Talk:John Birch Society

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USHistoryAnalyzer's Sources[edit]

The sources for the most recent edit were the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and a brief column by Alex Newman, which responds to this article, which itself cites the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as the source of its claim that the society was seen as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, looking at the article, sources 12 and 13, which are linked to support the claim of ongoing anti-Semitism, are both written by Alex Newman. A quick look on Wikipedia's section on the society in the '60s indicates that it was criticized at the time by anti-Semitic groups for accepting Jewish members, but this claim is combined with others, and three sources are listed. The first links to a seemingly-defunct website "," the second wasn't a private connection, so I didn't follow it, and the third was too long for me to bother with, and ctrl-f for "anti" found only anti-Catholic. USHistoryAnalyzer's Newman article cites a California investigation, so maybe that could be something for his case, if a more direct source could be found? I'm not going to draw any conclusions about the one's he actually cited; I don't know anything at all about the John Birch Society, and all I can find at a glance is that the were anti-communist. Maybe, though, this can be an opportunity to demonstrate the advantageous nature of the talkpage. (talk) 01:55, 27 March 2021 (UTC)

Credit to Ariel31459 for finding this SPLC entry on the JBS. It was mentioned on a user talkpage, but it is relevant to this article, so I thought I'd bring it here. It does not openly accuse the JBS of anti-Semitism, as far as I can tell. (talk) 02:47, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
The article does back up the JBS's opposition to the civil rights movement however. Plutocow (talk) 03:25, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
LOL. What a "but I'm not racist!" argument. Googling history, it is indeed "refreshing" in some ways to see the John Birchers doing the exact same racist bullshit in the 1960s that occurs on Fox News today. (Ok, it was "I'm not anti-Semitic, but Israel is a bunch of commies!" bullshit due to the Red Scare, but hey, it shows selling bullshit propaganda to the rubes is nothing new.) Back then, at least William F. Buckley had enough integrity to resist the racist Birchers. Conservatism had a slight bit more integrity then, I suppose. In the Donald Trump era, of course, that is no longer the case. You are citing Marc Thiessen, an AEI blowhard, and a fucking letters to the editor for your opinion? Please. The Anti-Defamation League has a whole fucking collection on the Birchers. The "official position" was not anti-Semitic, because of course making a repugnant position official will never happen (same as now). But the fringe they harvested certainly contained heavy amounts of anti-Semitic elements. (It's also fun to note, in this age of Elon Musk types, that dumbass CEO types like Robert W. Welch Jr.Wikipedia existed back then. Times don't change in some ways.) PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 04:33, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@PanGalacticGargleBlaster@USHistoryAnalyzerFirst, I am not citing anything; I am bringing USHistoryAnalyzer's sources to the talkpage for discussion, in the hope that this will put the matter to rest. Second, the column written by Marc Thiessen was not one of the sources cited by USHistoryAnalyzer; the letter to the editor he cites was a response to that column, and it is the Thiessen column itself that notes that the society was seen as anti-Semitic. Now, I found it interesting that both the SPLC and the ADL (and Thiessen, for that matter) all state that the group was perceived as anti-Semitic, but none of them make a stronger claim to the effect that it really was. Now, the ADL cites this article as its source for that claim, and indeed the article makes almost exactly the same statements as the ADL does (see the third page). It also states, with reference to JBS bookstores, that "they cannot carry books banned by the JBS, such as Nazi, KKK, racist, or anti-Semitic literature." It also notes that a JBS Executive Council member, Dr. Revilo Oliver, was a racist and anti-Semite. The Atlantic article you link to characterizes the JBS as an extremist organization, but it does not characterize it as racist or anti-Semitic. Those terms are used to describe the current republican party, particularly Marjorie Taylor Greene. With regards to the JBS, it focuses on their paranoid anti-communism, including their allegations that Eisenhower was a communist enabler, their effort to impeach the Chief Justice of SCOTUS, their anti-UN stance, and their opposition to water fluoridation as a communist plot. Your JTA article notes almost immediately that their evaluation of Israel matches their evaluation of the United States. Now, they certainly did oppose the civil rights movement, and I'm not going to try to argue that one can oppose civil rights without taking a racist position. And there are parallels between their thinking and Fascist conspiracy theories. Now, if USHistoryAnalyzer can present a case that the organization in itself was not racist or anti-Semitic, I'll leave that to him to do. All I wanted to do was to turn the focus to the sources themselves rather than the edit-warring, so that the underlying issue that keeps producing edit-warring can be dealt with definitively. Now, given that Alex Newman, one of USHistoryAnalyzer's sources, has also, as cited in the article, written anti-Semitic conspiracy pieces in a JBS publication, I think that source is out of the question as a support for the claim that the JBS is not / was not anti-Semitic. I also agree that the friend argument is weak at best, but maybe USHistoryAnalyzer can strengthen his case here on the talkpage. (talk) 15:24, 27 March 2021 (UTC)

Here's the full 1963 report by the California State Senate: [1] Here are two important parts of the text:

At the time the eighth edition of the Blue Book (which is the most recent) was published in 1961, there were 28 people on the headquarters staff at Belmont, 30 paid co-ordinators or supervisors, and about 100 section leaders or minor co-ordinators. During the past two years there have been slightly more than 100 resignations. Two members were expelled — one for anti-semitism, and a few all-negro chapters have been formed. There are also several local chapters consisting of both colored and white members.


