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Is Russian Gay Activist Nikolai Alekseev Anti-Semitic?



Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev, (photo, above,) touring the United States to discuss the state of LGBT equality in Russia, spoke Tuesday evening at Columbia University and was pointedly asked to respond to an allegation — based upon an entry he wrote on the blogging site Livejournal — that the thirty-three year-old celebrated activist, journalist, and lawyer was, indeed, anti-semitic.

The allegations were first made by Scott Long, formerly of Human Rights Watch, who, apparently, last summer was forced to apologize to U.K. gay rights activist Peter Tatchell for five years of personal attacks. Shortly thereafter, Long was “dismissed,” according to veteran journalist and gay activist Michael Petrelis, who added that Long’s, “official explanation for moving on would have delighted the editors of Pravda in Brezhnev’s day.”

Human Rights Watch also offered Tatchell an apology.

Calling their apology “unprecedented,” Doug Ireland of Gay City News detailed the story in July, 2010, writing, “Human Rights Watch (HRW), the world’s largest and most prestigious human rights organization, has made a stunning public apology to Britain’s iconic gay and human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, for attacks heaped on him by HRW’s Scott Long, who directs the organization’s LGBT program.

“Long made numerous public statements about Tatchell that were ‘inappropriate… disparaging… inaccurate… condemnatory… intemperate personal attacks,’ HRW acknowledged.

“In the June 30 apology to Tatchell, head of the militant British gay rights group OutRage!, HRW’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, acknowledging the falsehoods circulated by Long, said, ‘We recognize that personal attacks have no place in the human rights movement.’”

Ireland added that “The HRW statement included an admission from Long that he’d made false statements about Tatchell.”

(That’s the background. Now, here’s how Long’s recent accusation of anti-semitism against Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev comes into play.)

Ireland continues, writing, “for some, HRW’s apology to Tatchell raises more questions than it answers.”

“Nikolai Alexeyev (Alekseev,) the lead organizer of the Gay Pride events repeatedly banned in Moscow Gay Prides and founder of, is among those who have been objects of Long’s attacks. An attorney, Alexeyev — who has brought 168 lawsuits against Russia for outlawing gay demonstrations and for officially encouraging homophobia — responded via email to a Gay City News request for comment, saying, “The problem of HRW’s LGBT programs is that it turns around the personality of Scott. I’d be happy to work with HRW on monitoring in Russia, especially because my group is the most experienced in Europe in dealing with LGBT cases at the European Court of Human Rights — but not as long as the leadership is what it is. I think Peter is very kind to forgive all this dirt that was put on him. This can only be to his credit.”

Fast forward to now.

As reporter Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV wrote Tuesday, “[t]he specific offending quote, captured by Scott Long, formerly of Human Rights Watch and now a Visiting Fellow, Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School was:

“The Israeli Prime Minister urged Western leaders to support Egyptian dictator Mubarak … And who after this are the Jews? In fact, I always knew who they were.”

Note that the above quote was translated from the original Russian and provided by Long.

Tanya Domi

Tanya Domi

Last night, Adjunct Assistant Professor Tanya Domi, of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (and a frequent contributor to The New Civil Rights Movement,) pointedly posed the question to a subsequently surprised Alekseev.

“You’ve been accused of being anti-semitic, and I’d like you to respond to the charge,” Domi said, adding, “we’re in a university setting and so we want to have an open discussion.”

Alekseev, who throughout the evening’s ninety-minute presentation spoke excellent English, upon answering this question stammered, but said, “To call me an anti-semite is like to say I burned the Reichstag.”

“Burning the Reichstag,” is similar to the American saying, “the pot calling the kettle black” — but a lot worse. As the story goes, Hitler was responsible for burning the Reichstag — the German Parliament — then accusing the Communists of the evil deed as a pretext to gain power.

Essentially, Alekseev seems to be accusing Long, or those who responded negatively to his Livejournal post, of being the anti-semites, or, at least, evil-doers.

In his speech, Alekseev, “outlined the oppression and even violence he and other Moscow Pride organizers have faced since they first held the event in 2006,” as Michael Lavers wrote. He continued his defense for over three minutes, detailing that he has Jewish friends, and adding that his mother’s stepmother was Jewish, and people he works with are Jewish. This is an unfortunate line of defense as the irony is clear. Who hasn’t heard as a defense of bigotry, “Some of my best friends are (insert oppressed minority name here)”?

But Alekseev denies, emphatically, and for over three minutes, that he is anti-semitic. In the end, he feels it’s lost in translation — “probably there was a semantic in the translation,” Alekseev says, after having accused the Israeli government of saying “all the world should unite around Mubarak… I’m sorry but it pissed me off completely.”

