held accountable,” the spokesperson mentioned.
The Anti-Defamation League describes Jewish Voice for Peace as “a radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a whole financial, cultural, and educational boycott of the state of Israel.”
“JVP considers supporters of Israel, and even critics of Israel who don’t hew to JVP’s personal excessive views, to be complicit in Israel’s purported acts of racist oppression of Palestinians,” the ADL provides. It warns that the group has “created a hostile setting for a lot of progressive Jews,” extending “its boycott agenda to incorporate not simply Israel however its American supporters as nicely.”
This guilt-by-association type echoes the SPLC.
As I clarify in my e book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC took this system it had used to bankrupt organizations related to the Ku Klux Klan and weaponized it towards conservative teams, partially to scare its donors into ponying up money and partially to silence ideological opponents. It makes use of guilt-by-association and cherry-picked quotes to recommend that conservative nonprofits signify a possible terror risk.
In 2019, amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal that led the SPLC to fireside its co-founder, a former worker got here ahead to name the group’s “hate” accusations a “extremely worthwhile rip-off.”
Whereas the SPLC claims to watch “hate” and “extremism,” together with antisemitism, it has not issued a peep in regards to the Hamas assault on Israel or the American protesters who appear to have endorsed that horrific terrorist assault. The SPLC has not weighed in regardless of the Anti-Defamation League’s warning that pro-Palestine occasions organized by the group College students for Justice in Palestine could create “a hostile setting for Jewish college students” and result in “acts of harassment or vandalism concentrating on Jewish college students and organizations.”
If Bleckley was an energetic participant within the protest and even helped arrange it, that will recommend that the SPLC isn’t just turning a blind eye to the antisemitism of celebrating the Hamas assaults—however that some within the group embrace it.
It might additionally recommend that the SPLC has moved past ideological enforcer and began rallying left-wing protesters on the bottom.
In March, police arrested Thomas Webb Jurgens, one other SPLC lawyer, at an Antifa riot in Atlanta. Whereas the SPLC and the Nationwide Attorneys Guild recognized Jurgens as a authorized observer, neither group condemned the violence of throwing Molotov cocktails at police and building gear, an incident wherein Jurgens allegedly performed a job.
Police say they solely arrested and charged protesters on the occasion who had turned into black bloc gear and engaged within the violence, which Jurgens wouldn’t have completed had he been merely an observer.
Whereas the SPLC has lengthy branded the Proud Boys—a right-leaning agitation group that usually engages in violent scuffles with Antifa—a “hate group,” it has lengthy refused to use the identical model to Antifa.
In June 2020, the SPLC attacked then-President Donald Trump for asserting his intention to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization as “unprecedented and alarming” and a risk to “the civil liberties of U.S. residents, significantly these of coloration, who’re already disproportionately policed.”
The SPLC has different staff seemingly sympathetic to Antifa. For instance, activist researcher Megan Squire lengthy fed data to the SPLC about Antifa’s work. The journal Wired profiled Squire as Antifa’s “secret weapon,” noting that though she doesn’t determine as Antifa, she refuses to sentence the group’s use of violence. Finally, Squire joined the SPLC as deputy director for knowledge analytics and open-source intelligence and spoke on the Eradicate Hate Global Summit held in September 2022 in Pittsburgh.
Extremism researcher Eoin Lenihan mapped the Twitter interactions of Antifa activists, discovering robust connections to SPLC reporter Michael Hayden.
Critics have attacked Lenihan’s credibility due to his earlier exercise operating a parody hard-right social media account. Nonetheless, author and editor Cathy Young independently verified that Hayden’s tales for Newsweek in 2017 and 2018 “do, the truth is, intently match Lenihan’s description of the work of journalists he labels pro-Antifa: ‘downplaying Antifa violence whereas advancing Antifa speaking factors, and in some instances, quoting Antifa extremists as in the event that they have been neutral specialists.’”
Laird Wilcox, a longtime extremism researcher, attributed the August 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, to the presence of Antifa.
In remarks first revealed in “Making Hate Pay,” Wilcox mentioned Antifa and the SPLC work collectively “in a casual foundation,” with Antifa “utilizing data supplied by the SPLC.” But he warned that there doubtless won’t be any “simply documented instances of cooperation,” partially as a result of Antifa “is remarkably decentralized as a way to keep away from legal responsibility.”
It stays unclear precisely how concerned the SPLC was within the anti-Israel protest this week, but when Bleckley wasn’t concerned, the group would have little to lose in saying so.
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