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Alleged Chabad shooter credits racist New Zealand attack as inspiration … but Ted Cruz and McCain blame Ilhan Omar

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In the wake of the deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California on Saturday that left one dead and three injured during the close of the Passover holiday, leading conservatives have turned blame on the inspiration behind the attack to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), despite the shooter claiming to have previously set fire to a mosque.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) posted to social media on Sunday that Omar, and the New York Times, are part of the “anti-Semitic left,” accusing the freshman Congresswoman of “repeated anti-Israel slurs,” and the fault of Democrat leadership who failing to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

In March the House passed legislation condemning various forms of discrimination including anti-Semitism to much ire of Republicans who had sought a resolution honing in on anti-Semitism and citing Omar by name.

“And the House can’t even pass an anti-Semitism resolution. Responsible Dems need to say Enough is Enough,” Cruz wrote.

Omar responded over Twitter, telling Cruz, “A white nationalist literally terrorized a synagogue during Passover yesterday and you have yet to say anything.”

In a separate post she wrote, “Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism are two sides of the same bigoted coin. Let us stand together as American in rejecting hate!”

On Sunday morning conservative commentator and co-host of “The View” Meghan McCain told “This Week with George Stephanopoulos, “when we are having conversation about anti-Semitism we should be looking at the extremes on both sides and I would bring up congresswomen Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention.”

McCain accused Omar of “trafficking anti-Semitic language talking about ‘all about the Benjamins’ and how Jewish people had ‘hypnotized’ the world,” in references to posts made earlier this year by Omar to social media. Omar has since apologized. 

McCain also blasted President Donald Trump for anti-Semitic rhetoric, “he needs to have his feet held to the fire as well. But we’re talking about it on both sides of the aisle as well.”

In response, Women’s March spokesperson Sophie Ellman-Golan, who is Jewish, posted to Twitter, “how dare you suggest that Ilhan Omar is in some way responsible for the murder of our people when the Poway shooter’s manifesto showed his penchant for violent Islamophobia and antisemitism alike. We know who is killing us.”

According to a manifesto posted to the white nationalist online forum 8chan shortly before the killing, the alleged gunman, John T. Earnest, 19, explained who he was inspired by and it was not Omar, or Trump. Earnest said he was motivated by the shooter of the Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand who killed 50 and injured 50 more last March.

The statement was reported to the FBI by multiple sources and was removed from 8chan in under 30 minutes of publication, reported Buzzfeed.

Earnest went on to claim responsibility for an arson attack on a San Diego area mosque weeks before. He further credited 8chan for radicalizing him. In the document he expressed hatred for Jews, Muslims, and people of color more broadly. He decried feminism as an ideology “which has enslaved women in sin.”

“I would die a thousand times over to prevent the doomed fate that the Jews have planned for my race,” he wrote.

Earnest also quoted biblical verses, called Jews “evil,” said that a genocide against white Europeans had started, and said he does not support Donald Trump. He identified himself as American nursing student of distant European heritage.

He announced that he would live-stream his attack similar to the Christchurch killings, yet no footage was released. San Diego County Police said in a statement Sunday Earnest had been charged with one count of first murder and three counts of first degree attempted murder.

A funeral for the victim, Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, will take place on Monday.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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8 Responses

  1. Peter in SF on April 30, 2019, 4:30 am

    The title of this article says that Ted Cruz blames Ilhan Omar for inspiring the alleged Chabad shooter.
    To support this claim, the article displays a tweet by Ted Cruz on Sunday afternoon attacking “The anti-Semitic Left” as shown by Ilhan Omar’s “anti-Israel slurs” and the New York Times. But Cruz’s tweet does not make any connection between this alleged anti-Semitism and the shooting at the Chabad synagogue that occurred the day before, because he never mentions the shooting, either in this tweet or anywhere else on his Twitter feed. That was the whole point of Ilhan Omar’s response tweet, which you also display!

    McCain accused Omar of “trafficking anti-Semitic language talking about ‘all about the Benjamins’ and how Jewish people had ‘hypnotized’ the world,” in references to posts made earlier this year by Omar to social media. Omar has since apologized.

    Well you could have pointed out here that McCain is mischaracterizing Omar’s old tweet, which said that it was Israel, not “Jewish people”, who had hypnotized the world.

