Hatewatch

American Renaissance Finds New Venue for D.C. Conference

After being cancelled because its organizers couldn’t find a venue willing to host it, this weekend’s white nationalist American Renaissance conference is back on again — this time at a Washington D.C. hotel where two similar events were recently held.

Jared Taylor, who heads American Renaissance, told conference registrants yesterday that the group had booked the Capitol Skyline Hotel near downtown Washington. The conference was dropped by three other area hotels following a campaign by anti-racist activists. “We have found a venue with backbone and the conference will take place!” Taylor wrote. “Hotel management is prepared for the worst and will not back down!”

The Capitol Skyline was the venue for two events held by the American Free Press (AFP), a blatantly anti-Semitic newspaper. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio), who recently served a seven-year prison sentence for federal corruption, spoke at AFP’s Feb 13 conference at the hotel. And on Nov. 7, ex-Klan boss David Duke and anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist Texe Marrs appeared together there at another AFP-sponsored gathering.

“They’ve made it somewhat of a haven for hate groups to come and hold their events here when no one else will have them,” said Jeffrey Imm, founder of the human rights group Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.).

Imm, who helped inform local hotels about the conference, said he has reached out to the hotel’s general manager, Jeff Ragonese, and to the Rubell family of Rubell Hotels, which owns the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The Rubells are prominent Miami art collectors whose business and charitable endeavors have been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Neither Ragonese nor Jason Rubell returned calls from Hatewatch this afternoon.

The unprecedented campaign against this year’s American Renaissance conference has provoked an outcry from white nationalists, who have made the jacket-and-tie affair a popular event. Traditionally held in the Washington. D.C.. area, the three-day conference features prominent far-right politicians, academic racists and other extremists from around the world.

Taylor said in a news release this week that more than 250 people had registered for the ninth biannual conference, scheduled to begin late Friday. Over the past several months, anti-racist activists had persuaded the Washington Dulles Marriott, the Westin Washington Dulles Hotel and the Four Points by Sheraton Manassas Battlefield to cancel their contracts with New Century Foundation, American Renaissance’s parent organization. Although the conference has attracted demonstrators in the past, Taylor said yesterday on Derek Black’s radio show that it’s the first time in the event’s 16-year history that a venue has rescinded its booking of American Renaissance.