Canada: Racist convention shut down

The Guardian October 20, 1999 by David Lethbridge

Last month, the Canadian British-Israel Association was to hold its 43rd Annual Convention in London, Ontario. Militant anti-fascist activity succeeded in shutting it down.

British-Israelism is a religious doctrine first elaborated in the 19th century as a justification for British colonialism. It claimed that the English Anglo-Saxons were one of the so-called "ten lost tribes of Israel", and that the British monarch was the direct descendant of "the throne of King David".

In short, the British were "God's Chosen People". The movement spread to Canada and the US [and Australia] at the turn of the century.

The Canadian British-Israel Association (CBIA), through its Internet website, sells a wide variety of white racist and anti-Jewish religious propaganda. At least 40 of its books are by Howard Rand and Destiny Publishers.

Rand was the major figure in establishing British-Israelism in the USA in the 1920s and '30s, weaving extreme right political influences into its religious ideology. His position was that black people are soul-less animals, literally "beasts of the field", created by God to be the servants of the white race.

Destiny Publishers was a joint project between Rand and William Cameron, author of the viciously anti-semitic diatribe, The International Jew, distributed by the Ford automobile company.

Henry Ford was openly friendly to fascism, and Cameron himself was intimate with Kurt Ludecke, the official representative to the US of the German Nazi government.

Speakers at this year's Canadian CBIA convention were to include Ernestine Young, pastor of the Church of the Covenants, from Nampa, Idaho; and Stephen Jones, founder of God's Kingdom Ministries, from Fridley, Minnesota.

Both Young and Jones have spoken at America's Promise, a prominent Christian Identity compound in Sandpoint, Idaho, run by Dave Barley. Christian Identity is a religious and political outgrowth of the British- Israel movement.

At the America's Promise 1991 conference, Young spoke on the same platform with prominent US white supremacists like Eustace Mullins. Several members of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, including its leader Richard Butler, were in attendance.

America's Promise sells Holocaust-denial literature, as well as the classic anti-Jewish forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Stephen Jones has spoken at America's Promise with Everett Ramsey and Pete Peters, leading figures in the racist Identity movement. Material by Jones is sold by both America's Promise and the Canadian British-Israel Association.

More recently, Jones spoke at a 1998 Identity conference in La Porte, Colorado, sponsored by Pete Peters. A Peters conference held in 1992 is credited with laying the groundwork for the contemporary right-wing armed militia networks.

Peters' vicious anti-semitism is legendary, as is his homophobia; he is the author of Death Penalty for Homosexuals Prescribed in the Bible.

At the 1998 conference, Jones spoke of the "centuries long battle between the descendants of Jacob (the white people, or Israelites) and the descendants of Esau (the Jews)".

Organized British-Israelites commonly claim they are neither racist nor anti-Jewish, and that they are merely promoting the religious belief that "Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Germanic Peoples" are uniquely God's chosen covenant people, and the literal descendants of Adam, Abraham, and Jacob.

However, British-Israelite bookstores and websites sell literature that is openly demeaning and hostile to Jews and people of colour, and increasingly peddle the more virulent Identity literature. As the Canadian British- Israel Association website says, "The Bible is the story of the Adamic race and none other."

The Bethune Institute for Anti-Fascist Studies, after monitoring the CBIA website, alerted the hotel venue where the convention was to take place, and called upon them to refuse CBIA the use of their premises. The hotel management contacted the Canadian Jewish Congress, in Toronto, for further information and then immediately canceled their contract with CBIA.

The hotel has also decided to amend its contract policy to refuse service to any group associated with racism and anti-semitism. Swift, militant action by the Bethune Institute resulted in serious disruption to the British-Israelite plans.