Since 1994, the New Century Foundation has also played host to American Renaissance conferences, suit-and-tie affairs that attract a broad spectrum of participants from the racist right, including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members, Holocaust deniers and eugenicists. The conferences even have an international presence. In 2002, for instance, speakers included Nick Griffin, leader of the neofascist British National Party, and Bruno Gollnisch, who was then second in command of Jean Marie Le Pen's immigrant-bashing National Front in France.
One issue that has proven problematic for Taylor and his foundation has been anti-Semitism. Taylor, unlike many on the radical right, is known for his lack of anti-Semitism and for including racist Jews in his events. He told MSNBC-TV interviewer Phil Donahue in 2003 that Jews "are fine by me" and "look white to me." At one point, he even banned discussion of the so-called "Jewish question" from American Renaissance venues, and, by 1997, he had kicked Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis off his E-mail list. Despite these efforts, Taylor also has continued to allow people like Don Black, the former Klan leader who runs the neo-Nazi Stormfront.org web forum, and Jamie Kelso, a Stormfront moderator, to attend his biannual American Renaissance Conferences. The problem for Taylor is that many of the most active participants at the American Renaissance Conferences and the most committed members of the American radical right are openly and passionately anti-Semitic. To ban them would devastate Taylor's efforts to make his journal and conferences flagship institutions of American radical right.
Despite Taylor's best efforts to keep the internal peace, this long-smoldering issue finally burst into the open when David Duke, the former Klan leader and author of Jewish Supremacism, grabbed the microphone at the 2006 American Renaissance Conference and went on a thinly veiled anti-Semitic rant about "a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and spirit." In response, Michael Hart, a Jewish astrophysicist and long-time conference attendee, leaped from his seat and declared, "You f*** Nazi, you've disgraced this meeting." What ensued was a testy back and forth in which Duke supporters, including Black and Kelso, jeered Hart's comments and others, who backed Hart, denounced Duke. This incident set off a months-long battle of words, with each side declaring that the other was undermining the broader efforts of the movement.
"These are the makings of a major schism," wrote Shawn Mercer, co-founder and moderator of American Renaissance's AR List, an E-mail group, just after the conference. "If American Renaissance ultimately fails as a result of this donnybrook at the convention, it will be a sad, possibly fatal turn of events for the future of whites." In 2006, Taylor issued what was seen as a weak-kneed statement by his Jewish supporters condemning anti-Semitism but stating clearly that all would be welcome at his conferences regardless of their views and so long as they maintained the proper decorum. That was not enough for many of Taylor's supporters and collaborators, one of whom, Ian Jobling, left to start his own group, Inverted World, which is racist but not anti-Semitic.
Regardless of the dispute, the 2008 American Renaissance conference was well attended, missing from its audience ranks only some former Jewish supporters such as Michael Hart.Yidden, it's time to make aliyah!