fbpx
Friday, July 10, 2020

Why Does The US Government Consider Antifa Terrorists, But Not The KKK?

Whether you approve of antifa’s message or tactics, it is not nearly as consequential a threat to Americans as white supremacist groups.

https://jewishjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jj_avatar.jpg
Ariel Sobelhttps://www.arielsobel.com/
ARIEL SOBEL is a TED talker, Bluecat Screenplay Competition Winner, and The Journal's Social Media Editor.

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

“The United States of America will be designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization,” President Donald Trump tweeted on May 31, the morning after American cities were engulfed with protests decrying the death of George Floyd. In major metropolises including  New York, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Dallas and Los Angeles, the demonstrations spiraled out of control, devolving into looting, vandalism and arson. 

Trump declared the lootings were “being led by antifa,” a decentralized movement threaded together by its militant, sometimes violent opposition to fascism and the far-right. 

Pittsburgh’s chief of police agreed. Attorney General William Barr also pointed his finger at the group, saying the protesters were using “antifa-like tactics.” However, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said, “A number of different groups are involved in these whether it’s antifa or it’s others, frankly.”

Whether you agree with antifa’s ideology or approach, the president’s announcement is shocking, given that many of the most violent hate groups in the United States aren’t designated as terrorists. One notable example is the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades has used bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize Americans.

Whether you agree with antifa’s ideology or approach, the president’s announcement is shocking, given that many of the most violent hate groups in the United States aren’t designated as terrorists.

“White supremacist extremism is currently the most lethal form of extremism in the U.S.,” American University professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss told Congress in September. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the far-right was the source of 73% of domestic extremist-related slayings from 2008 to 2019. 

However, Trump has been much more hesitant to declare these menacing groups as terrorists.

The first time the U.S. labeled a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization was in April. However, the Russian Imperial Movement was not American-based. The ultra-nationalist organization is widely known for plotting bomb attacks on asylum seekers in Sweden. Meanwhile, countless other home-grown neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial, neo-Confederate and Skinhead organizations remain undesignated. 

When the United States labels a group as “terrorist,” it is not a symbolic gesture. If the State Department designates antifa as such, the Treasury Department will freeze any American property or assets the group has. It will be illegal for Americans to deal financially with antifa, plus facilitate a ban on its members from traveling into the United States.

Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a swastika burning after a rally on April 21, 2018 in Draketown, Georgia. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Terrorist groups are under the purview of terror-related intelligence bodies such as the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which is uniquely suited to handle these deadly organizations. Right now, the NCTC is prohibited from preventing violent anti-Semites like the Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif., shooters. Trump’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism includes preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons. However, known neo-Nazis still are able to obtain firearms.

Unlike white supremacist groups, which explicitly call for victimizing racial and religious minorities, antifa’s mission is not inherently violent. One could argue that by opposing fascism, the group seeks to prevent mass violence. Antifa’s rampages normally end in property damage. It’s hard to argue that the group is lethal; the only recorded death related to antifa was in January 2019 when member Charles Landeros fired at police while being arrested. He missed and was killed by returning fire. Compare that to self-described white supremacist Robert Gregory Bowers, who is charged with walking into the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018 and killing 11 Jews. That incident was not isolated. Patrick Crusius is charged with killing 23 people at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in August, leaving behind a white nationalist manifesto. 

Crusius had posted about his intent to kill on the website 8chan. If white nationalists were considered terrorists, the NCTC might have been able to track and potentially stop the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history. 

Trump isn’t only ignoring white supremacist terrorism but actively pushing American institutions overlook it.

However, Trump isn’t only ignoring white supremacist terrorism but actively pushing American institutions overlook it.

According to Reuters, Trump attempted to rename the Countering Violent Extremism program to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” — erasing white nationalist violence from its mission entirely. Under the current administration, federal prosecutors are limited in how they can bring white nationalists to justice. 

“White supremacy is a greater threat than international terrorism right now,” David Hickton, a former U.S. Attorney, told Time. “I’d have to pursue a white supremacist with hate crimes, unless he interfaced with al-Qaeda. Does that make any sense?”

One thing that certainly does not make sense is cracking down on antifa instead of more pernicious groups. 

Whether you approve of antifa’s message or tactics, it is not nearly as consequential a threat to Americans as the vast number of white supremacist groups in this country. Although it might be more politically advantageous for Trump to rail against the anarchy-loving movement, he is driving this nation, and his blind spot endangers all Americans in his backseat.

Ariel Sobel is the Journal’s social media editor. 

