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December 18, 2012

Conspiracy Theorists Blame Jews For Sandy Hook Massacre

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, internet posts blaming Jews for the killings began to spring up on various online message boards and conspiracy theory websites.  One theory, for example, promotes the notion that a supposedly Jewish-controlled Hollywood encourages killing sprees with subliminal messages glorifying gun violence. Another attributes the violence to the State of Israel, claiming Israel perpetrated a “false flag” terrorist attack on American soil as alleged punishment for American foreign policy on Israel and the Palestinians.

Among the most well-known promoters of racist and anti-Semitic beliefs to claim that Jews were behind the shooting spree is former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. On his website, where he disseminates his white supremacist ideology and specifically anti-Jewish views, Duke alleges that what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary is a result of Jewish control over several American institutions and foreign policy. Duke concludes that it is the supposed Zionist control over the media that resulted in the Sandy Hook shootings:

“Lead bullets are not murderers. The real murderers are not the bullets, but the Bullies of the Zio Media…Guns did not create the horror in that little school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The Zio masters of the media did. They have devoured the real America. The masters of the media continue to take us down the path of human depravity…”

Press TV, the Iran­ian government’s plat­form to dis­sem­i­nate its ide­ol­ogy to the English-speaking world, also exploited this tragedy to espouse anti-Semitic “expla­na­tions” of what hap­pened at the Connecticut elementary school. In an interview broadcast on Press TV today, Mike Harris, a contributor to the anti-Semitic website Veterans Today who has ties to members of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), held Zionists accountable for a number of mass shootings in America:

“We have had a Zionist-controlled Hollywood, a Zionist-controlled news media that is the conduit to all of these violence, these imagery, into every home in America and so you wonder why there is a culture of violence? It is because it comes from the Jews in Hollywood. That is where the conduit of violence comes from. That is the source of it… You have to realize Israel has been operating death squads in the United States since Gabrielle Giffords and Judge Roll were shot in Tuscan. There have been other incidents as the Colorado shooting, that was again Israeli death squads operating in the US.”

In an article published on the Press TV website by Gordon Duff, Senior Editor of Veterans Today, Duff asked Harris if he stands by his claims that Israel is responsible for the massacre. His response: “You [Israel] murder children as part of ‘business as usual,’ you shouldn’t be surprised that when children are murdered, people look to you.”

This is not the first time David Duke and Press TV have exploited a tragedy in America to spew their hateful anti-Jewish ideology. On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, David Duke appeared on Press TV claiming that Zionists masterminded the attacks on 9/11.

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December 18, 2012

Christian Conservatives Blame Elementary School Massacre On Lack Of Religion In Schools

In the wake of the shooting of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, people are searching for answers about how and why this tragedy happened. Some prominent Christian conservatives are blaming the massacre on the lack of religion in schools and the secularization of America more generally.

In an appearance on Fox News former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “We ask why there’s violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”  He later clarified that he did not think that prayer in school could have directly prevented the shooting.

Bryan Fischer, a spokesperson for the American Family Association, a non-profit that promotes conservative fundamentalist Christian values, echoed Governor Huckabee’s sentiments.  He said, “Here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted…We have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’” 

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) wrote an online column defending Huckabee and Fischer. Brody asserted, “Guess what folks? Huckabee and Fischer are not alone. There are millions of evangelicals who believe the same thing. This is not heartless. It’s based on the biblical principle of reaping and sowing. Not that these little children sowed anything but are our schools left unprotected because of the past actions of our nation when it comes to removing God from our public schools? The conversation is now all about banning guns but should the conversation really be about allowing God back into public schools?”  Joseph Farrah, the editor of World Net Daily, and William J. Murray, the Head of the Religious Freedom Network, made similar statements blaming the shootings on the lack of religion in schools.

Former head of Focus on the Family James Dobson, citing statistics on the number of abortions in America and the acceptance of same sex marriage, said on his radio show, “Somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.”  Operation Save America, an anti-abortion group that also opposes homosexuality, similarly claimed that “we are losing our kids because we are ignoring God’s Law.”

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December 17, 2012

How Do We Talk to the Children?

The recent news of the shootings of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has had a devastating impact on both youth and adults across the country. In the face of this senseless violence, many are at a loss to find the words to express the depth of their feelings. Despite our best efforts to protect children from the details of such incidents, they are often more aware than we imagine of what is happening in the world around them. When frightening and violent incidents occur, children and teens are likely to experience a range of emotions, including fear, confusion, sadness and anger that can manifest in many different ways.

To counteract fear and help children feel safe, parents, teachers and caregivers can provide opportunities for children to express how they feel and channel their feelings into positive actions. In order to provide the reassurance and guidance they may need, it’s important for adults to realize the impact of these kinds of events on them personally and to come to terms with their own feelings.  Before talking to your children, take time to process your own feelings and perceptions with other adults.

Be alert to signs of upset in your children, which can include withdrawal and a lack of interest in engaging in activities, excessive acting out, fear of going to school and other behaviors that seem out of the ordinary, and provide a quiet time for them to ask any questions they may have.  Above all, reassure children in age-appropriate ways that they are safe. When talking to preschoolers, for example, your response can be simple and direct: “I love you and I will always do everything I can to make you safe.”

Difficult situations like this can be an opportunity to discuss family and community values, beliefs and traditions. You can find some helpful guidelines for talking to children in the aftermath of hate and violence at:

http://www.adl.org/issue_education/Hate_and_violence.asp

http://www.adl.org/education/discussing_hate_spanish.pdf (Spanish version)

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