SAN DIEGO SYNAGOGUE
CJ Werleman on the spreading ‘white genocide’ ideology and online radicalisation behind the rising tide of Far-right terror attacks.
Al Qaeda describes hijacking and blowing up passenger airlines as its “blue ribbon” event, with the attacks of 9/11 serving as a source of inspiration for the foiled “shoe bomber,” “underwear bomber,” and the 24 men who were charged with plotting to detonate simultaneous bombs on airliners departing the United Kingdom for North America in 2006.
Nearly two decades later, however, right-wing extremism has replaced “Islamist” terrorism as the United States’ number one domestic terrorist threat, a reality underscored by the fact 100% of all terrorist attacks on US soil since the end of 2017 were carried out by right-wing or white supremacist groups and individuals.
Right-wing extremism has replaced “Islamist” terrorism as the United States’ number one domestic terrorist threat.
But the same way 9/11 became the rally cry for would-be violent Islamic extremists, the Christchurch mosque attack, which left 51 Muslim worshippers dead, has become the “blue ribbon” event for would-be violent right-wing extremists, serving as the rally cry for the demented and deranged.
Copycat Terrorism – Livestreamed
In the week following the terrorist attack in Christchurch on March 15, anti-Muslim hate crimes and threats against other minorities spiked in Australia, United States, Europe and United Kingdom, with the latter recording 95 incidences, including 85 that directly referenced Christchurch, according to Tell Mama UK.
On March 24, 19-year-old John T. Earnest, an avowed white nationalist, set fire to a mosque in Escondido, California, before leaving behind a note that referenced Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist who carried out the attack in New Zealand.
Tragically, however, authorities would only come to identify Earnest as the suspect on Saturday, the final day of Passover, and only after he had been arrested for shooting and killing one Jewish worshipper, and injuring another three at a synagogue in San Diego, timing his attack to coincide with the 6 month half-anniversary of the Tree Of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh.
“Attacks always spark reactions from different extremist communities, but when it comes to the far right, there was never anything like the response to the Christchurch attack.”Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group
Mimicking the Christchurch attacker in almost every conceivable way, Earnest reportedly posted details of his plan to attack on the far-right website 8chan, and included a letter in which he claims responsibility for the fire at the mosque last month, while also identifying Tarrant and Adolf Hitler as among those who “inspire” him, and complaining conservatives aren’t violent in enough in support of their politics.
Even more disturbing still is the fact that Earnest reportedly intended to live stream his attack to 8chan via his Facebook account but had unknowingly set this feature to a private setting, thus accidently denying his online supporters footage of his dastardly deeds.
“Attacks always spark reactions from different extremist communities, but when it comes to the far right, there was never anything like the response to the Christchurch attack,” Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, told The Sun-Herald, adding that Tarrant’s targeting of Muslims, coupled with his “deadly execution” and live streaming of the attack has generated an “unprecedented response,” describing it as “like nothing we’ve ever seen thus far from the far-right across the globe.”
If Katz’s observation could be any more somber, then consider she gave this assessment a week prior to Sunday’s attack in San Diego.
Echoes of al-Qaeda – Online Radicalisation
In so many ways these right-wing terrorists not only mimic each other but also mimic the kind of meme sharing and conspiracies shared by Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, with the common thread being a perception their respective civilizations are under threat from an external other.
For violent jihadists, it’s the threat of US imperialism and stubborn legacy of European colonialism that fuels their perceived existential crisis, while for right-wing extremists, it’s non-white, non-Christian immigrants who are destroying their “way of life” in the West.
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The central conspiracy underpinning right-wing extremism is that there’s a Jewish plot to overrun Western countries with immigrants, including Muslims, so that liberal, multicultural, cosmopolitan, and “globalist” elites may rule the democratic political world. When this conspiracy doesn’t manifest in violence, it appears in the form of hundreds of white males marching through the streets of Charlottesville chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” a slogan that represents the epistemology of the “Great Replacement theory.”
When you consider how Robert Bowers, the terrorist who killed 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, blamed a Jewish refugee organization (“Evil Jews”) for “bringing in the (sic) Filthy EVIL Muslims into the country,” you can see how the “White Genocide” and “Great Replacement” conspiracy ties together.
White Genocide Goes Mainstream
These memes and conspiracies are not only found front and center within the chat rooms of the far-right blogosphere, but also have become normalized in the discourse of mainstream conservative political parties, with laws and promises to build walls and ban immigrant intakes, refugees, and Muslims – for the purpose of saving “white civilization” from non-white hordes.
It has become normal, and near acceptable to say things about a race, ethnicity or culture today that would have been universally condemned a mere few years ago.
For instance, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Premier and Interior Minister, told supporters on Sunday that Europe was at risk of becoming an “Islamic caliphate,” invoking fear Muslim immigrants are swarming Europe with the purpose of undermining Italian democratic values and subverting the country’s way of life.
“Either Europe saves itself now, or it never will,” thundered Salvini. “Either we take it back, as we are doing with Italy, or it will become an Islamic caliphate with no hope or future.”
It’s impossible to discern rhetorical difference between Salvini’s electoral politics and the maniacal and threatening ramblings of white nationalist terrorists Earnest, Bowers, or Tarrant.
In short, it has become normal, and near acceptable to say things about a race, ethnicity or culture today that would have been universally condemned a mere few years ago.
In the US today, however, right-wing politicians routinely dehumanize immigrants as “invaders,” “criminals,” and “pests,” and given the fact all mass atrocities and genocides are preceded by words rather than violence, it’s not difficult to trace what is now an off-the-chart spike in right-wing terrorism to everyday political rhetoric.
The United States of America is now in staring face-to-face with a domestic white nationalist terrorism crisis.