Among other unjustified criticisms against the society is the charge that it is anti-Semitic. Our investigation leads us to the opposite conclusion. The organization is open to people of all religions, all races, all political persuasions except those deemed subversive.

UShistoryanalyzer (talk) 14:33, 27 March 2021 (UTC)

Of course. Like Fox News, the Birchers are officially "not racist", but of course #1 with racists. This article from The Conversation put it nicely: "Even though Welch understood racism and bigotry would hurt his cause, the John Birch Society’s opposition to the civil rights movement attracted Americans sympathetic to racist paranoia. For example, it consistently published reports accusing civil rights leaders of communist subversion and alleging that people of color were plotting to divide the country and control the world." Of course they officially "welcomed everybody" that subscribed to their nutty views. Even though, in the end, their oh-we're-not-racist-at-all staunch opposition to civil rights attracted plenty of people within the white supremacist organizations (such as the Citizens' CouncilsWikipedia, see this Washington Post article as well as this article on the WCC from Stanford on how the two connected together.)
Honestly, you should stop trying to troll here, and just go to Conservapedia, where you can whitewash conservative racists all you want. You can even continue the tradition of those also-I'm-not-racist-but "Obama is a socialist!" type routines on conservative media today, which is a direct descendant of the Birch attempts of trying to ratfuck the civil rights movement in the 1960s. No one who looked at the history of the Birchers and isn't a fucking white supremacist themselves would deny that the Birchers attracted racists, no matter what the organization said. Words are meaningless. The important part is how they acted and who they teamed with. It's unclear to me personally if Mr. "Eisenhower was a commie!" Welch was a racist, to be honest, but he sure didn't mind using them to promote his "limited government" ideas (I wouldn't be surprised if he was, of course -- limited government types like Ron Paul often eventually reveal that racism in part drives their view). PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 20:27, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
Nice pot-calling-the-kettle-black attempt, but as usual, your flailing doesn't change the facts. You can argue all you want that the JBS somehow coddled racism, etc., but it's well-documented that the Society was inclusive and especially didn't tolerate anti-Semitism. UShistoryanalyzer (talk) 21:04, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
Opposing the civil rights movement on the absurd grounds that it is a communist plot is completely different from coddling racism! Why, that doesn't enable racism in any way at all!-21:08, 27 March 2021 (UTC)— Unsigned, by: Flandres / talk / contribs
If they were that complicit in coddling racists, then it doesn't make sense why they would be so openly inclusive towards minorities, including blacks and Jews. To them, treating people on the basis of core values rather than racial/ethnic identity was a given and it didn't take a federal law to ensure that for the Society. UShistoryanalyzer (talk) 21:24, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
I see the "friend argument" has reared its ugly head again...-Flandres (talk) 21:27, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
People with internalized discrimination need to go somewhere for support: JBS will welcome them with open clutches. They claim to have 100 articles on the Rothschild family on their website, but that doesn't apparently make them antisemitic in UShistoryanalyzer's view apparently. Bongolian (talk) 21:32, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@PanGalacticGargleBlasterYour new sources make a stronger case. Associating with segregationists in 1999 is pretty damning. I also checked at The New American, and can confirm 100 search results for "Rothschild," including allegations of connections to George Soros, the UN, the "deep state," Emmanuel Macron, Silicon Valley, "globalists," Xi Jinping, and the Pope (three of which are cited in the article). Your WaPo source provides details that might be worth adding to the article. Currently, racism doesn't seem to be mentioned as an issue in the article at all, only anti-Semitism. (addressed at the beginning, just not in the middle) Maybe its worth noting that they were found not to be racist or anti-Semitic by... the California Senate Factfinding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities. It might be worth noting, though, that in their report the statement "Newberry asserts that the Birch Society is connected with racists in the deep south" is followed shortly by "In previous reports we have frequently stated that the American Communist Party was patterned after the Soviet model; that the peculiar Aesopian language, the propaganda, the activities all follow the Soviet prototype" and accuses Newberry of writing communist propaganda. They also reject allegations of a secretive and conspiratorial atmosphere within the organization. Now, it was an official investigation, but there is something about the Senate Factfinding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, and the fact that its leader from 1941 to 1949 said "You can no more coexist with communism than you can coexist with a nest of rattlesnakes" that suggests to me that they may have had a certain sympathy for an anti-communist organization. Perhaps a brief note to the effect that "Although officially opposed to racism and anti-Semitism..."? Serene (talk) 00:48, 28 March 2021 (UTC)