35% rise in extremist murders in U.S., motivated by far Right politics - ADL

"Right-wing extremists were linked to all of the 50 extremist-related deaths in 2018– making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995," the ADL said in a statement on the study.

January 23, 2019 18:32
2 minute read.
Flowers and candles are placed beneath a police cordon outside the Tree of Life Synagogue

Flowers and candles are placed beneath a police cordon outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. (photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP)


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WASHINGTON – Every single murder committed by an extremist in America in 2018 was motivated by far-right politics, according to an explosive study published on Wednesday by the ADL, which investigated 50 deaths last year – itself a 35% spike in extremist-related murders over the prior year.

“Right-wing extremists were linked to all of the 50 extremist-related deaths in 2018 – making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995,” the ADL League said in a statement on the study.

That year saw the Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest domestic terrorist attack in US history.

“Over the last decade, a total of 73.3% of all extremist-related fatalities can be linked to domestic right-wing extremists, while 23.4% can be attributed to Islamic extremists,” the study adds.

The organization has been warning of a sharp rise in antisemitism across the US since 2016, parallel to the political rise of President Donald Trump. Its findings on the trend tracks closely with independent FBI data released in November.

ADL’s research team said that guns remain the weapon of choice for right-wing terrorists. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said that the massacre of Jews in a Pennsylvania synagogue this fall should shock the country into action.

“The white supremacist attack in Pittsburgh should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric,” said Greenblatt. “It’s time for our nation’s leaders to appropriately recognize the severity of the threat and to devote the necessary resources to address the scourge of right-wing extremism.”

The Tree of Life synagogue shooting was among five killing sprees that resulted in 38 deaths, and which left 33 people wounded, according the study.

ADL said that in light of a shooting at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, connected to a rising “manosphere” movement opposed to feminist ideals, the organization would begin characterizing those attacks as affiliated with the far Right, as well.

In total, “2018 marked the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970,” the study asserts. “Last year’s murders at the hands of right-wing extremists reflect an ongoing trend.”

The ADL concludes that public figures, in the executive branch as well as Congress, have focused for “far too long” on the threat of Islamic extremism, without adequately acknowledging the rising threat from the far Right. The organization proposes speeches as well as proactive legislation that call out and address the threat.

“Congress and state legislatures should authorize and appropriate grants for research and services to better understand the drivers of extremist hate, and fund evidence-based programming to counter it,” the ADL said. “Every state should enact comprehensive, inclusive hate crime laws. Effective responses to hate violence by public officials and law enforcement authorities can play an essential role in deterring and preventing these crimes.”

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