A heavily criticized Department of Homeland Security Report on right-wing extremism that was released in April warned precisely of the type of violent anti-Semitic activity that occurred at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Early this afternoon, a man in his late-80s with ties to white supremacist organizations opened fire inside the museum, reportedly hitting two people, including a security guard, in the process.
James W. Von Brunn, according to reports, has a history of anti-Semitism and may have been driven by such feelings when he committed his violent act. Indeed, Von Brunn even had anti-Semitic writings on his web site, and had made pejorative remarks about Jewish control of the Justice system.
In light of these biographical revelations, it is worth revisiting the DHS report that was deemed by conservatives to be so controversial.
In April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft memorandum warning that the current economic and political landscape created dangerously ripe conditions for a resurgence in radicalization and extremist recruitment. In it, federal officials warned specifically about an upswing of anti-Semitic behavior.
"Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish 'financial elites,'" the report read. "These 'accusatory' tactics are employed to draw new recruits into right-wing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs."
When the 10-page DHS memorandum was made public, however, warnings like these largely took the back seat to charges that the department had been politically motivated in its assessments and writings. Indeed, a wide swath of voices in the conservative movement -- from Rush Limbaugh to RNC Chairman Michael Steele -- lashed out at DHS Secretary Napolitano over what they deemed an anti-Republican report.
"This is the height of insult here," Steele told Fox News. "I mean to segment out Americans who dissent from this administration, to segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration, and labeling them as terrorists and then to call into question the service of the men and women who are right now standing on that wall defending our freedom and linking them to terrorism while you refuse to call the terrorists -- the real terrorists -- terrorists, to me it's the height of insult."
It's been several months now since that DHS report was issues and, sadly, the study is proving increasingly prescient. In addition to the Von Brunn shootings, there has been the killing of abortion provider George Tiller, another type of ideologically-driven killing that Napolitano warned against.
"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely," the DHS report reads. "It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
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