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Bethany Mandel Will Not Be Canceled

Bethany Mandel wasn’t unnerved when the world dubbed her a “Grandma killer.”

LA School Board Postpones Vote on Ethnic Studies Curriculum to August

During a July 9 meeting, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education postponed until August its vote on the Ethnic Studies...

Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins Says DeSean Jackson’s Posts Were ‘Wrong’: ‘Jewish People Are Not Our Problem, and We Aren’t Their Problem’

New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said in a July 10 Instagram post and video that Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s Instagram posts invoking...

Netanyahu Admits Israel’s Economy Reopened ‘Too Soon’

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the reopening of the economy amid the coronavirus occurred “too soon” Facing a surge in COVID-19...

Senior Rabbi Rebukes Junior Rabbi’s Viral Tweet Claiming Jews Aren’t Indigenous to Israel

Associate Rabbi Andy Kahn of New York City's Temple Emanu-El drew public criticism from his senior Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson.

Julian Edelman Speaks With DeSean Jackson About Educating Each Other in Aftermath of Anti-Semitic Posts

(JTA) — Julian Edelman, the Jewish wide receiver for the New England Patriots, has spoken with fellow NFLer DeSean Jackson following anti-Semitic social media...

ADL Condemns CAIR NJ Head for Saying Israel is ‘Choking the Palestinian People’ During ‘Day of Rage’ Protest

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York / New Jersey issued a joint statement with the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey (JFNNJ) on July 10...

Public Spaces and Mental Health in Times of COVID-19

The global quarantine measures in the face of COVID-19 have been unprecedented. And while Israel is still struggling to prevent a second lockdown, city...

Do You Like Your Name?

What kind of name do you hope to gain in this world? Are you known as a leader, thinker, doer, source of compassion, gossiper,...

Pandemic Times Episode 68: Finding Jobs in the New Economy

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A conversation with Ramona Schindelheim of WorkingNation on how to adapt to a radically changing U.S....

Culture

Bethany Mandel Will Not Be Canceled

Bethany Mandel wasn’t unnerved when the world dubbed her a “Grandma killer.”

Josh Malina: Why Doesn’t ‘Cancel Culture’ Apply to Anti-Semitism?

Actor Josh Malina, who is Jewish, asked in a July 7 tweet why what’s known as “cancel culture” doesn’t apply to anti-Semitism. The Algemeiner reported...

The British Veterinarian Producing Anti-Viral Masks

The SonoMasks, as they’re known, are able to fend off harmful microorganisms using zinc oxide, which has antiviral properties.

Sacha Baron Cohen Pranks Rudy Giuliani – in Pink Drag

“This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit,” Giuliani told the New York Post.

One Israeli Soldier’s Psyche Comes to Light in ‘The Drive’

A principled critic of the IDF comes in the form of one its soldiers in a new book.

Latest Articles
Latest

Bethany Mandel Will Not Be Canceled

Bethany Mandel wasn’t unnerved when the world dubbed her a “Grandma killer.”

LA School Board Postpones Vote on Ethnic Studies Curriculum to August

During a July 9 meeting, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education postponed until August its vote on the Ethnic Studies...

Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins Says DeSean Jackson’s Posts Were ‘Wrong’: ‘Jewish People Are Not Our Problem, and We Aren’t Their Problem’

New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said in a July 10 Instagram post and video that Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s Instagram posts invoking...

Netanyahu Admits Israel’s Economy Reopened ‘Too Soon’

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the reopening of the economy amid the coronavirus occurred “too soon” Facing a surge in COVID-19...

Senior Rabbi Rebukes Junior Rabbi’s Viral Tweet Claiming Jews Aren’t Indigenous to Israel

Associate Rabbi Andy Kahn of New York City's Temple Emanu-El drew public criticism from his senior Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson.

Hollywood

‘Expecting Amy’ Highlights a New Comedy Dynamic of Jewish Mothers Making, Not Being, the Jokes

Jewish moms like Amy Schumer, who were once the material, have become the premier comics of this age.

Russell Crowe Asked Jared Kushner for Advice on How to Portray Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes

Crowe said he asked Kushner for the advice at Hugh Jackman’s 50th birthday party.

Ice Cube Denies Report He Ordered Entourage to Beat up a Rabbi

Above the letter he wrote “Don’t play with me. This is just phase one.”

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 68: Finding Jobs in the New Economy

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A conversation with Ramona Schindelheim of WorkingNation on how to adapt to a radically changing U.S....

Pandemic Times Episode 67: What is the root of anti-Semitism?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A conversation with David Weinberg of the ADL on fighting anti-Semitism in the greater Middle East region. How...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x