Others have been pissed off completely too, namely Equality California and Robin Tyler, who say, “Our broad coalition of California organizations including Congregation Kol-Ami, Jewish Community Relations Council, Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles, Harvey Milk Foundation, SF LGBT Community Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Imperial Court of Canada, USA, and Mexico, Gays Without Borders, San Diego LGBT Center, Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, Jordan Rustin Coalition, Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, City of West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Committee, Christopher Street West, WEHO, and Get Equal,” “have decided to cancel sponsorship of the California speaking tour of Russian LGBT Activist Nikolai Alekseev.”

“The California sponsors [of Alekseev’s west coast leg of the tour] were unaware of this when they agreed to sponsor Alekseev,” writes Ocamb. “In fact, EQCA’s Andrea Shorter chided Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor for the Council for Global Equality, for not warning EQCA about possible problems with Alekseev when they were having email discussions about international issues.”

But Alekseev beat EQCA to the punch, and canceled the west coast portion of his tour first. And then changed his mind — going, but without the sponsorship — writing on Facebook, “IT IS TIME TO SHAKE CASTRO! AND I WILL DO IT! SO THAT THOSE WHO FORGOT WHAT IS GAY ACTIVISM SWITCH ON THEIR BRAIN AGAIN AND NOT CONCEAL BEHIND THE NAME OF HARVEY MILK!”

(Alekseev apparently uses Facebook a lot. I friended him and was friended me back almost immediately, just hours before his talk at Columbia. I checked his Facebook page and he had written he had just landed in New York only nineteen minutes earlier. When I introduced myself to him at the Columbia event, I referenced the Facebook friendship and he said, “Let’s keep in touch by Facebook.”)

In an earlier Facebook posting, Alekseev acknowledges the Scott Long accusation as the impetuous for his sponsors’ cancelation of his California trip. “Someone called Scott Long decided to run a campaign against me in the last 48h and harassed the sponsors of the events asking them to pull out and cancel,” he writes.

(The obvious question is, why did EQCA and Robin Tyler take Scott Long’s accusation over Alekseev’s reputation? Do we now live in a world where one accusation — albeit unresponded by Alekseev — is grounds for disassociation?)

Alekseev adds, “The bullying campaign by Scott Long made its effect and I got a large pressure which people where not even able to make directly. They understood they were behaving improperly and decided to pressure me indirectly. This is just amazing. This is too much. This campaign has absolutely no reasoning and there is no ground for it.Honnestly, I cannot say that I am disappointed in America. This would be totally untrue.”

It’s apparent that the “bullying campaign by Scott Long” indeed “made its effect” on Alekseev as well. Just two hours after he wrapped up his discussion at Columbia, Alekseev wrote in yet another Facebook message the following very, very long missive:

In the light of the controversy concerning the cancellation of my speaking engagements in California, sponsored by a group of local LGBT organizations, I would like to make the following statement, the essence of which was addressed tonight during my speech at Columbia University.

I would like to state that I am a strong believer in human rights and equality for everyone, irrespective of any personal characteristics, whether it is sexual orientation, race, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion or any other basis.

I did publish in my blogs the comments which were addressed against the Israel Government after Israeli Prime Minister called the world to support Egypt dictator Mubarak and to unite around him, disregarding popular public efforts to oust him. I was angry that anyone could support this dictator as he was killing his own people. My comments appeared to blame all Jews for the actions of the Israeli government and its supporters.

The accusations of me distributing anti-Semitic statements on blogs were initiated by notorious human rights campaigner Scott Long who had to quit his position at Human Rights Watch (HRW) due to his involvement into slandering British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for which both Mr Long and HRW had to make a public apology.

(I’d like to draw your attention to this next paragraph, which, if true, says it all.)

Mr. Long was intentionally waiting for my trip to the US to start this campaign against me, which he started the day I arrived in Chicago, a month after this comment were made by me and already long ago after it was removed and address directly with the few who read them and contacted me to discuss it. If Scott Long was truly interested in stopping anti-semitism, why did he wait a month to raise an objection, but instead wait until I landed in the US to start this tour? One can doubt Mr Long would have ever distributed this information if I did not have any speaking engagement in the US. I regret this personal vendetta which goes on between the 2 of us for years might have hurt other people.

I would like to say that I have several Jewish friends who I treasure, including one Jewish American who played a significant role in Moscow Pride movement for years, helping to organize all our events in Russia. I adore her and I consider her as one of the most outstanding people I met in my life. Without her Moscow Pride campaign would not be as successful as it was.

My mum’s stepfather was a Jew who immigrated to Israel from Soviet Union.

I am one of the only persons who always defended Jewish people against the hypocrisy of Switzerland during World War II. This is the topic which almost noone is courageous enough to raise neither in Switzerland itself, nor elsewhere. Just as noone was courageous enough to challenge Gaddafi regime from within Libya and I already did it in 2002 during my trip there risking problems to exit this country.

My grandfather died in World War II fighting the regime which is responsible for killing of millions of Jews. He was fighting for freedom and liberation aged younger than me now. I don’t even know where he found his resting place.

Every time I am in Berlin, and a few weeks ago was not an exception, I visit a massive monument to millions of Jews who died under Nazi devastating rule.

