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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism-USA

Norfolk, VA, February 27, 1997...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the guilty verdict brought against the former Army paratrooper, James Burmeister, for the murder of two African-Americans in Fayetteville while he was stationed at Fort Bragg.

"What this verdict will do is send a loud and clear signal to the bigots, the racists and extremists in Cumberland County, in North Carolina and across our great country that good people will not tolerate this cancer within our midst and will not equivocate in their response," said Samuel K. Kaplan, Director of the ADL's North Carolina/Virginia Office. "This verdict will not bring back either Jackie Burden or Michael James. . . two precious lives lost to hatred, racism and extremism. It will not ease the suffering or loss inflicted upon their loved ones, nor will this verdict negate the hurt and harm brought to the African-American community or the people of Fayetteville by the heinous act. However, it will reaffirm faith in our judicial process."

"Justice has been served," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Today a jury affirmed the right of people of every background, race and religion to walk the streets of America without fear." He added, "When that fear arises from the actions of individuals sworn to defend our nation, every one of us is threatened." Mr. Foxman urged the Armed Forces to remain alert to the threat of violent bigots in their ranks and to use every means at their disposal to deal with haters in the military.

In the aftermath of the December 7, 1995, murders in Fayetteville, the ADL re-doubled its already existing efforts to work with the military in addressing the issue of extremism. In March of 1996, ADL co-sponsored a seminar with the Provost Marshall's Office for the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) located at Ft. Monroe, Virginia. The presentations included national extremist groups, local extremist activity and the issue of hate crimes. Approximately eighty-five personnel, representing virtually every military installation in North Carolina and Virginia, were present at the conference held at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. Since that time, the League has worked closely with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOC), headquartered at Ft. Bragg, in providing training for its personnel and participating in a panel discussion at the U.S. Special Forces Annual Commander's Conference at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky this past October. Mr. Foxman noted that "we are pleased with these efforts, but we strongly encourage the Defense Department to continue to move aggressively in dealing with this issue." Additional cooperative training between the League and the Defense Department is currently underway.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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1997 Anti-Defamation League