His own party leaders are repudiating the Republican candidate seeking to unseat 11-term incumbent Rep. Nita Lowey in Westchester, and the Anti-Defamation League is calling him a “white supremacist with anti-Semitic overtones.”
The candidate, Jim Russell, 56, ran against Lowey two years ago and was soundly defeated by a 37 percent margin. But Russell’s long-held views on race and Jews did not surface until last month when the Politico website carried a story about a 2001 article Russell wrote in the Occidental Quarterly, described by the ADL as a “racist journal.”
The ADL said Russell is just one of six bigots running for office in November and that the Internet is empowering these people to run.
In the article, Russell quoted from T.S. Eliot to describe conditions for an optimal society: “The population should be homogeneous. What is still more important is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and culture combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.”
In another section, he quotes the following passage: “There is now afoot a conscious effort to de-Europeanize and to re-Judaize Christianity … One possible strategy to counter these efforts is to encourage a re-Europeanization of Christianity into a European folk religion.”
And Russell decried “media moguls who deliberately popularize miscegenation in films directed toward adolescents and pre-adolescents. In the midst of this onslaught against our youth, parents need to be reminded that they have a natural obligation, as essential as providing food and shelter, to instill in their children an acceptance of appropriate ethnic boundaries for socialization and for marriage.”
Lowey herself has not publicly discussed Russell’s views, and her campaign manager, Kim DiTomasso, said no decision has been made whether to mention them in her campaign literature or commercials.
“Mr. Russell’s writings reflect racist and anti-Semitic ideas that have been repudiated across the political spectrum,” DiTomasso said.
Westchester County Republican Chairman Doug Colety did not return calls to party headquarters seeking comment. But he was quoted as calling Russell’s article “racist,” and promising to attempt to remove Russell’s name from the ballot.
Russell did not return numerous calls over two days to his campaign headquarters. But he issued a statement saying the article he wrote was written nine years ago and “has absolutely no relevance to my congressional campaign.” He insisted that a “few sentences at the end of the paper … have been taken out of context and grossly distorted.”
But Jewish leaders in Westchester are alarmed by what they have heard.
Rabbi Aubrey Glazer, spiritual leader of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, said: “I’m profoundly disturbed by this anti-Semite in the guise of an intellectual historian who is spreading and promoting deeply disturbing and destructive theories of racial prejudice and Aryanism. If that informs who he is as a candidate, we should watch what he says. … This is clearly someone whom we should watch out for and who is dangerous.”
Ron Burton, president of the Westchester Jewish Council, the umbrella group for 140 Jewish organizations in the county, said the “council doesn’t take positions on political races, but we would be quite concerned about a candidate who has espoused those views.”
Although Burton said he has not read Russell’s essay, he has read quotes from it and said that Russell “is going to have a hard time distancing himself from them. … We’re concerned and troubled by it.”
The Journal News in Westchester reported that in 1996 Russell expressed similar views in a letter to the editor regarding desegregation in the Yonkers schools. It said he wrote: “We must acknowledge that neither court orders nor millions of taxpayers’ dollars can alter what nature has preordained — namely, that it is normal and healthy for people to prefer the company of their own kind in their neighborhoods and schools.”
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, described Russell as a “white supremacist with anti-Semitic overtones.” He characterized the views Russell voiced in his essay as a “classic white supremacist racist anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”
But he said Russell is not the only candidate running in November who holds bigoted views.
“There is something going on out there which legitimizes fringe candidates, and that is why we are seeing more of them and they are getting more notoriety,” he said. “I would link it to the Internet — everyone has a voice and a position and can run and change this country. So you are finding a lot more of these characters running.”
He added that some of these people “think there is a mood of anger and rage in this country that is user-friendly to them.”
Foxman said this of the following candidates:
n Bill Roper, a write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas, is also chairman of the neo-Nazi group White Revolution.
n Glen Miller, a write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, is running on a “blatantly anti-Semitic platform.”
n Jim Condit Jr. is running for Congress in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the candidate of the Constitution Party. He has run in the past and tried to broadcast ads tying the 9/11 attack to Israel and blaming Jews for all of the world’s troubles.
n Ryan Murdough, the state chairman of the American Third Position in New Hampshire, a white supremacist party, is running to become a state representative and is a self-professed “racist.”
n Tom Metzger, a write-in for Congress in Indiana, is an anti-Semitic racist who was the founder and head of the White Aryan Resistance.