Law Center Labels Conservative Organization As Hate Group: ‘Our Aim In Life Is To … Destroy Them’

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John Perazzo Managing Editor, DiscoverTheNetworks.org
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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which professes a commitment to “fighting hate and bigotry” across the United States, recently pressured MasterCard and Visa to stop processing all donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC).

DHFC is a conservative think tank whose mission is “to defend free societies which are under attack from enemies within and without” — most notably, enemies that aim to advance the agendas of the radical Left and Islamic jihad.

Because of DHFC’s efforts to warn Americans about the dangers of militant Islam in particular, SPLC characterizes the organization as an “anti-Muslim hate group” and seeks to choke off its funding sources.

MasterCard and Visa have since reversed their decision and reinstated DHFC’s fundraising status, but SPLC’s crusade to stamp out every last trace of intellectual liberty will surely continue. It’s a strategy that is wholly consistent with what SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok once candidly affirmed about how his organization deals with its ideological adversaries: “Our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”

SPLC’s worldview is rooted in the premise that the United States is perpetually “seething” with “racial violence” and “intolerance against those who are different” (i.e., members of minority groups like blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, and Arabs/Muslims).

To combat this purported epidemic of malevolence and white supremacism, SPLC periodically publishes updated lists of U.S.-based “hate groups” and “extremist groups” from coast to coast. By its latest count, there are currently 954 active “hate groups” in the United States.

But SPLC does not indict only organizations whose platforms center on the hateful endorsement of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. Rather, the list also includes many groups that are thoughtful, articulate conveyors of mainstream conservative values and principles; groups that unambiguously condemn the maltreatment of anyone, for any reason. Their only “sin” is that they have the temerity to disagree with SPLC on certain social or political issues.

Consider, for example, that the many “hate groups” identified by SPLC in recent years include:

  • Family Watch International, which, while opposing same-sex marriage as an institution, explicitly declares that “there is never any justification for violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity”;
  • The Sharia Awareness Action Network, which seeks to educate Americans about “how Sharia Law stands in opposition to Constitutional Law”;
  • Americans for Immigration Control, which “is about strictly enforcing the current immigration laws” of the United States;
  • And the Ku Klux Klan, a group of pathetic miscreants who embrace a barbaric racial ideology that views black people as inferior.

Can any of you figure out which of those four groups is different from the other three? Perhaps you can, but SPLC is apparently too dense to distinguish between them.

In fact, in a 2016 survey, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that no fewer than 63 of the organizations that SPLC identified as “hate groups” or “extremist groups” were actually IRS-approved charities.

The inclusion of legitimate conservative organizations in SPLC’s list of “hate groups” constitutes an egregious libel rooted in the Center’s remarkable intolerance for ideas with which it does not agree.

The aforementioned Mark Potok unwittingly acknowledged this himself when he stated that the SPLC blacklists have “nothing to do with criminality or violence or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological.”

By conflating actual hate groups on the one hand, with respectable conservative organizations on the other — and thereby giving the impression that conservative values are somehow inherently hateful, racist, or otherwise repugnant — SPLC seeks to shut down debate, shut down free speech, and delegitimize all conservatives as odious monsters whose viewpoints do not even merit access to a public forum.

In contrast to its eagerness to brand conservatives as “racists,” SPLC typically gives a free pass to left-wing groups, no matter how hateful or exclusionary their agendas may be. Consider UnidosUS, which, for 45 years, was called the National Council of La Raza (“The Race”).

Though this race-obsessed organization views virtually any opposition to its amnesty/open-borders/welfare-state agenda as “a disgrace to American values,” UnidosUS/La Raza has been hailed by SPLC research director Heidi Beirich as “a venerable civil-rights organization.”

Moreover, UnidosUS/La Raza is known to have given money to MEChA, a “Chicano Students” organization that has explicitly vowed to repel the “brutal ‘gringo’ invasion of our territories,” and whose organizational slogan translates to: “For the race, everything; Outside of the race, nothing.”

But SPLC sees nothing amiss here. As Mark Potok puts it, “we have found no evidence to support charges that [MEChA] is racist or anti-Semitic.”

Similarly, SPLC has elected not to include, in its list of “hate groups,” the violent Marxist/anarchist movement known as Antifa, which, as Atlantic magazine has noted, is responsible for “a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s.” SPLC president Richard Cohen explains that Antifa does not qualify for designation because its brand of hate is “not the type of hate we follow.”

Likewise, escaping the opprobrium of SPLC is Black Lives Matter, an entity whose founders were Marxist revolutionaries, and whose rank-and-file foot soldiers have routinely engaged in some of the vilest anti-white, anti-police rhetoric (and violent race riots) in living memory. By SPLC’s telling, “The perception that [BLM] is racist” only “illustrates [that our] society as a whole still does not accept that racial injustice remains pervasive.”

While SPLC identifies itself as a “nonprofit civil rights group,” its net assets currently total more than $449 million — including some $92 million invested in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.

“Hate” is SPLC’s perpetual motion machine; the gift that keeps on giving. It is time for Americans to wake up and realize what this organization is all about, and to finally consign it to the dustbin of history, where it can take its rightful place alongside similar collections of discredited charlatans, demagogues, hate mongers, and smear merchants.

John Perazzo is the managing editor of Discover The Networks, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.