The 3-minute video, by American journalist-filmmaker Max Blumenthal and American oleh Joseph Dana, became an overnight internet sensation. It shows a succession of U.S. Jewish visitors to Israel, most of them college-age and plainly and proudly drunk, toasting each other in a Jerusalem bar as they vie for the twin crowns of lover of Israel and loather of Obama.You what? He's not from the US? But you have to be born in the US in order to run for president. This is a conspiracy theory of neo-nazi white supremacist proportions. Who on earth could imagine, let alone say such stuff?
"He's a Muslim for sure, and who even knows if he was born in the United States," says a young woman who identifies herself as a political science major. "We haven't even seen his birth certificate yet. Bullshit - he's not from the U.S. He's like a terrorist.
Well apparently the man now in custody on suspicion of having shot and killed 39-year-old Stephen Tyrone Johns, a security guard at Washington's holocaust museum, is what they call a "birther". A birther? What's a birther? Well it has all sorts of meanings but since Barak Obama was elected it means someone who believes that Obama was not born in Hawaii or anywhere else in the US.
Among the myriad of disturbing qualities of James Von Brunn, the 88-year-old man who shot and killed a security officer inside the Holocaust Museum on Wednesday, is his apparent belief that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the United States and therefore has no right to the presidency.Quite, but the political science major in the video surely has as much in common with Abraham Foxman as she does with James Von Brunn.
The reason it sticks out is that, even among Von Brunn's other characteristics -- including heavy streaks of anti-Semitism, disdain for the federal government, and threads of white supremacy -- being a "birther" has a modicum of political credibility.
Certainly, the vast majority of people who are skeptical of Obama's birth in the state of Hawaii tend to be harmless conspiracy theorists. And there has been no suggestion that Von Brunn's distrust of the president's citizenship solely drove him to this violent act.
"In addition to being a birther," said Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, "he also believed that Hitler didn't kill enough Jews. He had a history of anti-Semitic, hateful views."
Indeed a "birther" mindset is more a symptom of extremism than a cause.
I should mention that I may not have run this post but earlier this evening (actually late last night now) I got the following comment from a "Von Brunn":
We need to exterminate all of the vermin Jews everywhere. Then there will be peace.The comment came from a Limestone Networks IP so I have written to them asking if they have a policy on hate speech from their servers. I'll let you know if I get a reply.
Regarding the victim of yesterday's shooting, Daily Kos is suggesting setting up a paypal account for his family so you might want to keep checking in there.