Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Simon Wiesenthal Center
9760 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Dear Rabbi Cooper:
The Fifth Anniversary of the April 19, 1993 burning of the Mt. Carmel Center in Waco, Texas is fast approaching. I write in the hope that you and the Simon Wiesenthal Center will use your considerable resources to mark the occasion.
As we have not met, allow me to give you a little information about my background. I am a resident of Virginia, but a New Yorker by birth. I could be described as a "concerned citizen," a mother with a young daughter, concerned with teaching my daughter to do the right thing.
When I was a young woman, I attended a convent school where the nuns taught me about the rise of the Nazis in Germany. I could not understand why the German people, with their great history of learning and culture, could allow such to happen in their country. Why did they not speak out and say "No"? I resolved that, should history bring similar circumstances to my life, I would step forward and say "No."
History has given me that opportunity. In 1993, the Branch Davidian community home in Waco, Texas, was assaulted from the air and ground in a military attack. During the 51 day siege, the Davidians were subjected to a vicious hate campaign orchestrated by the media, imprisoned in their home, tortured and used as experimental subjects for high-tech weapons testing. On or about April 19, 1993, many of those surviving Davidians living within the home were murdered with malice aforethought, and their home burned to the ground.
On April 19, 1994, under the banner "Waco Remembrance," I organized a protest outside the FBI Building in Washington, DC. In the following year, I organized another protest outside the FBI Building in Washington, DC. Both protests were well attended by the public and TV, radio, and print reporters. On April 19, 1996, I established the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum. The Museum documents the deliberate murder of the Branch Davidians, and the efforts to cover up the crime. Please visit the Museum at:
The Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum has been read by people throughout the world. Many of these international readers have put up mirror sites, and many thousands have downloaded the Museum to their local platforms for study. Almost all of my original research sources and documentation can be found at the site. Readers can confirm the veracity of my statements for themselves. The Museum is very well-documented.
What do yesterday's events in Europe and today's events in the US have in common? Too many complacent people, for starters. In Germany, those who could have and should have spoken out kept their silence. In the US, those who could have and should have spoken out kept their silence.
Still today, five years after Waco, the words "Never Again" are unspoken by our nation.
It was indeed a coincidence that the burning of the Mt. Carmel Center took place hours before the US Holocaust Museum was dedicated in Washington, D.C. (on April 19, 1993, the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising). Yet, as far as the public knows, not one of the dignitaries at the dedication condemned the slaughter of the innocents at Waco.
To compound the irony, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians apparently had a warm regard for Israel and things Jewish.
* David Koresh personally visited Israel.
* The flag of the Davidians featured the Star of David.
* Vernon Howell changed his name to "David" to honor Israeli King David and "Koresh" (the Hebrew form of Cyrus) to honor the Persian King Cyrus who defeated the Babylonians and freed the Jews from captivity.
* Branch Davidian survivor David Thibodeau visited Jerusalem in 1994; the Jersulam Post Magazine considered his visit significant enough to write a feature story on him (October 14, 1994). See
According to that Jerusalem Post Magazine article,
* The Branch Davidians living at the Mt. Carmel Center studied the Torah.
* One Branch Davidian who died at the Mt. Carmel Center, the late Pablo Cohen, was an Israeli citizen. According to the Jerusalem Post Magazine article, Mr. Cohen was one of the most devoted students of Scripture within the Branch Davidian community.
* David Koresh gave his deepest biblical studies during the Jewish High Holy Days.
* The FBI allowed a Pessah haggada, sent by Pablo's mother, Shulamit Cohen, into the Center during the siege. It was one of the few items the FBI allowed into the Center during the siege.
I long accepted this dictum as true: Jews feel concern for the downtrodden and are champions of the Bill of Rights and due process. Therefore it has been a great personal disappointment to me that, almost five years after the incident, not one American Jewish leader of prominence has condemned the butchery and demanded the prosecution of the murderers.
Sadly, no one from organized Jewry has spoken out to condemn the hatred and denigration leveled against the Waco victims, either. You doubtlessly witnessed the hate campaign conducted by the media during the 1993 siege, but do you realize that the campaign still continues?
Review the hate cartoon published by ESQUIRE magazine in January, 1996:
I enclose a copy of the cartoon, along with a copy of the magazine's masthead. (Note that Edward Kosner is no longer the editor of ESQUIRE.) Have a look at the cartoon on pg. 66. The banner over the top reads:
"MILITIA CAFE . . . The Finest Theme Restaurant in the Zionist States of Amerika!"
