First nativists and birthers, now Holocaust-deniers and anti-Semites?
Yes, even for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, this jumps the proverbial shark.
I'm talking about a recent interview Arpaio granted to Pennsylvania-based Holocaust-denier Victor Thorn, author of The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking the 20th Century's Greatest Fabrication and Made in Israel: 9-11 and the Jewish Plot Against America, among numerous other tomes with similarly repulsive themes.
Thorn's interview with Arpaio was published Sunday by the American Free Press, which the Anti-Defamation League has described as a "Washington, DC-based conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic newspaper published by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto."
The interview itself is pretty standard stuff: Arpaio denouncing "amnesty," the Obama administration, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Titled, "Legendary Sheriff Joe Arpaio Speaks to AFP," the article is full of pat quotes from Arpaio, like the following:
"I have a gun and badge. I don't talk. I take action...I'm against amnesty, and no one should receive a get-out-of-jail-free card. I believe in following the law."
I contacted Thorn who told me that he did the interview via phone with Arpaio, but he would not tell me who on Arpaio's end helped set it up.
"I know who I went through, and I know the notes that I took," Thorn said when I asked.
When I mentioned that the interview might be controversial, not because of its content, but because it's published in AFP, Thorn asked why.
I answered that American Free Press is considered to be an anti-Semitic publication.
"Who calls it anti-Semitic?" wondered Thorn.
Um, the ADL, for one, I said.
"Well, you're using them as a source?" he laughed.
Yep, that's the main reason "anti-defamation" is in that organization's title. The ADL knows all about anti-Semites. It exists to battle them.
But you don't have to go to the ADL. Just take a look at some of the filth published by AFL, including the sort of illustrations that would have tickled Joseph Goebbles no end, and the publication's bent is pretty obvious.
As for Thorn, he didn't flinch much when I observed that he is a Holocaust-denier.
"I question the Holocaust," he corrected me. "The way I view the world is that we should question everything. There should be nothing that's off limits."
Thorn praised Arpaio as "one of the great heroes of this country," and said he considers himself to be a "supporter" of Joe's.
"He's doing great work," Thorn said of the sheriff. "He's trying to enforce the laws of this nation, to me that's something that's spectacular."
This is hardly Arpaio's first dalliance with extremists. Arpaio's investigation of President Obama's birth certificate, his anti-federal government rhetoric and his racial-profiling of Latinos has endeared him over the years to a variety of right-wing kooks, conspiracy nuts, nativists and neo-Nazis.
I inquired about the interview with the MCSO. Sheriff's Office spokesman Joaquin Enriquez got back to me with the following statement:
"The Sheriff does hundreds of interviews with different people and doesn't do background checks on them before he does them. The topic of this interview was immigration, I'm sure you have it.
"The Sheriff wanted me to point out that Victor Thorn also spoke to Jessica Vaughan a former U.S. State Department Official. The Sheriff has an open door policy and speaks to everyone, except you. So to answer your question yes, he did do the interview."
Calling Vaughan "a former U.S. State Department Official" may be technically correct (the MCSO apparently is quoting Thorn in doing so), but her bio with the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, for which she works, is more precise.
"Prior to joining the Center, Mrs. Vaughan was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, where she served in Belgium and Trinidad & Tobago."
I've gotta wonder what Arpaio's Jewish supporters think of his knowingly doing interviews with Holocaust-deniers and anti-Semitic newspapers?
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