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Press ReleaseDiscrimination/Racism/Bigotry
RULE
ADL CALLS ARMY REPORT ON EXTREMISM "STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION"

New York, NY, March 21, 1996...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed its support for recommendations contained in an Army investigative report released today that addresses the problem of extremism within military ranks.

The report was prepared by the Secretary of the Army's Task Force on Extremist Activities, which was formed in the wake of the December murders of two African-Americans, allegedly by Fort Bragg, NC, soldiers associated with the neo-Nazi skinhead movement. Following the murders, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, urged Defense Secretary William Perry to reevaluate existing policies on extremist activity by armed services personnel.

Today's Army report calls for clarification of a Defense Department policy that distinguishes between "passive" and "active" participation in extremist organizations and activities by soldiers. "Passive" participation, which is currently permitted, includes belonging to hate groups and receiving their literature. "Active" participation, such as recruitment and fund raising, is already proscribed.

"This report is an important step in the right direction," Mr. Foxman said. "We have felt that extremist activity by members of our armed forces represents a serious threat to order in the ranks, and ultimately to the morale and effectiveness of the troops.

"Whatever changes may be made to the policy on extremism," Mr. Foxman continued, "the Pentagon needs to ensure that the policy and the military's strong views against bigotry and hate group involvement are transmitted effectively to the rank and file and are vigorously enforced." He pointed out that the constitutional free speech and association rights of armed services personnel are subject to greater limitation than are those of civilians.

The Army report suggests that only a small percentage of soldiers belong to extremist groups or participate in extremist activity. Mr. Foxman said it was not surprising that the number of actual extremist group members in the Army would be small, just as it is in the general population. But, he added, "the armed services need to remain vigilant against attempts by extremists to recruit military personnel, or to obtain weapons or training from contacts in the military."

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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1996 Anti-Defamation League