The left is once again trying to connect political violence to the right without any evidence. We’ve seen this many times before, perhaps most memorably in the attempt to attach a mass shooting in Tucson to Sarah Palin back in 2011. Then, as now, the claim wasn’t that anyone on the right had handed the shooter a gun and told him what to do. But the suggestion was made that the shooter had been incited to carry out the attack by a district targeting map created by Palin’s staff.
It turned out the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was largely apolitical and, more importantly, was schizophrenic. He had probably never seen the map which the left and the media claimed had been responsible for the shooting. Rather than admitting error, the left shifted to the vague claim that a “climate of hate” was responsible for the shooter’s behavior. The climate of hate was also the right’s fault of course.
Yesterday, in the wake of another violent attack in Monsey, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio revived the climate of hate argument. “An atmosphere of hate has been developing in this country over the last few years. A lot of it is emanating from Washington and it is having an effect on all of us,” de Blasio said. Asked if he was intending to blame the president, de Blasio allowed that it was “not just the president.”
According to reports published Monday, Grafton Thomas, the man who attacked and wounded Jews celebrating Hanukkah inside a Rabbi’s private home Saturday, has a history of mental illness and no connections to any hate groups. That’s coming from Thomas’s lawyer and family so they have a clear motive for offering excuses for his behavior. But the NY Times reports that Thomas seems to have been interested in Hitler and may have had a connection to the Black Hebrew Israelites:
Officials said they had found handwritten journals at Mr. Thomas’s home in which he expressed anti-Semitic views, including references to Adolf Hitler and “Nazi culture,” and drawings of a Star of David and a swastika, according to the complaint.
The complaint, signed by an F.B.I. special agent, Julie S. Brown, also said that officials had searched Mr. Thomas’s phone, which showed that he had looked online the phrase “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” four times in the last month…
According to the complaint, one statement in his journals suggested that he had been influenced by the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a religious group to which officials also linked one of the attackers in the Jersey City shooting.
Thomas’s mental stability and his connection to the Black Hebrew Israelites has yet to be worked out. Despite that, some on the left are following de Blasio’s lead and explicitly blaming the president for the attack over the weekend:
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America. And it’s being stoked by @realDonaldTrump who won’t condemn it and Trump’s lawyer, @RudyGiuliani, who just this week said he’s “more Jewish than Soros.” ICYMI, my @jdforward op-ed on what we must do: https://t.co/5wVUoVyS5w
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 29, 2019
And folks still don't see the connection with his words and how it ignites violence. He fuels people's anger & misguided hate. Instead of leading with compassion, he simply gaslights and laughs about it. https://t.co/S3JxXYTDs3
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) December 29, 2019
Just to be clear, I hold the Trump White House directly responsible for the increasing violent attacks on Orthodox Jewish people in America. It should be clear now that exceptionalizing Jews- whether in a negative or positive light- endangers us and keeps us forever at risk
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) December 29, 2019
While Grafton Thomas’s connection to the Black Hebrew Israelites is still uncertain, authorities have connected one of the shooters in the attack on a Jewish market in Jersey City to the group. Not only is this not a white supremacist group it’s the opposite:
“They believe that Jewish people are ‘fake Jews’ imposters who will be supplanted by them in the future,” Beirich added. “They also believe that God will make whites, who these groups consider spawns of the devil, into their slaves, forced into eternal servitude.”…
“While not all Black Hebrew Israelites have these characteristics, all of the groups that we list as hate groups do.”
Beirich said the SPLC considers these chapters a part of the Black Separatist movement, which espouses ideas of black supremacy and supports tenets of hatred against certain groups, in particular Jews.
This is certainly racist and hateful but it isn’t coming from Washington. In fact, it’s a problem that, as Bari Weiss pointed out earlier this month, isn’t limited to New York. The rise in anti-Semitism is happening in France and the UK as well. But even after the Jersey City attack, the NY Times editorial board is still trying to focus attention on right-wing anti-Semitism while downplaying the growing problem of left-wing anti-Semitism. This is a form of gaslighting. The left needs to admit that this problem can’t simply be blamed on the president or Republicans. This is a problem closer to home.