Letter: Hate-group Ad?

On May 3 the other paper published in Cold Spring ran an advertisement for a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which since 2007 has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The ad, which was paid for by an unnamed Philipstown resident, claimed “illegal aliens” cost New Yorkers $9.3 billion annually and invited readers to visit the FAIR website.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says of the group: “FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country.” See splcenter.org.

The ad was anti-immigrant. It provided false facts. It targeted individuals (Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea and Councilors Michael Leonard and Nancy Montgomery) who voted favorably for a resolution affirming our community’s tolerance. I perceive this as a form of intimidation. Sadly, it is not the first time that these tactics have been used in our small town.

Ellyn Varela-Burstein, Philipstown

5 thoughts on “Letter: Hate-group Ad?

  1. On pages 84-85 of his 1991 autobiography, “A Season for Justice,” Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees writes that he was a highly paid Klan lawyer in the 1960s and also served as “Youth Coordinator” for Gov. George “Segregation Forever!” Wallace.

    Dees writes that he was paid $5,000 to defend Claude Henry, a vicious Klan thug who was charged by AG Robert Kennedy’s Department of Justice with leading a mob attack on a half-dozen terrified Freedom Riders in Montgomery’s bus station. The Riders were dragged from the bus by a mob of over 100, severely beaten and the bus set on fire. Dees claims he was just helping an old friend out of jam but he knew where the money was coming from.

    On page 47 of his autobiography, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” Dees’ then-business/law partner, Millard Fuller, who would later found Habitat for Humanity, writes that Dees’ $5,000 fee, worth over $40,000 in today’s dollars, was paid by the local Klan and White Citizens Council.

    If you are going to judge an organization by the decades-old words and deeds of its founders then you need to do so equally across the board. The SPLC’s tired old “guilt-by-association” ploy would have us believe that because Henry Ford was an unrepentant anti-Semite in the 1930s, anyone who drives a Ford vehicle today must be an anti-Semite too, by association.

    It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever unless you go to the Financial Information section of the SPLC website and read their latest Form 990 tax returns. In 2016, the SPLC took in more than $58 million in donations by peddling these guilt-by-association claims and its cash endowment grew from $302 to $319 million over the same year. You can learn a lot by following the money.

  2. Neither the Southern Poverty Law Council nor FAIR should be given any credence by common-sense folks looking to bridge the grave divisions in our society. Both occupy the extreme spectrum of the public debate on immigration and the prevalence of so-called hate groups among whom the Council lists The Family Research Council and Dr. James Kennedy for their positions on same-sex marriage.

  3. I wonder if an unnamed Philipstown resident was actually the one who paid for the FAIR ad. I just can’t help but think that that’s a smokescreen.

  4. The author of the letter relies upon the Southern Poverty Law Center in labeling FAIR as a “hate group” and quotes extensively from the SPLC website. I am not familiar with FAIR but have some knowledge of the SPLC.

    The SPLC website is quite sophisticated and provides information on hundreds of organizations that it labels and slanders as “hate,” “Nazi,” “racist,” etc. It is well funded and staffed by many attorneys. Organizations that support the enforcement of Federal Immigration laws are routinely attacked as racist and hateful without considering the reasons for such positions that generally involve the safety of U.S. citizens and its laws.

    The Social Contract Press, which is published by John Tanton, founder of FAIR, discloses SPLC’s lucrative Hate Group label “a magnet for soliciting funding.” The article goes on to state “Dee (founder and owner) and his hate seekers scour the landscape for hate like the arms manufacturers inventing new threats, and for the same reason it’s their staple.” The organization’s incendiary labeling are meant to attract lucrative donors who side with a political issue. What better way then to defame, slander and incite!