I always dreamt to visit Jerusalem and I am sure I will do it very shortly.

I am a great believer in justice and a great opponent of all injustice. I am always very direct in what I say and sometimes people interpret it the way they want to use it against me.

It is true that I had to cancel my appearances in California due to enormous pressure from the organizers of the tour there. I always said in the last 48h that I would answer any question anyone might have about this issue after my speeches and make them public. And so, I did it tonight at Columbia University in New York., an institution which I admire for not surrendering to the harsh pressure Mr Long put on them in the last day to cancel my appearence. But I still plan to come to California as I know many people are waiting for me there and I have no right to punish them or disregard them.

Closing this statement I would like to stress that I was not personally contacted by any organizers of my tour in California with questions concerning my statements on policy of the Israeli Government. I was not invited in the several conference calls Californian organizers held in the last 48 hours on this issue.

So, is Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev anti-semitic? Only Alekseev can know for sure. Was the wording of his Livejournal statement unfortunate, assuming nothing was “semantic in the translation,” as Alekseev puts it? Definitely. Has he responded to the charges sufficiently to exonerate himself? Only you can decide.

But America should know that Alekseev, who is credited by The Advocate as being “the most visible crusader in his country,” patently denies that he is anti-Semitic. And America should also know that his accuser apparently “was intentionally waiting” to make his accusation, and has, as Alekseev said, been “burning the Reichstag.”

The Reichstag, it seems, has been burned a lot.

All photos © Caleb Eigsti, taken March 1, 2011 at Columbia University

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Trump Team’s Efforts to Rein Him ‘Wilted’ in Waco as He Invoked ‘Retribution and Violence’: Report



Any hope that Donald Trump’s new re-election team may have had that they could steer him into running a more conventional campaign appears to have been swept aside as he used his first major rally to whip up the crowd with a litany of grievances and personal attacks.

According to the Guardian’s David Smith, during Trump’s appearance in Waco late Saturday, the former president used his speech to “invoke retribution and violence” at his perceived enemies, with attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who might possibly challenge him for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

As Smith wrote, “Efforts by Trump’s team to steer a more conventional, disciplined candidacy have wilted in recent days as the 76-year-old unleashed words and images that – even by his provocative standards – are unusually dehumanising, menacing and dangerous,” before adding nothing the past week Trump used “increasingly racist rhetoric as he launched ever more personal attacks against Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, raising fears that supporters could try to lash out on his behalf. Trump even shared an image of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg.”

RELATED: Trump is giving his ‘violent followers’ time to get organized: former FBI official

According to the Guardian report, “Wearing a dark jacket, white shirt and no tie, he said: ‘I got bad publicity and my poll numbers have gone through the roof – would you explain this to me … It gets so much publicity that the case actually gets adjudicated in the press and people see it’s bullshit.'”

The former president also, once again, called his 2024 run the “final battle.”

“Our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will. But they failed. They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one. You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again,” he told the crowd.

You can read more here.

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Trump Desperate to Keep Any Possible Criminal Evidence From Supreme Court: Legal Expert



Donald Trump’s decision to allow one of his lawyers to speak before a grand jury on Friday morning, instead of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, may have been made out of fear of what the justices on the nation’s highest court might see if they reviewed the case.

According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, under normal circumstances, the former president would have dragged out a legal fight over attorney-client privilege that would have kept attorney Evan Corcoran from testifying under oath about Trump’s possession of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort that led to the FBI showing up with a warrant.

As Rubin notes, the fact that Trump let Corcoran testify over three hours raised eyebrows.

“For one, yes, it is indeed unusual, if not unheard of, for a lawyer to be litigating against a party one day and then testifying under court-ordered examination by that same party the next one,” she wrote before suggesting Trump and his legal team were looking at the long game when he might need the predominantly conservative Supreme Court to lend him a helping hand.

RELATED: Revealed: Emails show how Trump lawyers drove Michael Cohen to turn on the president

Writing, “Trump has made clear he believes this Supreme Court — controlled by conservative justices, three of whom he appointed — owes him one,” she added, “My hunch is that Trump’s team let Corcoran’s testimony happen because of what’s likely involved in any request to pause, much less, review a crime-fraud-related ruling: the evidence.”

“Put another way, if Trump had petitioned the Supreme Court to stay Corcoran’s testimony and document production, the justices would have seen some, if not all, of what Judge Howell and the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit have already reviewed: proof that Trump misled Corcoran and engaged in criminal conduct,” she elaborated.

Rubin went on to note that Trump would likely appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, writing, “And for someone whose one last hope, if he is ultimately charged or tried by any of the multiple entities now investigating him, is that same Supreme Court, letting the justices see evidence of his alleged crimes now would be a bridge too far.”

“Trump can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court yet,” she suggested.

You can read more here.

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No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?



Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.

Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.

NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.

Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.

“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.

“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.

“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”

READ MORE: ‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses

Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.

Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.

“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”

“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”

Image via Shutterstock

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