  2. MHughes976 on April 30, 2019, 10:11 am

    It looks to me as if Omar got her blow in first, blaming the other side for encouraging White Nationalism, and that Cruz rather flinched from accusing her of personal responsibility. It may be true that any kind of negative remark about things done by Jewish people, however rational, may inflame the passions of irrational people. However the WNs are highly unlikely to take notice of a Muslim orator and if they overhear the likes of us talking of Palestinian rights they would scorn us. They actually seem to be an odd import from the wilder shores of France, talking of the ‘great replacement’ in Europe.

  3. Misterioso on April 30, 2019, 10:50 am

    “Israel and the antisemitism playbook.” (A discussion forum)

    Jewish Voice for Labour, April 30/19

    “A round table with Neve Gordon and Lynne Segal from the UK, and Kristian Davis Bailey and Olivia Katbi Smith from the US, to discuss the role of accusations of antisemitism in disarming criticism of Israel.

    “They take a long, hard look at what the organisers, Merip (Middle East Research and Information Project), describe in their introduction as attacks aiming to ‘vilify the messenger in order to discredit the message.’

    “The continuing attacks on Congressional critics of Israeli policies like Rep. Ilhan Omar for their alleged antisemitism appear culled from the same playbook that Israel’s supporters in Great Britain have used to tarnish Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn over the past few years: vilify the messenger in order to discredit the message. This tactic has also been widely used at the grassroots level in the United States where increasingly successful Palestinian rights activists have been subject to vitriolic personal criticism, including the frequent charge of antisemitism, for advocating for Palestinian rights or their criticism of Israel. In our continuing discussion of this issue (see our roundtable on the manufactured controversy over Ilhan Omar’s tweets) we asked two commentators from Great Britain and two from grassroots activism in the United States to respond and reflect on what is behind this tactic and why now it is being deployed in each context. A virulent antisemitism is clearly on the rise and must be confronted, but as the participants in this roundtable point out, conflating criticism of the Israeli government’s policies with antisemitism undermines the fight against actual antisemitism as well as the other forms of racism and bigotry with which it is intimately connected today.”

    “Disarming the Weaponization of Antisemitism – Kristian Davis Bailey is a writer, activist and co-founder of Black for Palestine.”

    “‘Apologists for Israel’s colonization of Palestine have long used allegations of antisemitism as a weapon to shut down criticism of Israel. Such allegations, aided by public smears and, increasingly, internet doxing (in which personal or private information is leaked onto the internet), intimidate people who might be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause into staying silent. Yet the recent experience around Rep. Ilhan Omar suggests that the effectiveness of weaponizing antisemitism may be waning. It has often been sufficient for Israel’s defenders to merely allege antisemitism in order to marginalize advocates for justice in Palestine. This tactic has worked by representing anti-Jewish racism, and the Nazi Holocaust, as exceptional—hence non-comparable—phenomena. In this way, discussions of antisemitism have been largely separated from other forms of genocide, state-sanctioned violence and bigotry.'”

    • JWalters on April 30, 2019, 8:08 pm

      Ant-Zionism is on the rise as people become more informed, and smears of ant-Semitism are on the rise in response.

      This tactic – smearing the messenger INSTEAD of engaging in honest debate on the facts – is openly admitted by AIPAC agents on camera in the great undercover documentary
      “The Lobby – USA – ALL episodes 1+2+3+4”

      This point needs all the hammering we can give it.

  4. Jackdaw on April 30, 2019, 12:58 pm

    Sadly, Rep. Omar (D-MN) is Jew-obsessed.

    That said, Cruz and McCain are way off base this time.

    • eljay on April 30, 2019, 1:27 pm

      || Jackdaw: Sadly, Rep. Omar (D-MN) is Jew-obsessed. … ||

      And hers is nothing compared to the sad “Jew obsession” Zionists have.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on April 30, 2019, 4:02 pm

      It always amuses me how Zionists consider everyone who disagrees with them to be ‘Jew obsessed’. Jews are no more or less interesting than any other religious group. It’s classic projections: Because some Jews are obsessed with the fact that they are Jews, they like to assume everyone else is.

      We’re not. We’re really not.

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