Exploring What is Behind the Rare Phenomenon of Jewish Anti-Semites
What is behind the rare-but-recurring phenomenon of Jewish anti-Semites?
By Daniel Levitas
Besides Dan Burros, there are very few known instances of those of Jewish heritage rising to prominence in the Klan. But one man who has persisted steadily in his efforts to promote the hooded order despite being born Jewish is Jordan Gollub, currently leader of the tiny Royal Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the 1980s, Gollub managed to rise to the post of Mississippi state leader of the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, then led by Virgil Griffin of North Carolina. But in 1989, Griffin uncovered Gollub's background — Gollub had been born to Jewish parents in Philadelphia — and booted him out of the Knights as a result.
To the amusement of many, Gollub angrily qualified Griffin's account, saying that he had actually been ejected because of his religious "background and the fact that I'm against Catholics joining the Klan." Catholics, he argued, have a primary loyalty to the pope, rather than the United States. "We can't have an organization with 100% Americans with Catholics," Gollub told the Jackson (Miss.) Daily News.
Things haven't gone too well for Gollub since then.
Gollub has spent the last years trying to get a new Klan group going, with most of his efforts ending in disappointment. This summer, he announced plans to march in three Mississippi cities with a phalanx of his Royal Confederate Knights. In the event, he actually showed up in only two of those cities, accompanied by just three followers.
Afterward, said he would lead the Klan in three Alabama marches this December. When he learned that one of those marches would conflict with a Christmas parade, he said he was willing to reschedule.
Is That Wolfgang or Andy?
Andrew Britt Greenbaum was a bright, high-achieving high school student living in the predominantly Jewish suburb of Westwood, outside Boston, when he ran for class president on an explicitly racist platform and launched a tiny anti-Semitic hate group on the Internet that he called the Knights of Freedom.
Within days of graduating high school in 1996, the one-time chess whiz of his parents' neighborhood legally changed his name to hide his partly Jewish heritage. If the appellation Davis Wolfgang Hawke left any doubts as to his politics, the SS suits he liked to dress up in did not. His Wofford College dormitory room in South Carolina was draped with National Socialist flags, and he sold swastika armbands.
The architect of the "Ministry of Racial Unity" was not shy.
"We must all carry with us in our hearts this knowledge, that the dreams of Adolf Hitler have not faded away, but are just as alive today as they were years ago! The German army was defeated on the battlefield, but the ideals of Adolf Hitler live on in the hearts and souls of those who now carry the torch of the Aryan peoples," Hawke told supporters who called him "the chosen one."
Hawke's Net-based group, renamed the American Nationalist Party in its last moments of life, eventually claimed more than 100 adherents. But it collapsed in along with his make-believe ethnicity after the Intelligence Report described his Jewish heritage.
His one last bid for attention disintegrated into ignominy when, after promising a march of thousands of neo-Nazis in Washington, D.C., just four people showed up — not including the wannabe führer of Wofford College.
"He's a chicken," his mother, Peggy Greenbaum, told a reporter.
Greenbaum, who was labeled a "race traitor" by her son, told the Intelligence Report at the time that she had had no idea of her son's neo-Nazism. Weeping, she recalled how her nerdy boy had been taunted as a "kike" at school and was even beaten by classmates jealous of his good grades.
"I just don't know where it came from," she said of the 20-year-old who earlier bragged to the Report that he intended to become the "absolute, supreme dictator" of the United States.
"He seems to be so full of hate and so power-hungry. ... I just don't want him to hurt anyone."
Like other young people drawn to hate groups, Hawke was impressed by the power of Nazi martial regalia and its message of violence. The rest of what drove him to reject his parents and recommend their extermination may never be known.
Today, Gale and Burros are dead, Gollub is trying against all odds to rehabilitate himself in the world of the Klan, and Hawke has vanished without a trace from the public arena. But the story of hypocritical hate did not begin with Bill Gale, and it surely will not end with Gollub or Hawke.
For an entire millennium — from the 8th to the 18th century — Jewish converts to Christianity were among the leading advocates of forcibly converting their former brethren and of burning the Talmud, the text of rabbinical commentaries on Jewish law. In the early 20th century, there were numerous converted Jews who also made careers out of attacking their former co-religionists.
As long as there is religious and ethnic hatred in this world, there will be members of oppressed groups who turn on themselves.