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Kansas Hate Crime Didn’t Emerge From a Vacuum

April 20, 2014 9:58 am 12 comments

The Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. Photo: jcckc.

JNS.orgWhen you look at the image of Frazier Glenn Cross, AKA Glenn Miller, the shooter who cold-bloodedly murdered three Christians in a bloody eve-of-Passover spree at two Jewish community buildings in Overland Park, Kan., what do you see?

I’ll tell you what I see. The dead-eyed stare, the pasty, blotched skin and lousy teeth, the unkempt facial hair—this is exactly the kind of face we associate with anti-Semitic and racist thuggery. In the 20th century, Cross could have been a concentration camp guard, wearing his ignorant, vulgar sneer as he shoved his Jewish victims into a gas chamber, screaming barely literate, anti-Semitic epithets along the way.

As we mourn the dead, and agonize over the fact that security at Jewish institutions becomes more vulnerable when Jewish holidays draw near, we comfort ourselves by saying that such exemplary specimens of the “Master Race” as Cross are a rarity. Neo-Nazis are at the fringe of the fringe, most of them don’t have the guts to go beyond harassing their enemies on social networks, and the odd individuals who do engage in violence unfortunately have easy access to guns. What this means is that Jews and other minorities have to occasionally shoulder atrocities like the one in Kansas. It absolutely does not mean that America is an anti-Semitic country, or that such attacks are a prelude to greater persecution.

One might add that the wider community’s reaction to the Overland Park murders showcased a humble, hard-working, tolerant America at its best. We suffer and we pull through—just as we pulled through the shootings at Jewish Community Centers in Los Angeles in 1999 and Seattle in 2006. Just as French Jews pulled through 2012 murders by an Islamist of a rabbi and three beautiful children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Just as Jews in Israel overcame the enormous pain that accompanied the Palestinian bombing of a Passover seder, which claimed the lives of 30 people, at a Netanya hotel in 2002.

But something is missing. By overly focusing on punks like Frazier Cross, there’s a danger that we ignore those elements in our broader culture that sustain and inspire them.

Look at some of the posts that Cross left on various neo-Nazi and white supremacist bulletin boards, and you’ll see what I mean. Amidst his hate-drenched rants against Jews, he warmly recommended an article by “Jew journalist” Max Blumenthal, whom he complimented for exposing Israel’s “attempt…to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment… the k*kes simply do not trust a lame-duck black president with the name Hussein.” (Incidentally, it’s not unheard of for Nazis to recommend certain Jewish authors—Hitler himself reportedly described Otto Weininger, a Viennese Jewish philosopher who lambasted the modern “Jewish” era, as a rare example of a Jew he admired.)

It’s not an accident that today’s Nazis are attracted to left-wing, viscerally anti-Zionist writers like Blumenthal. Both share the view that the so-called “Israel Lobby” drove the U.S. into foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both believe that politicians kowtow to Jewish interests because they fear the costs of not doing so. And both are convinced that the type of “Jewish supremacism” practiced in Israel makes a nonsense of American Jewish appeals for tolerance and understanding.

Two years ago, Blumenthal mocked the Department of Homeland Security for describing Jews as a community facing “special risks.”

“It’s clear what’s going on here,” he said, in a nod towards undue Jewish political influence. Blumenthal has also actively promoted the idea that Judaism itself is a hateful religion, a slander propounded by his Israeli collaborator, Yossi Gurvitz, who has stated that “Rabbinical Judaism is a Judaism that hates humans.” On Twitter, meanwhile, Blumenthal has used his own account to retweet the rantings of one David Benedetti, who taunted a Jewish user with Holocaust imagery, saying “your grandmother also made a nice lampshade.”

Now that the Kansas atrocity underlines that Jews do, in fact, face serious risks, Blumenthal has shifted tack, writing on the anti-Semitic website Mondoweiss on the alleged similarities between Frazier Cross’s Nazi ideology and Zionism. Elsewhere on the same website, which receives part of its funding from conservative businessman Ron Unz, another contributor, Annie Robbins, wondered aloud whether Kansas was an Israeli conspiracy.

Why does any of this matter? Left-wing anti-Zionists are increasingly regarded as acceptable company in the intellectual mainstream. Blumenthal has, for example, recently addressed the New America Foundation, a leading liberal think-tank in Washington, DC, which was apparently unperturbed by his flock of Nazi admirers, or by the fact that he was the subject of a flattering profile on Press TV, the official mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.

