Troubled by a perfect storm of several domestic, environmental and international problems, the United States cannot give attention to all its problems. The war on terrorism, one of the major endeavors, has concentrated on explosive attacks that maim and kill. Due to a narrow definition of terrorism, the U.S. government has neglected a major and growing problem – vocally inspired domestic terrorism.
The purpose of terrorists is to terrorize, to make individuals and organizations fearful of pursuing polices and arguments that conflict with their actions and dictates. Terrorizing can be done by dramatic actions, such as deadly attacks on civilians. Nevertheless verbal threats or threatening actions, which promise to get more punishing if the person or organization refuses to comply, are equally dangerous. If the seemingly more benign verbal terrorism is not immediately stopped it can eventually erupt into serious attacks and strengthen terrorist organizations.
The ignored seriousness of vocally inspired domestic terrorism became obvious in the attack on the home of Rabbi Lerner, one of many Americans who has pursed Middle East peace and, in the process, has questioned Israel’s behavior. Strangely, the U.S. media disregarded the attack and reports of it were scarce. One week after the incident, the Jerusalem Post published an account with a twist; use of emotional words which treated the news as a complaint from Rabbi Lerner. The media reticence and the Jerusalem Post’s careless attitude indicate it’s time for action against media and government neglect of vocally inspired terrorism.
Tikkun’s Lerner blames incitement for attack on home
By HAVIV RETTIG GUR , Jerusalem Post, MAY 10
Rabbi Michael Lerner lashed out on Tuesday at some of his critics, who he said had created an atmosphere of incitement and hatred that led to the vandalism of his northern California home on Monday.
Someone glued posters to his door and fence that criticized him, together with other Jews on the left, for supporting terrorism and “Islamofascism,” according to a statement released by Lerner’s magazine Tikkun.
“I’m tremendously frightened that this is going to happen now in the Jewish community, and it starts with me – the movement from demeaning to incitement to actual physical attack,” Lerner told The Jerusalem Post from his Berkeley home.
Similar to many patriotic Americans, Rabbit Lerner has received death threats and been both verbally and physically abused by those who regard free speech as only their speech. U.S. authorities have been severely negligent in bringing to justice those responsible for the death threats, and each day of their negligence brings the certainty of more ominous actions.
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Unwarranted and sinister verbal attacks, false charges of anti-Semitism, labeling innocents as ‘self-hating Jews,’ or being anti-Israel are terrorist actions meant to terrorize legitimate commentators. Distorted words lead to perverse deeds and the deeds can eventually lead to deadly actions. Why wait for the latter and not halt the incipient action?
Homeland security should include in its war on terrorism the organizations and individuals who utilize, as if on cue by a common source, slanderous charges that promote fear and terrorize. Organizations that publish names of those considered anti-Israel and label them anti-Semitics should be contained. Individuals who consistently attack others with irresponsible descriptions as anti-Semitic should be judged as inciting violence to others. This violence has often occurred. Many persons have complained that due to these false charges, to which they have no adequate defense, they have been shunned or denied employment. One falsely charged couple proceeded to successfully defend themselves by prosecuting the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Judge Slams ADL for Hurting Couple Tarred As 'Anti-Semites'
By MARC PERELMAN, FORWARD CORRESPONDENT, 2001
UPHOLDING most of a $10 million defamation suit against the Anti-
Defamation League, a federal judge in Denver has lambasted the organization for labeling a nasty neighborhood feud as an anti-Semitic event.
In upholding the first-ever court defeat handed to the 8year-old ADL,
U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham said the organization had endorsed and publicized the bigotry accusations of a Jewish couple against its neighbors without either investigating the case or weighing the consequences.
"The ADL seized an opportunity to aggrandize itself as the defender of the
Jews by unjustly accusing a middle-class couple of being anti-Semitic crooks," said Jay Horowitz, the Quigleys' Denver-based lawyer. "And all along, they showed an unbelievable arrogance."
The ruling comes at a time when the ADL is also embroiled in the Marc Rich pardon scandal. The organization said it received some $250,000 in the past 15 years from the fugitive financier who received a controversial 11th-hour pardon from President Clinton. The league's national director, Abraham Foxman, declared last month that he "probably" had made a mistake in writing a letter to Mr. Clinton supporting the Rich pardon.
All this was not lost on Mr. Horowitz, the Denver attorney.
"Can you imagine an organization using money from Marc Rich, a guy who made millions dealing with anti-Semitic countries like Iran, attacking powerless people for some alleged anti-Semitic slurs?" he said.
To support his argument, the judge cited an internal ADL memorandum written by Mr. Rosenthal in January 1995, in which the league official said he wanted "to be sure we are maximizing all opportunities that are available from the Aronson case and arrests.... In short, 'make hay while the sun shines' - graciously of course."
(c) 2001 The Forward
The U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are designed to combat international terrorism. The campaigns have increased rather than diminished terrorism. If a part of the annual charges of one million dollars/per soldier in overseas actions was diverted to strengthen domestic police actions and uncover the domestic terrorizers, both international and national terrorism might greatly decrease.
The unwarranted attacks on Rabbi Lerner are a call to action by those who realize that those who use words and deeds to terrorize are terrorists, and their domestic terrorism must be halted in a manner which is similar to the approach towards international terrorism. Attempts to stifle voices of peace and reconciliation and replace them with distorted agendas are a national security problem and cannot be allowed to succeed. Opponents of Iran President Ahmadinejad combat his combative expressions with the phrase: “If he says he’s going to destroy Israel, you better believe it.” The same phrase can be applied to those who receive death threats because of their criticism of Israel. It’s wise for the government to believe it. Where are the law enforcement authorities?
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