Anti-Semitism may be factor in Arizona shooting

US Homeland Security memo reportedly says Giffords being a Jew may have been a factor in shooting, cites links to anti-Semitic group.

Shooting suspect Jared L. Loughner 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Shooting suspect Jared L. Loughner 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
NEW YORK – A US Department of Homeland Security memorandum reportedly notes the fact that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a Jew may have a factor in the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.
FOX News, reporting on the memorandum it obtained Sunday night, said that “strong suspicion is being direceted (sic) at American Renaissance,” an organization the shooter Jared Loughner referenced on the Internet, and said that federal law enforcement authorities are investigating Loughner’s possible links to American Renaissance.
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According to the memorandum, American Renaissance is “anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic.” The memo notes that Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to high office in Arizona. Investigators are also pursuing Loughner’s alleged anti-Semitism.
American Renaissance leaders said in a posting on their website Sunday that Loughner had never subscribed to their magazine, registered for any of the group’s conferences or visited their Internet site.
Giffords was first elected to Congress in 2006, and made her Jewish identity part of her campaign.
“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. “Jewish women – by our tradition and by the way we were raised – have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done, and pull people together to be successful.”
More than 100 people crowded into a special healing service Sunday morning for Giffords at Congregation Chaverim, the Reform Tucson congregation where Giffords was married three years ago, according to The New York Times. Giffords’s rabbi, friends and admirers gathered to pray for a speedy recovery for the congresswoman.
Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, the leader of Congregation Chaverim, said that Giffords has been an instrument of tikkun olam, the Times reported.
“In Jewish practice, we have an idea of repairing the world,” Rabbi Aaron said. Giffords, she added, “was very active in doing that work and being a pursuer of justice.”
Loughner had apparently had contact with Giffords prior to Saturday’s shooting. Court papers filled with the charges against Jared Loughner said he received a letter from Giffords in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.
Additionally, investigators carrying out a search warrant at Loughner’s parents’ home, where the shooter resided, found an envelope in a safe with the words “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be Loughner’s signature.
Authorities would not disclose where Loughner was being held, and officials were working to appoint an attorney for him before a scheduled Monday afternoon court appearance in Phoenix.
Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, said a request has been made that San Diego attorney Judy Clarke be appointed to represent Loughner.
Clarke, a former federal public defender in San Diego and Spokane, Washington, served on teams that defended Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Timothy McVeigh, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two sons in 1994.