This cartoon is an advertisement for the Militia Cafe, and shows a drawing of the interior of a restaurant with second story mezzanine. A cammie clad militiaman is in the foreground, on the mezzanine level. On each arm the militia man has a voluptuous woman, one holding a grenade and the other a rifle. In the background we see other militia men on the floor below, sitting at tables with rifles. Blocks of text in starbursts surround the drawing. Some of this text reads as follows:
"You kill it, we grill it! 100% guaranteed USDA uninspected beef! Plus, the specialty of the house, blackened turkey a al Koresh!"
"The finest cache of Patriot memorabilia in the world, including . . . actual ashes of the martyred Branch Davidians!"
"From the moment you, Mr. and Mrs. White Christian American, enter our perimeter-secured parking lot, patrolled on a 24-hour basis by combat-ready members of the Posse Comitatus, you know you're with your own kind and ONLY your own kind."
Perhaps the depth of viciousness and hatred of this cartoon can be realized more fully if we put other victims in the place of the Davidian victims. Suppose ESQUIRE magazine ran a spoof on the Nazi holocaust, featuring an ad for lampshades. A drawing depicted a lampshade showroom; starbursts of text reading thus:
"Get your lampshades here, folks! We've used only the best skins!"
"Special discounts when you purchase family ensembles!"
I believe you would join me in condemning the magazine. Surely ESQUIRE's denigration and contempt for the Waco victims should be viewed in the same light as denigration and contempt for Nazi victims. Don't you agree?
Now permit me to quote a few comments from the two e-mail messages I am including with this letter. The first is from a Charlotte Siegfried.
Ms. Siegfried begins her e-mail by quoting words from the Museum: "The tiny sect called the Branch Davidians, reviled in the 1990s, were as worthy of protection as the Jews of Europe, reviled in the 1940s."
To these words, Charlotte responds:
"How dare you make such a blazenly (sic) thoughtless and irresponsible statement!"
Ms. Siegfried goes on to denigrate David Koresh and the Davidians. Without any personal knowledge of the victims, she repeats the calumnies spread about them by the government and media. The Jews of Europe did not have these flaws, she asserts. Charlotte continues:
"To say that just because the Davidians were 'reviled' (by whom, I don't know) is no reason to dishonor or tarnish the memory of thousands upon thousands of dead Jews . . . to be reviled and killed, that doesn't make you 'Jew-like.'"
The implication of Ms. Siegfried's comments are clear: Some humans are inherently more valuable than others.
In his e-mail, Jeff Swertfeger writes:
"Maybe you and the rest of the Hitler Youth could find another comet or hitch a ride on. To assume that these were peace loving individuals only shows how 'objective' you really are. Enjoy your obscurity."
"Your attempt to 'enlighten' the world by defending the Branch Davidian Cult (who were guilty of arms violations, tax evasion, countless sexual offenses against minors, etc.) turns my stomach."
Note how Mr. Swertfeger vilifies the Branch Davidians, again repeating the government/media black propaganda lines. In fact, every one of the Branch Davidians were innocent before the law at the time they were slaughtered--due process is a nicety that Mr. Swertfeger disregards. Mr. Swertfeger calls me "Hitler Youth" when it is he who uses tactics attributed to Hitler.
As you know, murderers frequently disparage their victims. Vilification of the victims serves to deflect attention from the crimes, and serves to protect the murderers.
Even though the murders of the Branch Davidians were government-sponsored, I am sure you will agree that killers who take part in government murder programs should be brought to justice. The Davidians' murderers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law--they should be indicted and brought to trial, and if found guilty, subject to full lawful penalties, including the death penalty.
Surely it is unthinkable that the murderers of the Branch Davidians are still free and living among us. Your tax money and mine pays their salaries and provides them with health insurance and pension plans, etc. They are subject to US law right now--no need for cumbersome extradition procedures.
I would like to make a formal public request that the Simon Wiesenthal
Center (1) call for the prosecution of the murderers of the Branch Davidians,
and, (2) publicly condemn the hate and vilification campaigns leveled against
the Davidians. I ask you to join me in affirming Article I of America's
first Bill of Rights, the Virginia Declaration of Rights:
"That all Men by Nature are equally free and independent, and have certain inherent Rights, of which, when they enter into a state of Society, they cannot, by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; namely, the enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety." (Adopted on June 12, 1776; written by George Mason of Gunston Hall, Virginia.)
We Americans have come from a variety of religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. My own ancestors were Irish and Italian. When they came to this country, they did so with the intention of giving their full loyalty to America and its ideals--liberty and justice for all.
Surely our first civic duty is to the nationality that unites us, rather than ethnic, religious or cultural differences that may divide us. Let us seek common justice even for the "least of these" who live among us.
Naturally I would be delighted if you persuaded other leaders of organized Jewry to join in these efforts. I would be pleased to offer you whatever assistance I can in this regard. My e-mail address is <SkyWriter@public-action.com>. I look forward to hearing from you.
Carol A. Valentine
President, Public Action, Inc.