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Rightwing extremists must be held accountable for Holocaust Museum attack
By Ray Hanania — Let’s be clear. Had the attacker at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. been an Arab or a Muslim, the cacophony of calls for vigilance against the Arab and Muslim community would be deafening. But 88-year-old James Wenneker von Brunn, the man who killed one museum guard and wounded another, turned out not to be an Arab nor a Muslim, as some in the Israeli press had speculated as events unfolded on June 10th.. Instead, he is a well-known white supremacist with rightwing conservative views who supports the militia movement.
So why isn’t anyone yelling at the demagogues of the rightwing conservative movement whose constant hate speech on cable TV and talk radio fuel the growing anger and concern of hundreds of thousands and possibly even millions more Americans who share von Brunn’s racist views?
Why are commentators like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Back and Charles Krauthammer, among other rightwing extremist conservatives, being called on to apologize to the Jewish people, the American people and to the world for their role in giving von Brunn’s racist hate views validity?
In fact, von Brunn is exactly the kind of domestic terrorist that the Department of Homeland Security warned us about last year as the administration of President George W. Bush was coming to an end and the administration of the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama, was beginning.
Instead of heeding the warnings, fanatics and conservative jihadists like Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh and Krauthammer were attacking the warning, asserting it unfairly disparaged Republicans and American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many believe that von Brunn, whose hatred of Jews and Blacks is second only to his hatred of Arabs and Muslims and anyone of color, represents precisely the kind of terrorist threat in America that so far has gone unchallenged.
His rampage at the museum came days after Obama offered a hand of peace and understanding to the Arab and Muslim Worlds which was followed by a solemn visit to a World War II death camp where hundreds of thousands of Jews, Gypsies, Russians and other non-Aryan peoples were murdered and put to death in gas chambers
Is von Brunn’s assault and Obama’s speech not linked? Is Brunn’s assault and the hate speech of Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh and Krauthammer, among many other far rightwing extremists, not tied together by an immoral cord of political demagoguery and hatred?
Isn’t von Brunn, the symbol of White supremacy, also the symbol of the hysteria being whipped up against other minorities including immigrants and dark-skinned Americans?
It is outrageous that these same demagogues can pillory Obama because of the hate speech of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently blamed “Jews” at the White House for preventing him from meeting with Obama, who was once a member of his church congregation on Chicago’s South Side.
They scream Wright’s name at the top of their lungs and turn the ugliness into fodder that pushes people into political partisanship and extremism.
Yet, none has dared to claim credit or ownership of the fanaticism that is the foundation of von Brunn’s racist madness and the mantra of their daily spewing of race and religion-driven hatred.
These same hypocrites and enablers of the new domestic terrorism this country faces and that the DHS has warned us about would have exploded in outrage had the race or religion of the killer at the Holocaust Museum been Arab or Muslim.
Only because of the vigilance of the museum guards was von Brunn’s rampage limited. It could have been far worse. The consequences of an unchecked assault could have claimed so many more lives of Jews and non-Jews at the memorial for the World War II Holocaust.
And only because von Brunn is a White supremacist and militia-supporting rightwing extremist are the condemnations by Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh and Krauthammer muted.
Why these fanatics are allowed to continue to sit in front of their cable TV and radio microphones, or distributed by media syndicates is in fact the question that has yet not been answered in the case of the murderer at the Holocaust Museum.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and Chicago morning radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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