On Saturday, April 27, there was, again, a tragic shooting at a US synagogue, this time at a Chabad center in Poway, California, near San Diego. While the Washington Post dedicated a huge amount of coverage to almost all aspects of the story, with respect to the alleged shooter’s ideology, the Post told only half the story.
In an article dated April 28, reported by no less than three reporters, titled, “Ancient hatreds, modern methods: How social media and political division feed attacks on sacred spaces,” the Post discussed the alleged shooter’s manifesto and ideology. The Post explained that the manifesto, if it is to be believed (and there is no known reason not to do so) embraced white supremacist ideology – and it certainly did. The manifesto also, however, incorporated tropes more commonly found on the left – those promoted by Farrakhan and the anti-Israel BDS movement. It falsely claimed that Jews had a “large role in every slave trade for the past two thousand years,” falsely claimed that Jews have a “cruel and bloody history of genocidal behavior” and falsely claimed that Jews persecute “Christians of modern day Syria and Palestine.”
Yet, the Post concealed this aspect of his ideology. The article notes that:
In the manifesto published online Saturday [the alleged shooter] said he attacked the synagogue to “help the European race” defend itself against “international Jewry.” Much of the statement is a litany of conspiracy theories about Jews that have been at the heart of anti-Semitism for the past two millennia: killing Jesus, controlling finance and the media, “promoting race mixing.”
While this is accurate, it is incomplete. It omits that the manifesto also repeated several falsehoods about Jews more commonly associated with more modern, fringe-left anti-Semitism.
The article also notes that the manifesto “called President Trump ‘anti-white,’ bashed conservatives and liberals alike, and dismissed Hispanics, Muslims and blacks with the usual slurs. ‘There is no love without hatred,’ it asserted.”
Strangely, the Post omitted the adjectives that directly preceded “anti-white.” The full description of Trump in the manifesto is: “that Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous [expletive].” Despite contact from CAMERA, the Post never amended its reporting.
More and more, what is called “left-wing anti-Semitism” and what is called “right-wing anti-Semitism” are converging. When Congresswoman Ilhan Omar recently tweeted, for example, that AIPAC controls congress with its “Benjamins,” former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke said she was “the most important member of the US Congress” for her “Defiance to Z.O.G. [Zionist Occupied Government].” Similarly, when in 2016, a professor at the ultra-progressive Oberlin College, Joy Karega, was exposed for her egregiously anti-Semitic Facebook posts, the far-right anti-Semitic hate site Veterans Today came to her defense.
Just days before the Poway shooting, moreover, the center-left New York Times, as CAMERA has detailed, ran a political cartoon that would not have been out of place in the fascist publication Der Sturmer. In fact, that cartoon — in which a blind, Judaized President Trump, wearing a yarmulke, is led around by a dog with the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — is nothing less than a graphic version of the shooter’s description of President Trump as “Zionist, Jew-loving [and] traitorous.”
In addition, Canary Mission has documented many examples of “Students for Justice in Palestine” students tweeting their admiration for Hitler. On two university campuses, pro-Israel student groups are now being boycotted under the guise of Palestinian solidarity.
The confluence of far-right anti-Semitism and far-left anti-Semitism is, moreover, nothing new. In 1961, ten members of the American Nazi Party attended a Nation of Islam rally. Members of the Fruit of Islam (the same group that has more recently provided security to the Women’s March) escorted the Nazis to front-row seats. As Vice has noted, “Overt anti-Semitism, it turned out, was something the two groups could bond over.”
Again in 1985, the Nation of Islam, by then led by Louis Farrakhan, hosted Thomas Metzger, the former head of the California Ku Klux Klan and then-head of the White American Political Association, along with nine of his followers. Metzger and his followers were said to have provided the NOI with information about “Jewish extremists.” The New York Times reported that “Mr. Metzger said he would continue to support Mr. Farrakhan because both believe in racial separation and believe that Jews control America.” One white supremacist reportedly said that “I salute Louis Farrakhan and anyone else who stands up against the Jews.”
The Post seems unaware of these links. On April 29 (the day after the publication of, “Ancient hatreds, modern methods: How social media and political division feed attacks on sacred spaces”) no less than three columns in the Post’s “Post Everything” section focused on the white supremacist aspects of the shooter’s ideology.
One headline claimed that “the real danger to U.S. Jews [is] White nationalism.” (This headline topped an opinion piece by professional Israel-basher Mairav Zonszein that, bizarrely, chose to focus on the Israeli Prime Minister’s response to the Poway shooting. The full headline was “Netanyahu won’t condemn the real danger to U.S. Jews: White nationalism.”) An informative piece about the history of white supremacism in San Diego, “White supremacist violence has a long history in San Diego,” even discusses Tom Metzger and his activities in the area. Writer Brooke Binkowski, however, overlooks Metzger’s association with Farrakhan. (She does, however, link to an article that explains how Metzger won a Democratic primary in the state.)
A third column also dated April 29 and headlined, “The San Diego shooter’s manifesto is a modern form of an old lie about Jews,” alluded briefly to the label, “synagogue of Satan,” without mentioning Farrakhan by name. Writer Talia Lavin is no doubt correct that the San Diego shooter acted on ancient hatreds and libels. But, though she notes that, “over the past 500 years, anti-Semitism has evolved to suit changing times,” she overlooks the ways that modern left-wing anti-Semitism also influenced the shooter and the fact that one way anti-Semitism has evolved in the modern era is into the anti-Zionism frequently found on the political left.
Then, on May 1, another writer chimed in via the Posts’s “Made by History” section. Andrew Paul uses the Poway shooting as a jumping off point for his argument that Jews should ignore left-wing anti-Semitism for the sake of solidarity and social justice. He writes:
As ethnic, religious and class outsiders like the Jews in Peekskill, [Ilhan] Omar, [Keith] Ellison and [Tamika] Mallory similarly make mainstream American institutions upset. They, too, represent a movement that might unite minorities and oppressed people around the world, thwarting nationalist tendencies in America and abroad.
The Poway shooter’s manifesto embodies the growing convergence of left-wing and right-wing anti-Semitism. Yet, the Post’s analyses chose to obscure this aspect of it. As CAMERA’s Sean Durns has written before, politicization of anti-Semitism at the Post has been an ongoing problem. In fact, the goals of white supremacy and the goals of BDS are not that different. Their methods may vary, but as the examples above show, they are kindred spirits.