“Gabrielle Gifford [sic] is the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government.”
This comes from a Department of Homeland Security internal memo obtained by Fox News. Whether no name is attached to the memo or whether Fox wanted to save the author some embarrassment isn’t clear.
Memo to the DHS: Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are both Jewish US senators and they took office before Gabrielle Giffords had even decided she was Jewish (after visiting Israel in 2001), let alone sought high office.
The DHS memo also links Giffords’ assailant, Jared Lee Loughner, to a rightwing group called American Renaissance. “The group’s ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic.”
American Renaissance refutes the accusation: “AR is not anti-government, anti-Semitic, or anti-ZOG, as is clear from the 20 years of back issues that are posted on our website. The expression “ZOG” has never appeared in the pages of AR, and we have has always welcomed Jewish participation in our work. Many of the speakers at American Renaissance conferences have been Jewish.”
The organization’s own testimony might seem less than persuasive but a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center adds some weight this claim. Referring to Jared Taylor, who edits American Renaissance, the report says:
One issue that has proven problematic for Taylor and his foundation [the New Century Foundation] has been anti-Semitism. Taylor, unlike many on the radical right, is known for his lack of anti-Semitism and for including racist Jews in his events. He told MSNBC-TV interviewer Phil Donahue in 2003 that Jews “are fine by me” and “look white to me.” At one point, he even banned discussion of the so-called “Jewish question” from American Renaissance venues, and, by 1997, he had kicked Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis off his E-mail list. Despite these efforts, Taylor also has continued to allow people like Don Black, the former Klan leader who runs the neo-Nazi Stormfront.org web forum, and Jamie Kelso, a Stormfront moderator, to attend his biannual American Renaissance Conferences. The problem for Taylor is that many of the most active participants at the American Renaissance Conferences and the most committed members of the American radical right are openly and passionately anti-Semitic. To ban them would devastate Taylor’s efforts to make his journal and conferences flagship institutions of American radical right.
However prevalent anti-Semitism might be in the organization Loughner is being linked to, this doesn’t tell us that much about his own views. Even so, when someone attempts to assassinate a Jewish member of Congress one might expect that anti-Semitism would rank high among the possible motives.
Thus far the Anti-Defamation League has resisted suggesting this might be the gunman’s motive, and neither does anti-Semitism seem to have figured much in the vigorous wider debate the shootings have provoked. Is this because anti-Semitism has so frequently been linked to criticism of Israel that if Israel doesn’t enter the picture then neither does anti-Semitism?