2013 January » ADL Blogs
January 25, 2013

Oklahoma Anti-Immigrant Group Blames Jews For Promoting Gun Control

The anti-immigrant group Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now (IRON), based in Jenks, circulated its latest newsletter on January 11, 2013, with a headline that blamed Jews for pushing “gun disarmament” and asked readers not to let Jews “succeed in shredding America’s Constitution.” The newsletter then attempted to justify the headline by promoting the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control Hollywood and claiming that prominent Jewish politicians/businesspersons are the most vocal gun control advocates.

IRON tried to blame gun violence on Jews by claiming that “Jewish millionaires control Hollywood entertainment [sic] feeding TV media, violent movies with pornographic inserts.  IRON went on to claim, “They must take responsibility for glamorizing violence AND GUNS, depicting routine gun violence, terror, vigilante rape, pornography, and profanity.” The newsletter then called Jews “hypocrites” for allegedly wanting to control guns while supposedly glorifying guns in the media.

The newsletter also included  a list of “gun control voices,” including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ); Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); former Senator Joe Lieberman, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—all Jewish political figures.

The list then singled out Jewish billionaire George Soros, calling him the “Agenda 21 finance tycoon.” Agenda 21 is a United Nations action plan aimed at promoting sustainable development, which many anti-government and far-right groups claim will result in the United States giving up its sovereignty.  The list also mentioned the Jewish mayor of New York City, Michel Bloomberg, claiming that he “funded [a] super PAC targeting pro-gun candidates.”

The anti-Semitic rant by IRON is perplexing for a group whose purpose is “informing taxpayers of the enormous costs of illegal immigration.” This rhetoric reveals that the group harbors bigotry beyond anti-immigrant sentiment.  IRON is listed by the DC-based anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform as a state contact for Oklahoma.

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January 25, 2013

FAIR’s Susan Tully Promotes Bigotry and Conspiracies on Radio Show

Susan Tully, the national field director of the DC-based anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) voiced a number of conspiracy theories and made many anti-immigrant comments during an interview with a right-wing radio show on January 17, 2013. Tully spoke for over an hour on “The Ruthie Report,” a show hosted by Ruthie Hendrycks, who runs the anti-immigrant group Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (MINNSIR).  On its website, FAIR lists MINNSIR as its local affiliate in Minnesota.

During the radio interview, Tully disparaged DREAM Act-eligible students for what she called arrogance and accused Democratic politicians in California of having ties to Mexico. She also claimed that students are crossing the U.S./Mexico border on a daily basis to attend American schools.

When talking about a potential comprehensive immigration reform bill, Tully argued that there should be a study of people granted documented status in the 1986 to see what became of them since that time, insinuating that many may have become criminals. Tully argued, “Ruthie, it seems to me that before we do this again, we need to find out what the four million people who were granted amnesty in 1986 went on to do with their lives in the United States. Are they hard workers, are they college grads, have they become citizens or are they in jail?”

Tully went on to voice the first of her many conspiracy theories claiming that children from Mexico are crossing the U.S./Mexico border to attend American schools on a daily basis. Tully claimed, “I just got a report that I will be investigating later this year that along the border in Arizona and New Mexico they are running school busses to the border to pick up students who are coming in from Mexico to attend K-12 classes.”

Tully also criticized DREAM Act-eligible students, asserting that “the arrogance I have seen by the DREAMers alone, frankly, and their demands and what they think that they’re entitled to simply because they’re here and breathing our air is phenomenal to me. I don’t know what kind of a culture produces people that are that arrogant.”

According to FAIR’s website, Tully’s job is to “educate the media and public on immigration issues.” On “The Ruthie Report” Tully instead voiced unfounded conspiracy theories and used bigoted anti-immigrant rhetoric.

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January 24, 2013

Holocaust Imagery Taints Gun Control Debate

Update 1/17/14: The polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol con­tin­ues to be marked by the inap­pro­pri­ate use of Holo­caust imagery by some gun advocates. Musi­cian and gun advo­cate Ted Nugent com­pared film pro­ducer Har­vey Wein­stein to a Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist.

Update 3/5/12: The list of inappropriate Holocaust analogies regarding gun control continues to grow. NRA President David Keene defended the depiction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as Hitler at a rally in Albany protesting new state gun regulations. In an interview on March 1, Keene said, “Folks that are cognizant of the history, not just in Germany but elsewhere, look back to the history, and say we can’t let that sort of thing happen here.”

The charged political debate over gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting continues to be tainted by inappropriate invocations of Hitler, Nazis, and general Holocaust imagery.

These comparisons, made by political pundits on national news programs as well by others outside politics, are not only misplaced and offensive, relying on factually incorrect premises and exaggerations, but also deflect attention away from an important national discussion.

One analogy suggests that President Barack Obama is somehow reminiscent of Hitler because of his gun control proposals. For example, on January 9, the homepage of The Drudge Report featured an image of Hitler and Stalin with the caption “WHITE HOUSE THREATENS ‘EXECUTIVE ORDERS’ ON GUNS.”

A similar comparison was made by Ohio State Board of Education President Debe Tehrar, who posted a number of pro-gun and anti-Obama messages on her Facebook page, including a photo of Hitler with the caption: “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”

Another common theme that has emerged in recent weeks is that if only the victims of the Holocaust had better access to guns, the Nazi regime would not have been able to systematically murder so many people.

For example, Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano made this argument in a January 10 column on FoxNews.com. Napolitano wrote that, “If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.”

Individuals on the fringes of the political debate also have weighed in with this narrative. In a January 15 column for the website WorldNetDaily, disgraced former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker wrote that “the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.”

It should be noted that the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state. When they had weapons, Jews could symbolically resist, as they did in the 1943 Warsaw Uprising and elsewhere, but could not stop the Nazi genocide machine. Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.

Invoking the Holocaust in discussions of controversial issues is nothing new. Conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, leader of a fringe political cult that defies categorization, and his supporters have contributed to the divisiveness surrounding the public debate on health care reform by producing and disseminating materials comparing President Barack Obama and other government officials to Hitler, Nazis and fascists.

Offensive Holocaust analogies have also been used by Democrats and Republicans alike on a number of issues, and by public figures from various sectors of society when discussing topics ranging from abortion to animal rights to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to LGBT rights.

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