By Joel Rubin, Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress
Originally published in Foreign Policy.
“The explosion of white supremacist violence displayed at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not an isolated event. Before Donald Trump and the QAnon-inspired crowd of seditious conspiracy theorists that backs him arrived, there was the so-called Michigan Militia, which in the mid-1990s inspired Timothy McVeigh to murder 168 people by blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. And before that, for nearly a century, Southern white supremacists, organized into terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, murdered and terrorized Black Americans. This happened because, in an eerie echo of today’s events, the legitimate results of the 1876 presidential election were overturned, prematurely ending Reconstruction and advancing white power while betraying the promise of equality for Black Americans.
White supremacist terrorism has been a feature, not an outlier, of American life.
And as the national security community is well aware, terrorism is multidimensional in nature. It therefore requires a multidimensional response, one that does not yet exist in the fight against white supremacist terrorism.
One needs to look no further than QAnon, the violent, anti-Semitic conspiratorial movement that has metastasized in dozens of countries. It is a hydra-headed beast whose inspiration is Trump, a man believed to be the savior of white people everywhere.
Despite this history, and despite the fact that Trump has been pouring gasoline on the still burning embers of white supremacy in the United States, the U.S. government is not properly equipped to counter the threat. Something structural needs to urgently change in the national security bureaucracy to deal with right-wing violence.
Washington therefore needs to treat white supremacist violence as the transnational threat that it is. This means officially designating it as terrorism and restructuring the government’s counterterrorism agencies to comprehensively counter it as a transnational threat…”
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