What Should We Learn from the Holocaust Museum Shooting?
Yesterday’s horrific shooting in the US Holocaust Museum was clearly an anti-Semitic act. The shooter, James Von Brunn, was a white supremacist and anti-Semite who served jail time for trying to place the Federal Reserve Board of Governors under “citizens’ arrest.” He was nominated on a white supremacist website for “White Racialist Treasure.”
Rev. David L. Ostendorf points out on the Imagine 2050 website that whenever something like this happens we rush to call it an isolated incident. But if it happens every week then we are not talking about isolated incidents, rather we are talking about a pattern. Anti-Semitism is such an ancient concept that “it’s not even given thought any more.” Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we should be fighting against all expressions of anti-Semitism or hatred towards others.
The Holocaust was allowed to happen precisely because people ignored the signs and talked about “isolated incidents.” A few anti-Jewish laws here and there were not going to break European Jewry, nor were the psychotic ramblings of a madman. By the time Jews woke up to the fact that the modern world had not abandoned its hatred of the Jews it was too late.
Another Holocaust is not likely to be on the cards, but that doesn’t mean that anti-Semitism cannot worsen and affect the lives of Jews living in the United States (and for that matter, anywhere in the world). For this reason, vigilance is extremely important. Yelling from the rooftops that this is not OK is important. Continuing to spread the message of the Holocaust Museum – tolerance and the abandonment of hatred – is vital.