Troubled by a perfect storm of several domestic, environmental and international problems, the United States cannot give attention to all its problems. The war on terrorism, one of the major endeavors, has concentrated on foreign terrorism and foreign terrorists. Due to a narrow definition of terrorism and weapons provided to combat it, the U.S. government has neglected a major and growing problem vocally inspired domestic terrorism.
The purpose of terrorists is to terrorize, to make persons and organizations fearful of pursuing polices and arguments that conflict with their actions and dictates. Terrorizing can be done by dramatic actions, such as deadly attacks on civilians. Nevertheless verbal threats or threatening actions, which promise to get more punishing if the person or organization refuses to remain silent, are equally dangerous. If the seemingly more benign verbal terrorism is not immediately stopped it can eventually erupt into serious attacks and strengthen terrorist organizations.
The ignored seriousness of vocally inspired domestic terrorism became obvious in the attack on the home of Rabbi Lerner, one of many Americans who has pursed Middle East peace and, in the process, has questioned Israel's behavior. Strangely, the U.S. media disregarded the attack and reports of it were scarce. One week after the incident, the Jerusalem Post conceded to a report with a twist; use of emotional words which tended to characterize Rabbi Lerner as a complainer. The media reticence and the Jerusalem Post's careless attitude indicate it's time for action against media and government neglect of vocal terrorism.
Tikkun's Lerner blames incitement for attack on home
By HAVIV RETTIG GUR , Jerusalem Post, MAY 10
Rabbi Michael Lerner lashed out on Tuesday at some of his critics, who he said had created an atmosphere of incitement and hatred that led to the vandalism of his northern California home on Monday.
Someone glued posters to his door and fence that criticized him, together with other Jews on the left, for supporting terrorism and "Islamofascism," according to a statement released by Lerner's magazine Tikkun.
"I'm tremendously frightened that this is going to happen now in the Jewish community, and it starts with me the movement from demeaning to incitement to actual physical attack," Lerner told The Jerusalem Post from his Berkeley home.
Like many patriotic Americans, Rabbi Lerner has received death threats and been both verbally and physically abused by those who regard free speech as only their speech. U.S. authorities have been severely negligent in bringing to justice those responsible for the death threats resolving this issue and each day of their negligence brings the certainty of more ominous actions.
Unwarranted and sinister verbal attacks, false charges of anti-Semitism, labeling innocents as "self-hating Jews,' or being anti-Israel are terrorist actions meant to terrorize legitimate commentators. Distorted words lead to perverse deeds and the deeds can eventually lead to deadly actions. Why wait for the latter and not halt the incipient action?
Homeland security should include in its war on terrorism the organizations and individuals who utilize, as if on cue by a common source, slanderous charges that promote fear and terrorize. Organizations that publish names of those considered anti-Israel, and label them anti-Semitics, should be contained. Individuals who consistently attack others with an irresponsible description as anti-Semitic should be judged as inciting harm to others. This harm has occurred. Many have complained that websites which publish these false charges, to which they have no defense, have been shunned or denied employment. One falsely charged couple proceeded to successfully defend itself and exposed the hypocrisy of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
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