By Alon Preiss.
It’s now been a week since a man named Robert Bowers massacred eleven Jews in a Pittsburgh shul. If you read the news, or listen to the president, you might think that they were gunned down because they belonged to the Jewish race, or for the offense of peacefully praying. You might think that this was a simple example of anti-Semitism, some free-floating evil that, unfortunately, still exists out there in society. But there is a reason why supposed anti-Semites are going after targets like the Pittsburgh shul and Jewish financier George Soros rather than Sheldon Adelson and the Kushners.
In reality, last Saturday, my fellow Jews were gunned down because the shul in which they were praying was involved with an organization called HIAS, or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish group that actively and openly supports immigrants and refugees. “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” Bowers wrote on the internet before the attack. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.”
Why do you think that happened now?
Listen: in the weeks leading up to the massacre, President Trump and the right-wing media have raised alarm bells about a “caravan” of Latin American refugees traveling to our southern border. Using language that Bowers later adopted, Trump tweeted, “This is an invasion of our Country” which would bring terrorism and disease into America. And not just an invasion from outside our borders. President Trump and his minions in the right-wing media explicitly stated that certain of our traitorous fellow citizens are actively working to destroy America by financially supporting the caravan.
If one takes the president seriously, these traitors in our midst would absolutely include HIAS. Three days before the massacre, HIAS released the following:
HIAS Statement on Central American Caravan — Under longstanding U.S. and international law, individuals fleeing persecution have the right to seek asylum. HIAS urges the United States government to respect the rule of law, provide all asylum seekers the opportunity to present their claims as required by law, and treat all migrants fairly and humanely. We hope that the asylum seekers and migrants stay safe and that they comply with established laws and procedures for seeking asylum and entering the United States. Most fundamentally, we must remain committed to upholding the human rights of those seeking asylum.
What did Trump do after visiting Pittsburgh to pay his respects? He got right back to it, condemning the caravan, as well as the Democrats and the supportive cabal of shadowy Jewish globalists that Trump claimed were paying its way; on October 31, he explicitly accused Jewish financier George Soros.
Everyone seems to agree that you cannot blame Trump if a Trump supporter (or, in the case of Robert Bowers, a supporter of the Trump agenda) turns violent. And this would be true if Trump’s political discourse followed a standard Republican/Democrat trope, which the Republican supports lower taxes on the rich, the Democrat supports a stronger social safety net, some accusations fly here there, but no one accuses anyone of treason and murder.
But here, the president of the United States was not just debating tax policy. He has accused American citizens of seeking an invasion of the United States, the slaughter of her populace and the destruction of our society. Including HIAS, and the Jews supporting HIAS, who were murdered last week.
Here is what I would ask. Let’s say you are a good, brave and patriotic citizen, and the President of the United States alerts you to a conspiracy on our shores so serious that it could destroy America from the inside. Wouldn’t you be absolutely justified in taking matters into your own hands? Shouldn’t you do so, if you believe in America? Sure, doing so would be illegal, but the president himself has told you that American laws mostly benefit a cabal of globalist elites. And the president was passing along very serious information; there have certainly been times in world history when patriots have had to act. If you were listening to the president, this was one of them.
I am not saying that in today’s America, anyone is justified in taking the law into his own hands. But Trump and his media are not portraying today’s America as it really is: they are portraying a land under siege and invasion.
Remember Edgar Maddison Welch, who traveled from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., based on assurances from a host of journalists and politicians, including Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser, that Hillary Clinton and a conspiracy of Democrats were holding children captive as sex slaves in the basement of a pizza parlor.
Edgar Maddison Welch wanted to rescue the children. He really did.
Wasn’t that exactly the “right” thing to do, if he believed the message coming from the media he listened to, and the administration he supported? After all, both the administration’s national security advisor and Infowars assured him it was happening, and the president himself had praised Infowars as a legitimate and reliable source of information and personally handpicked his own national security advisor. If Michael Flynn and Infowars founder Alex Jones really believed the things they were saying, shouldn’t they have tried to rescue the children themselves?
Again, given all of this, didn’t Edgar Maddison Welch do exactly the right thing?
Sure, he knew he was breaking the law, but since he thought he was doing it to rescue children from a corrupt “Soros-occupied” and “deep state” government intent on protecting criminal Democrats and opposing a legitimately elected president, wasn’t Edgar Maddison Welch absolutely morally correct to do what he did?
And the week before last saw a Trump fan, Cesar Sayoc, attempt to assassinate a variety of American citizens whom Trump himself had targeted as criminals, including CNN, whom Trump classifies as an enemy of the American people, as well as George Soros, whom Trump and the conservative media have targeted as a traitor, someone paying terrorists to enter the country and kill Americans.
Why shouldn’t an American citizen help his president by fighting against such enemies of the American people? The president, after all, is privy to information the rest of don’t have.
I think the answer is that we’re all supposed to know that President Trump is just having a bit of fun and telling crazy stories about the elitists who never took him seriously, and that the president can’t be blamed if someone is stupid enough to believe his lies. Everyone also ought to know that the reporters of the conservative media are just out there telling a good story and chasing ratings. If Alex Jones reports that Hillary Clinton is holding children as sex slaves, and some gullible sap believes him, well, you can’t really blame Alex Jones for that, can you?
But in any sane world, if the president announces an imminent terrorist invasion of America, we should all rally around him to defend our shores. If the administration announces that children are being held captive as sex slaves in the basement of a DC pizza parlor, we should all descend on the place and rescue the kids. If the president identifies enemies of the American people in our midst seeking to kill Americans and destroy our society, we should all do whatever we can to stop them. The president of the United States should not be the equivalent of the guy on the corner with a tinfoil hat, someone all reasonable people know to ignore.
We should all be able to believe what our president, his administration and his media tell us when it comes to matters of urgent national security. Is that really unreasonable?
In today’s America, even most of his supporters cynically understand that you cannot believe a word that Trump says. Even their viewers cynically understand that you cannot believe a word the conservative media reports.
But it’s not the cynics we need to worry about.