WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association came under increasing pressure Tuesday to distance itself from longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent, after he posted photos of prominent Jewish Americans who he claimed were "really behind gun control."
The photos are overlaid with Israeli flags and anti-Semitic labels. For instance, the image of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is captioned "Gave Russian Jew Immigrants your tax money," while former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is tagged as "Jew York City mayor Mikey Bloomberg, Nanny State trouble maker and 9/11 Israeli agent."
The post appeared on the aging rocker's Facebook page on Monday.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the same hateful image has been circulating on anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites for some time. Nugent's post and his accompanying rant are now drawing greater attention to it.
A longtime gun rights activist and conspiracy theorist, Nugent has served on the board of the NRA since 1995. Best known for his hit 1977 song, "Cat Scratch Fever," he has gained new fame in recent years for espousing controversial and at times racist political opinions.
But Nugent's latest rant has sparked an unusual backlash -- from pro-gun writers, Jewish gun owners and groups that typically avoid wading into the gun rights debate.
The authors of two popular websites for gun enthusiasts denounced Nugent. Robert Farago, founder of The Truth About Guns, wrote Tuesday that the NRA "should distance itself from Mr. Nugent. They should revoke his membership and remove him from their Board."
Bob Owens, editor of the site Bearing Arms, said Tuesday, "Many people are calling for [Nugent] to resign from the NRA Board and for him to have his membership stripped from him. While I think forcing him out of the NRA entirely is a bit much, I do think he owes the world a sincere apology. If he can't find that sincerity in his heart, then he has no business being on the board of an inclusive organization such as the National Rifle Association."
Instead of apologizing, the musician posted a second anti-Semitic photo, perpetuating the lie that European Jews did not resist the Holocaust. He compared those who died at Nazi hands to "soulless sheep."
On Facebook, Jewish gun owners, some of them fans of Nugent's music and of the NRA, excoriated the aging rocker.
Joseph Marmor wrote, "Ted I loved your music and I loved your politics but blaming Jews for gun control is just plain stupid and ignorant. Liberals, Democrats are to blame and as a proud gun-carrying Jew your stupid comment has lost me as a fan."
"I'm a pro gun Jew and you can go fuck yourself for your anti semite post," wrote Dmitry Goosavich. "You knew what that picture was trying to comunicate. People like you don't help the 2nd Amendment. You just anger the other side and give them ammo to push there agenda."
"There are Jews who support gun control but many of us are gun owners ourselves and members of the NRA," Ariel Kotler said. "Quite a number of us are actually members of the [Gun Owners of America] instead because we feel that the NRA has gone along with too much gun control."
Jewish human rights groups also denounced Nugent, while taking care to maintain a neutral stance on the gun rights debate. The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded an apology.
"Ted Nugent has every right to advocate against gun control laws. However he won't be getting a free pass for his anti-Semitic bigotry," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, in a statement. "There are Jews on both sides of the gun control controversy and Nugent knows it. He owes our community an apology. He can start by removing the offensive graphic and if he won't, we urge Facebook to do it for him."
Nugent's post "is nothing short of conspiratorial anti-Semitism," said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. "Regardless of one's views on gun control, this kind of scapegoating of an entire religious group is completely unacceptable and completely divorced from reality."
A spokesman for the NRA declined to comment on Nugent or his posts.