Monday, June 15, 2009

More Thoughts on the Holocaust Memorial Shooting

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

US Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

The shooting at the Holocaust Museum, combined with the shootings in Arkansas and Kansas, have continued to spur a public discussion on the motives of the shooters and their political implications. Many pundits on the left have continued to use the Tiller murder and the murder at the Holocaust Museum as a basis to attack "right-wingers" and conservative commentators for "inciting hate", while ignoring the murder of a soldier at a US Army recruiting office by a Muslim convert, who has publicly stated that he acted out of religious motives. One of my readers has asked how I would have reacted if the Holocaust Museum shooter had been a Muslim instead of the actual shooter, one James van Brunn, who is being portrayed as a right-wing white supremacist and anti-Semite. Fair enough question, but it should be pointed out that van Brunn apparently had a collection of "enemies" that were spread across the political spectrum.

To begin with, I have condemned all three shootings. None can be justified even though I believed that Dr George Tiller was a monster. His murder was not justified, nor does it, in my view, incriminate abortion opponents as a whole. To suggest that even a sizable minority of anti-abortion activists advocate abortion clinic bombings and the murder of abortion doctors is outrageous. The accused shooter is nothing more than a misguided extremist who should have kept his anti-abortion activities confined to working within the legal and political system to change the laws.

Now to Mr van Brunn. As the investigation unfolds, it appears that this individual is, in fact, a white supremacist and anti-Semite. Yet, it appears that one of his other possible targets may have been the conservative journal, Weekly Standard, whose offices were visited by FBI agents in the days following the shooting inquiring if they had received any threats. It appears this individual had imagined enemies across the political spectrum, and that he cannot be so easily pigeon-holed into the conservative bracket as some, like Keith Olbermann, would suggest. Olbermann has even gone so far as to suggest that the deaths of Dr Tiller and Holocaust Museum security guard Stephen Johns have validated the report by the Dept. of Homeland Security regarding "right-wing hate groups". (Mr Olbermann, of course, conveniently leaves the whole Arkansas shooting out of the equation.)

The lesson of the Holocaust Museum shooting is not that anti-Semitism is in sole possession of the right, as Olbermann would have us believe. Far from it. As Professor Jack Levin of Northeastern University reminded Olbermann on "Countdown" last week, there is more anti-Semitism emanating today from the left. This is what Levin and others describe as the "new anti-Semitism" embraced by the left locked in an embrace with the pro-Palestinian forces as a result of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I would stress that the left to which Mr Levin refers can be found mainly on our university campuses, where radical Muslim Student Associations have found a ready ally in academia.

This is not to deny the existence of extremists such as the various militias and the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Neo-Nazi skinheads. They are out there, and they must be closely monitored just as any other group or individual determined to advance their cause(s) from outside the established system.

But I have yet to address my reader's question as to my response had the Washington shooter been a Muslim. Obviously, that would have buttressed my belief that extremist Muslims tend to hold anti-Jewish attitudes. Yes, I would have added this to a host of other anti-Semitic incidents committed and inflammatory words uttered in the name of (radical) Islam. However, I would not have condemned all Muslims for the act, and surely, I would know that decent and responsible Muslims would have condemned the action. But it was not committed by a Muslim, thank God.

That, I think, leads to what I consider the only sensible conclusion to be drawn from the three murders: First, that they were committed by three deranged individuals, whose acts cannot be condoned; second, that their actions should not serve to drag in and implicate every other person or group that could possibly be linked to the primary motive, such as religion, stance on abortion, or where they stand on the right-left political spectrum. Finally, we should all stand together on these incidents and use not them (or ignore) them in the name of our ideological positions. All three incidents go to show that we have a cancer in our society (or multiple cancers) and that we need to work together to eradicate it.

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