By Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman*
The unspeakable tragedy in New Zealand was apparently planned and executed by a lone racist terrorist, born in Australia but obsessed with white supremacist movements around the world. Incredibly, he was able to livestream the massacre of 50 Muslims at prayer on Facebook and Twitter for at least an hour unimpeded. Millions downloaded the pornographic video to share with “friends.”
But the victims of that butchery were barely buried, when we learn that the dictum— “Never let a good crisis go to waste”—extended to the domains of promoting big-lie anti-Semitism and attempting to shut down a critique of any Muslim.
First, Million Women’s March co-founder, Bob Bland, retweeted this insidious quote on Twitter: “The same language and hate that folks spew against Sisters Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) killed 54 Muslims in New Zealand. You can’t stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and simultaneously disavow Muslim women for speaking their truth.” This is a two-barrel Big Lie. The “truths” of Sarsour and Omar are untrue and anti-Semitic. And you CAN stand in solidarity with Muslims when denouncing such anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand itself, where the nation is still reeling from the monstrous crime, a rally attended by 1000 people heard a speaker blame the massacre on the Mossad. Nary a protest.
Here in the US, a vigil called at New York’s Brooklyn College to remember victims murdered by a White Supremacist in New Zealand, heard cries for a new Intifada against Israel.
Bland apologized explaining she was too busy holding her two kids to comprehend she was demonizing American Jewry. Hmm.
Bland’s excuse was no lamer than the one offered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give Rep. Ilhan Omar a pass for multiple anti-Semitic tropes. Omar knew enough about America to become the first Somalia-born member of Congress, but apparently not enough for her to comprehend the meaning of her own hateful libels alleging dual loyalty and corruption against American Jews.
Following in the footsteps of classic anti-Semites, Omar and Bland (whom Louis Farrakhan calls “his little sisters”), view Jews as the all-purpose explanation for every evil under the sun: When the Kaiser loses World War I or Germany’s economy collapses during the Great Depression, blame the Jews. When the USSR falls behind the US in theCold War, blame Jews or “Zionists.” When a hole in the ozone layer is discovered—if you are Farrakhan—blame the Jews.
Tarrant is an Islamophobe who proudly calls himself in his deranged manifesto “an ecofascist”; who also lauded Dylan Roof for slaughtering innocent African American Christian worshippers in Charleston; who hopes that his mass murder will provoke a race war in the US.
Muslims and Jews must unite with Christians against the hydra-headed threat posed by global hate and terrorism against minorities around the world, personified by Tarrant. This threat is hydra-headed for Muslim and Jewish minorities because they are both targeted by the same white supremacists seeking to reestablish a world order where non-Christians and nonwhites—were barely tolerated as second-class citizens.
Tarrant’s greatest nightmare was pluralism and tolerance in democratic lands like the U.S. and New Zealand.
It is the wrong answer to criminalize reading Tarrant’s hate manifesto. You don’t defeat Nazism by banning Mein Kampf. It is also a mistake for one religious minority in our countries to demonize another son of Abraham.
And we won’t defeat burgeoning hate by embracing soothing but dishonest political correctness. Just days after the New Zealand attack, a Turkish-born terrorist in the Netherlands murdered and maimed new victims.
Muslims, Jews, and Christians should take their cue from Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of Nahadlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Islamic organization based in Indonesia. He wrote in the London’s Telegraph how Muslim extremists exploit outworn religious supremacist doctrines going back to the medieval Caliphate to justify twenty-first century violence, just as Brent Tarrant used the medieval Christian Crusades to justify his anti-Muslim atrocity. Both use the internet and social media to promote an age-old cycle of religious violence.
Moderates have to find the moral courage to speak out when their own religions are hijacked by extremists, just as Mr. Staquf has. When his courage and clarity become the norm we may have the chance to slay the dragon of hate.
Co-author Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian is a consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center