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Lieberman’s Nomination Sparks Internet Hate Speech and NAACP Controversy in Dallas

Anti-Semitic comments have swept over the Internet since the announcement of Senator Joseph Lieberman to the Democratic ticket.

And anti-Semitic remarks made in a radio interview by NAACP Dallas chapter president Lee Alcorn resulted in Alcorn’s indefinite suspension.

Lieberman (D-Conn) was named the vice-presidential nominee to the Democratic party August 7. He is the first Jewish vice-presidential candidate in American history.

Online services such as America Online began “purging” anti-Semitic speech on Internet message boards and in online chat rooms the evening of the announcement.

Any posted messages violating AOL’s rules against hate speech, vulgar language or harassment are being removed, said AOL officials in a New York Times article.

Before the Internet, hate speech did not travel far but “today, this goes globally to a million people,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in the article.

Noticeable increases in hate speech occur after large news events, said Foxman. These slurs often “piggyback” news coverage.

But many AOL subscribers try to counteract the hate speech, according to the New York Times article.

“I cannot believe that anyone in their [sic] right mind would write anything as hateful as I have read here,” wrote one AOL user in a posted message.

Other anti-Semitic comments have surfaced outside of Internet communication.

NAACP Dallas chapter president Lee Alcorn had his tenure indefinitely suspended for using stereotypes to criticize Gore’s choice.

“[Black voters] need to be suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level, because we know that their interest primarily has to do with, you know, money and these kinds of things,” said Alcorn, in a radio interview the evening of Gore’s announcement.

The statements received criticism from a spokesperson for George W. Bush, the American Jewish Congress and fellow African-American leaders. The Gore-Lieberman campaign also responded.

“It’s clear that Mr. Alcorn’s views did not reflect those of the NAACP nor those of most African-American community leaders,” said Jane Cabrera, a spokesperson for the Gore-Lieberman campaign, in an issued statement.

Alcorn did not apologize for his statements, instead saying he was speaking an uncomfortable truth.

“He doesn’t get it,” said Mark Briskman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, in the New York Times. “He just doesn’t get it. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Alcorn has squandered a real opportunity to apologize for his remarks.”