Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - A coalition calling itself Taxpayers Against Terrorism plans to gather at the U.S. Capitol Saturday to "rally against terrorism" and "the U.S. government's support for Israel," but religious and civil rights groups say the rally's real purpose is to incite hatred, bigotry, and violence.
A flyer promoting the rally and "Rock Against Israel" concert boasts that the event will be "the largest gathering of White Nationalists in our nation's capital since World War II."
"Just as Jews - whether they are in Israel or New York - identify themselves as being Jews and would prefer to work for the interests of the Jewish people," said Billy Roper, coordinator for the Taxpayers Against Terrorism coalition, "white nationalists are persons who, regardless of where they might be, would prefer to work for the interests of their own people."
Roper blames the Sept. 11 attacks on American support for "the terrorist state of Israel."
"U.S. tax money helps buy the bullets that go into Israeli guns that murder Palestinian women and children," he claimed, "and that's why the U.S. is a target for terrorism."
During a briefing at the National Press Club Wednesday, Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, accused the coalition of hiding their real agenda behind the veils of patriotism and national security.
"What they are really rocking against is the very notion of America itself," said Henderson. "This is an organization whose members will be preaching hatred of other people because of who they are, where they worship, who they love, or the color of their skin. This, of course, is the antithesis of what we stand for as a nation."
Devin Burghart, director of the Building Democracy initiative at the Center for New Community, said Taxpayers Against Terrorism is merely a front group for the National Alliance, "the largest, best organized and, in fact, most dangerous neo-Nazi organization in the United States."
In addition to coordinating Taxpayers Against Terrorism, Roper serves as deputy membership coordinator for the National Alliance.
Burghart believes the group's white nationalist "interests" are less than innocent.
"They have transformed their recruiting strategies and developed a new mission," he said. "That mission is, simply put, the eradication of Jews and people of color from the planet."
The Alliance was founded in 1974 by William Luther Pierce III, author of The Turner Diaries, the book said to have inspired Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.
Because Pierce died on July 23, additional supporters of his white supremacist beliefs are expected to attend the rally.
Burghart believes Saturday's events are a continuation of the Alliance's strategy to use music and related products to recruit young people, bypassing parents who might disagree with their message. He noted that the group even owns its own record company.
"Resistance Records has an estimated income of over $1.3 million a year," he said, "with the release of a variety of compact discs in a variety of different musical genres targeting a variety of different youth music subcultures, all designed to promote the most extreme forms of hatred and bigotry you can imagine."
One of the Resistance Records bands scheduled to perform at the "Rock Against Israel" concert is "Intimidation One."
"Die Jew. I hate you. You are nothing but a fool. Line you up and cut you down. Where you belong is in the ground," state the lyrics to one of the group's songs. "Slam you down into the ground, you filthy slimy s---. Break your nose and your toes, and split your f------ lip."
Despite the self-described "racist" views of the rally's organizers, Roper believes they will receive support from many people of Arab descent and others who support the efforts of Palestinians against Israel.
"They might have some very real and significant philosophical or ideological differences with us on certain other issues, and that's fine," he said. "Despite the differences that we might have ideologically, racially, and culturally, we have one thing very much in common and that is the belief that it is not in the interest of America to continue to support Israel."
But if most people are willing to look past the Alliance's "racist" beliefs, Henderson asks, why would they promote the rally and concert under the name of another group?
"What we are seeing here is an organization that has repositioned itself so that, somehow, it purports to represent mainstream America, preying on the fears and anxieties of the white majority," he said. "The fact that this is a group that now calls itself 'Taxpayers Against Terrorism' tells you how it intends to morph and project itself in the wake of the tragedies of 9/11."
While Burghart is calling on opponents to stay away from the rally, one group does plan to be nearby to counter the Alliance's "propaganda."
"As a nation and as a people, we have to support youth and youth organizations that promote diversity and understanding," said Robin Chen Delos, the 19-year-old co-founder of Stop Hate, Inspire Neighborly Engagement (SHINE). "SHINE is encouraging young people, the religious community, and labor in the D.C. area to come out and peacefully oppose the neo-Nazis on Saturday."
Roper said he is concerned that those attending the rally might be attacked by their opponents.
"We are, on average, more intelligent, better educated, and more eloquent than they are," he charged. "They've always refused [to debate] because they know that they would lose.
"[So] they attempt to silence us and to deny us our First Amendment right to freedom of speech by violently confronting us and using intimidation tactics," Roper continued. "They will try to physically and violently keep us from reaching the Capitol, and that should prove interesting."
U.S. Capitol Police are expecting 800 to 1,000 people to attend the rally. Roper believes an additional 700 to 800 people will gather in the area of Union Station to support Israel and oppose his group.
Henderson hopes the news media will not dismiss the rally and its organizers.
"The media and, unfortunately, even some of our leadership fail to appreciate the significant threat posed by groups like [National Alliance]," he said. "Our job is to call attention to the significance of the problem."
Miles Joyner, a 13-year-old member of SHINE, summed up his feelings about the National Alliance's message.
"It's not hip," he said. "Love is a better message than hate."
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