Critics Decry Conference as a ‘Hate Fest’ : Ethnicity: Black nationalists and white supremacists will share podium at program on the Holocaust and 1st Amendment. Jewish organizations are boycotting the gathering.

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In what critics have labeled a “hate fest featuring a who’s who of professional bigots,” a conference on Holocaust studies and the 1st Amendment is being staged Saturday in Los Angeles that will bring together on the same podium outspoken black nationalists and white supremacists.

The conference, sponsored by a local black political group called the Cosmopolitan Brotherhood Assn., will feature a onetime member of the Hitler Youth organization, representatives of several groups that advocate racial separatism, and historical revisionists who deny that the Jewish Holocaust ever happened.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Feb. 1, 1992 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday February 1, 1992 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 1 Metro Desk 3 inches; 82 words Type of Material: Correction
Symposium participation--An article in The Times on Friday listed Legrand H. Clegg II, chief deputy city attorney for Compton and president of the Coalition Against Black Exploitation, as a participant in a symposium today on Holocaust studies sponsored by the Cosmopolitan Brotherhood Assn. Clegg denies having ever agreed to participate. Robert L. Brock, the conference organizer, said he included Clegg’s name in advance publicity after Clegg’s office had confirmed in December that he would participate. Brock said Friday he learned this week that Clegg might not participate.

Among the program’s most noted speakers will be Leonard Jeffries Jr., who is about to be replaced as chairman of the Afro-American studies department at the City University of New York, and Willis A. Carto, treasurer and founder of the Liberty Lobby, which has helped support David Duke’s political aspirations.


“The only thing the participants have in common is their hatred of each other and their hatred of Jews,” said a David A. Lehrer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, which is joining other Jewish groups in boycotting the conference because it challenges the historical authenticity of the Holocaust.

In a press release sent out in response to the conference, officials of the Anti-Defamation League characterized the debate as an “ecumenical hate fest, featuring a who’s who of professional bigots.”

Robert L. Brock, 67, who heads the sponsoring organization, defended the conference.

“I’ve come to understand that some of these people (who are participating) are black haters . . . and some take anti-Jewish positions,” he said. “But I can’t help that.

“These are the people who put themselves out on the airwaves,” he added.

Brock, whose organization for years has argued that blacks ought to be given reparations for their 200 years of slavery, said the idea is to put on a series of conferences on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“This is January so it’s the 1st Amendment,” he said. “Next month will be the 2nd Amendment and so on until we do all 10. You see what I mean? I didn’t mean to say anything against the Jews, but they aren’t the only ones who suffered a holocaust. It’s time we hear all sides of this thing of holocausts. And that is what the 1st Amendment is all about, hearing what everybody has to say.”

Several speakers are targeted by the Anti-Defamation League as anti-Semitic extremists in a book entitled “Extremism on the Right: A Handbook.” Mark Weber is an editor the Institute for Historical Review. In editorials, articles and books, the institute has denied the “generally accepted Holocaust story,” Weber said. “Most people believe the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in gas chambers. We don’t. That’s not to say there weren’t some Jews killed in the war.”


Hans Schmidt, another participant in the conference who is listed in the ADL handbook, is a former member of the Hitler Youth organization. He runs the German-American National Political Action Committee, which claims in its writings that America would be better off today if Nazi Germany had been victorious in World War II.

The man who is to deliver the invocation at the conference is Daniel Johnson, a former leader of the League of Pace Amendment Advocates, an organization that has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repatriate all non-whites to their countries of origin.

Perhaps the most well-known speaker on the program--and on the opposite end of the political spectrum--is Jeffries. Although he has held his post as chairman of black studies at the City University of New York for the past 19 years, university President Bernard W. Harleston announced this week that he will name a replacement for Jeffries next spring because of controversies that have surrounded the black historian for a year.

Jeffries will not lose his tenured position on the faculty, only his position as chairman of his department. He has long been an outspoken critic of what he calls “white supremacy.” Last summer, in a lengthy speech at a black arts and cultural festival in Albany, N.Y., he asserted that white historians had systematically conducted a “misinformation campaign,” removing Africa’s accomplishments and influence from history texts and public school classrooms.

In the speech, Jeffries blamed Jews for financing the slave trade and asserted that “people named Greenberg and Weisberg and Trigliani and whatnot” had conspired and plotted with “their financial partners, the Mafia” to systematically destroy and denigrate people of African origin in the movies.

Another participant in Saturday’s conference, Legrand R. Clegg II, also has been a sharp critic of the entertainment industry. In letters and speeches, Clegg, who is chief deputy city attorney for Compton and president of the Coalition Against Black Exploitation, has charged that “Jewish racism” and “Jewish control” of Hollywood have resulted in the exclusion of blacks from the motion picture industry.


“I’m beginning to think this is going to be a lively group,” Brock said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Oh man, I’m hearing from some of these people and their mad at each other. They hate each other. . . . The hall holds 450. I expect we’ll have 550.”

The Los Angeles conference comes at a time when the Jewish community is up in arms about a recent spate of full-page advertisements and editorials sponsored by Bradley Smith’s Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. In the ads and in letters to newspapers, the committee has questioned the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, claiming that what some people say were gas chambers at Auschwitz were actually “small, professionally designed ‘gassing’ chambers . . . used to fumigate clothing and equipment in the German struggle against typhus.”

A number of universities have declined the ads, including UCLA and USC. At least eight other universities outside California have published the ads, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a largely Jewish international human rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles.

The center has mounted a countercampaign on campuses around the United States and today plans to announce the formation of a national Holocaust education task force, made up of Holocaust survivors, a black American soldier who helped to liberate the Nazi concentration camps and a former member of the Neo-Nazi Party.

The center also has refused to participate in Cosmopolitan Brotherhood’s conference, which will be held at Prince Hall Memorial Auditorium near Watts.