Reacting to the Holocaust Museum shooting


Numerous Jewish organizations, members of Congress, and others have released statements reacting to and condemning the shooting attack on the U.S. Holocause Memorial Museum. A sampling:

The Anti-Defamation League:

The shooting at the United States Holocaust Museum, in which a security guard was critically wounded, is a very sad and tragic event which reminds us, as the Museum itself does every day, in the starkest way, where the spread of hatred can lead.
 The shooter, James Von Brunn (also known as James Wennecke Brunn), is a longtime white supremacist and anti-Semite.  He has published an anti-Semitic book, “Kill the Best Gentiles.”  He has created an anti-Semitic Web site, which he called “The Holy Western Empire.”  He was arrested and imprisoned in 1981 for using a sawed-off shotgun to try to take Federal Reserve Board members hostage on the grounds that Jews control the nation’s banking system.
Brunn’s evil attack, at the very place that was created to remember and teach about evil in the world, is an immediate reminder that words of hate matter, that we can never afford to ignore hate because words of hate can easily become acts of hate, no matter the place, no matter the age of the hatemonger.
We express our support to the family of the victim of the attack. We recommit ourselves to expose and counter hatred in our society so that horrible events such as the shooting at the Holocaust Museum will no longer be a part of the fabric of our democracy.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

Today’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is a despicable act of violence.  The Holocaust Museum exists to remember the past, to learn to confront hatred, and to promote human dignity for all people.  An act of violence will not diminish this mission; one person’s act cannot weaken the voices of millions of Americans who stand against hate. 

“On behalf of all Members of Congress, I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of the security guard who was killed.  And in the days ahead, we commit to continuing to work to fight anti-Semitism and advance understanding.”

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism director Rabbi David Saperstein, in a Washington Post chat:

This represents something else that is perhaps distinct to Jews in America compared to other groups. Other religious targets may be subject to vandalism or even discriminatory acts, but there are few other religious institutions that day in and day out must be concerned about acts of terrorism in the form of bombs, gun attacks, etc. On many levels Jews have been and remain the quintessential victims of religious intolerance and hatred in western civilization.

I say that knowing that today Muslim mosques have been targeted for vandalism. We just had a murder take place against a doctor in a church this past week and others are subject to acts of prejudice, but the notion of an entire community being concerned that their house of worship, their institutions might be targets of violent acts anywhere in the country still haunts American Jewry today with all of the successes that America’s freedoms have brought to us.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center:

“The murderous attack that took place at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington by James von Brunn, a self-identified anti-Semite, white supremacist, and hater of African-Americans shows that the cancer of hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism is alive and well in America” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“The most astonishing fact is that the assailant, a captain in the US Navy who once fought against the Axis of evil in World War II, became an instrument of that evil,” they added.

“It is deeply disturbing that one of America’s most powerful symbols of the memory of the Holocaust was selected as the site of the attack just days after President Obama accompanied Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel to the Buchenwald death camp,” concluded Hier and Cooper who are currently meeting with Arab leaders in the Gulf region.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.):

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the heinous attack that took place earlier today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims during this most difficult time,” said Hastings.  “We unfortunately live in a very different era, where we must always be vigilant of those who wish to cause harm to others.”

“This tragic event reminds us all that there are still people in this world who choose hate and intolerance over understanding and compassion.  All across this nation, we have seen a resurgence of the noose and swastika, a rise of anti-Semitism, unjust equation of Muslims and migrants with terrorism, and violence against gays.  We must work together across all racial, religious, gender and cultural lines and not allow these senseless acts to continue.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.):

I am deeply saddened and alarmed by the shooting that occurred earlier today at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.  The suspected shooter reportedly has ties to white supremacist groups as well as a troubling history of expressing racist and anti-Semitic views. It is very disturbing that the shooter chose to carry out this attack at a place dedicated to the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the security guard who was killed during this attack.

“I condemn this attack as well as the hateful ideology which may have triggered this terrible crime. Such senseless violence and disgusting views have no place in a civilized society.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.):

I am shocked and saddened by today’s violent attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  It is a horror to see a place created to remind us of what happened and what could happen when hatred turns into violence, become a target itself.  While the quick action of the Museum’s security team averted a further crisis, the guard who was injured is in our thoughts and prayers.  As a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, I am committed to doing all I can to ensure the safety of the Museum and its visitors and to advance its mission to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism and intolerance.

And the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee:

ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, "This act of hate against the Holocaust Museum in our nation’s capital is revolting. Once again, ADC is consistent in condemning hate-motivated crimes and any attacks aimed at civilians no matter who the victims or the perpetrators may be. We commend the many law enforcement agencies that responded to this attack and glad to see the suspect apprehended in quick fashion."  

Recommended from JTA