By Stephen Millies
Jun 17, 2009
On June 10 there was a fascist attack on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. African-American security guard Stephen Johns was shot and killed by long-time Hitler worshipper James von Brunn, who was wounded and then disarmed by another guard as schoolchildren visiting the museum scattered in terror.
The atrocity follows the May 31 assassination of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Kansas after a long campaign in the right-wing media against the doctor.
In the U.S. corporate media, the fascist right is seldom linked to anti-Semitism and terrorism. The term “terrorist” is used overwhelmingly to slander Muslims, who are also depicted as against all Jewish people.
However, MAS Freedom, a sister organization of the Muslim American Society, immediately condemned the attack on the Holocaust Museum as “not only an affront to the memory of millions of victims of Nazi genocide, but an attack on the values that all civilized peoples and nations hold dear. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the staff and supporters of the Museum, to the Jewish people, and especially to the family of Stephen Johns.”
On Dec. 7, 1981, the same James von Brunn had taken a sawed-off shotgun to the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank and attempted to kidnap board members. He spent six-and-a-half years in jail for that act, which could have turned out to be as bloody as the attack on the Holocaust Museum.
Compare this with what happened to Leandro Andrade under California’s “three strikes” law. He was sentenced to two consecutive prison terms of 25 years to life. His crime? Shoplifting nine videotapes.
Two days before security guard Johns was killed, FBI Director Robert Mueller said his agency would continue to infiltrate mosques—not Nazi training camps, mosques. Targeting Muslims is a hate crime. But even the organizers of a Muslim charity can be framed. Five leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development were recently sentenced to from 15 to 65 years in prison.
Von Brunn is a notorious figure. How was he able to stage his attack on the Holocaust Museum, just a mile from FBI headquarters?
James von Brunn may be loathsome but he’s got connections. He worked with former Reagan aide Todd Blodgett to raise money for the fascist British National Party, which just won two seats in the European Parliament. (Washington Post, June 11)
Brunn’s web site, since taken down, featured a letter from the late U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John G. Crommelin. This retired brass hat had written that von Brunn deserved “the gratitude and assistance of every White Christian citizen” for his armed attack on the Federal Reserve.
Crommelin, who died in 1996, was a member of the violent National States Rights Party and was its vice-presidential candidate in 1960. The leader of the NSRP, J.B. Stoner, who called Hitler “too moderate,” was found guilty of the June 1958 bombing of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Another five NSRP members were convicted in the bombing in October of that same year of an Atlanta synagogue with 50 sticks of dynamite. (“The Temple Bombing” by Melissa Fay Greene)
The FBI never harmed Stoner. Nor did FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover do anything when another NSRP member, Joseph Milteer, told FBI informant Willie Somersett on Nov. 9, 1963, that President John F. Kennedy was going to be shot.
Adm. Crommelin was never stripped of his rank for being a Nazi. Instead, the U.S. Navy named one of its ships after him and his four brothers. After the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, the Navy actually changed the ship’s web site to claim its guided-missile frigate was named for only three of the Crommelin brothers.
While Crommelin was able to keep his cushy rank, hundreds of thousands of veterans have been put out of the military with dishonorable or less-than-honorable discharges. It’s hard for them to get jobs and they’re not eligible for medical care at Veterans Administration hospitals.
So where does anti-Semitism really come from? It should be remembered that Henry Ford helped finance Hitler at a time when anti-Semitism was rampant in the U.S. and Europe. (New York Times, Dec. 10, 1922) But in recent years the ruling class has lowered its support for anti-Jewish poison.
Still, this poison is kept on the shelf. And attacks on Black, Latina/o, Asian, Arab, Native peoples, immigrants and Muslims continue and can grow in a period of economic crisis unless progressives counter them with strong efforts to build working-class solidarity.