How much longer will we buy into the ludicrous idea that Blumenthal carries no responsibility for the way his screeds are interpreted? Similarly, when we read leading political scientist Stephen Walt, co-author of the miserable book “The Israel Lobby,” telling Haaretz that 9/11 was Israel’s fault, why do we continue to view his discourse as more sophisticated then the bigots who parrot him?

People like Frazier Cross don’t emerge from a vacuum. They are enabled by the same deadly ideas about Jews and Israel that have become so fashionable in parts of the media and academia. In the wake of the hate crime in Kansas, it’s time to start highlighting those links.

Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.

12 Comments

  • His father Sidney ‘the drunk’ Blumenthal the dear and loyal servant of the clintons threw a book party for him.

    • Not only is maxie a clown like character.He also claimed that Breivik was influenced by Pamela Gellar.Breivik mentions Gellar once, not over 3 Hundred times like maxie is mentioned by his fellow sojourner Frazier Cross. Breivik also mentions the N.Y.TIMES,CNN,BBC,THE ECONOMIST, THE NATION,MOTHER JONES and various other publications numerous times.Yet this maxie who lacks any personal courage talks about Pamela Gellar.Now ‘maxie boy’ Doesn’t like that the chickens are coming home to roost.

  • Walt is Obama’s main adviser especially on Iran. I started to watch a political discussion this weekend on C-Span until Mearsheimer, Walt’s co-author of the “Israel Lobby” was introduced as a respected participant. We have a left wing President who came out of a left wing academia. He is supported by 70% of the Jews and the left is having a field day. The 60s are gone and so Israel has become Bull Connor, the Palestinians are the black people fighting for their rights, and Jews support Israel and are therefore on the wrong side. It will be worse if the Republicans put Rand Paul in. The extreme right and the extreme left sound very much alike. Look at the right wing online press.

  • Seriously, you’re going to blame the actions of a former wizard of the KKK on the American *left*? It’s true that some high super-ego Jews make for useful idiots for those who want to hate, but this article truly shows that to a hammer everything is a nail.

    • Christians look at Carlos Danger, Micky Weinstein, the ACLU, and all the other liberal Jews and realize the American liberal Jew is as dangerous to Israel as they are to the Christians. The liberal Jews haved joined with Islam for the take down of Israel. A northern kingdom and a souther kingdom in ancient time wared against itself…race against race…religious Israelis against idolaters. Liberal Jews are now locked into a conflict to the death with Israel. They need to put someone on the plate to passify our Islamic President.

  • pinchas baram

    in an ideal world, dreckheads like annie robbins and maxie blumenthal would be badly beaten up in a dark alley by the JDL or its descendants.

    alas, Jews have no real defense organizations– the JDL was decades ago undermined by weakling rabbis and other jewish “leaders”; and as for the adl and the ajc– don’t waste your breath. thus these anti-Zionist jewish creeps like smugface maxie get louder and bolder; not only that, they get book contracts easily, speaking engagements at schools like brooklyn college and brandeis, and their kissing cousins (jewish voices for peace, j street) get membership jewish community councils and federations which are oblivious to their own core values and instead worship the idol which says diversity now! and all voices and opinons are equal in the big tent!, as if an extreme egalitarianism is the essence of Judaism.

    so if the author wants to examine the culture behind the nazi a-hole in Kansas, he should also put the spotlight on the lameness and abdication of responsibility of the adl, ajc, hillel, and rabbinic and synagogue organizations across the board.

  • Jews will always be God chosen doesn’t make them better than everyone else but God expect more is expected from them. Who is the first at all national and international catastrophe? Israel and America every time.
    I do not want to be any where near David Rubell when he meets God.

  • Correct information is power. Thank you for exposing truth.

  • Michael in Pennsylvania

    Completely correct.

  • annie robbins

    completely desperate

    • right on annie…everything is an Israeli conspiracy …even you’re an Israeli conspiracy, because, when you;re as all-powerful as Israel and the Jews are, you control the media and the spoken word so nobody ever speaks words of hate about you…but we can’t have that now, can we? Then all the conspiracy theorists would see a plot in that…so enter people such as yourself. Your message is so plainly stupid that any intelligent person could decipher the true message you give, which is “Please disregard this; it is only disinformation issued by Israel and the Jews to stir up hatred among people of lesser purpose who have nothing else to offer this world while distracting them from the truth: that Israel and the Jews conspire about everything.” After all, annie, not all people can actually be as stupid and as worthless as you are…

    • Excellent substantive reply there annie. Way to persuade!

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