Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords' Jewishness

01/13/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am a traditional Jew who subscribes to the traditional definition of Jewish identity (you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted). By this definition, Gabrielle Giffords is not Jewish. But by other definitions, including her own, she is. Given all she has done and what she has gone through, and given the strong possibility that her assailant attacked her in part because of her self-declared Jewish identity, what is the proper ethical response to all this?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Palin’s ‘Blood Libel’ Remark Overwhelms Message

01/13/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- It was a well-crafted message preaching unity -- and mined with a “blood libel” that blew it all apart.

Sarah Palin’s video message Wednesday, her first substantial commentary since Saturday’s shooting in Tucson that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and killed six others, at first appeared to succeed in reconciling two American precepts that have seemed irreconcilable in recent days: a common purpose and a rough-and-tumble political culture.

Plight Of The Patrilineals

As we all know by now, this weekend’s tragic shooting rampage in Arizona has not only stirred up much partisan finger-pointing about inflammatory rhetoric but highlighted yet again the utter wackiness of our gun-crazy culture (hold your angry comments NRA supporters: I’m unabashedly liberal on gun control and see no reason any civilian, much less a schizophrenic, should have access to a semiautomatic rifle).

But the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who identifies as Jewish but is not Jewish according to the traditional “matrilineal descent” definition, is also shining a spotlight on the “who is a Jew” debate. Giffords, 40, is the daughter of a Jewish father and Christian Scientist mother who raised her in both traditions; according to JTA, for the past decade (following her first visit to Israel) she has identified exclusively as Jewish, and she belongs to a Reform congregation.

Political incitement on the airwaves: Not a balanced equation

I didn't blog today because I was busy writing a story about political incitement, the nation's toxic political mood and the appalling shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson on Saturday. (Yes, I've finally learned how to spell “Tucson.” Keep those cards and letters coming.)

And I was busy getting frustrated by all the people who were telling me that it's important to note that it's not just right wingers who are hurling rhetorical grenades.

Well, they're right – but they're also playing cute games with the facts

Extremist Radical, Or Just A Nut?

Both, says expert Mark Potok, who suspects anti-government rhetoric, not anti-Semitism, affected alleged Arizona shooter.

01/11/2011
Assistant Managing Editor

An internal Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by Fox News says that accused Arizona shooter Jared Loughner is “possibly connected” to American Renaissance, a group that describes itself on its website as committed to “the study of all aspects of race, whether historical, cultural, or biological. This approach is known as race realism.”

Alleged Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, above in a Jan. 10 mug shot.

Giffords Wasn’t Shot Because of Her Judaism, ADL Says

01/11/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An analysis of Internet musings by Jared Lee Loughner dismisses speculation that he may have targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because she is Jewish.

"In the end, the writings so far revealed seem to indicate no particular leanings about race, and it is difficult to come away from the postings with such a conclusion," according to the analysis published Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL analysis also said that the writings do not "point to a particular ideology or belief system."

Obama Calls Giffords’ Rabbi

01/11/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama spoke with the rabbi of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during a series of calls to friends and families of victims of the weekend shooting in Tucson.

A White House official said Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Tucson's Congregation Chaverim was among the Tucson-area officials, victims and families Obama reached Monday in the wake of the Jan. 8 attack that left Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, critically injured and six dead.

ADL: Assessing Hate Speech Angle in Giffords Shooting 'Critical'

01/10/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Anti-Defamation League said it is "critical" to determine whether the man alleged to have shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was influenced by hate speech.

"It is critical to determine whether the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, acted alone or with others, and whether he was influenced by extremist literature, propaganda or hate speech," the ADL said in its statement Sunday.

Memo Notes Giffords’ Judaism in Motives of Alleged Attacker

01/10/2011

(JTA) -- A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman's alleged assailant.

The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

More on the Giffords shooting and the climate of rage

As bloggers and commentators assess blame for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, it's pretty clear almost everybody is filtering what little we really know about the alleged shooter through their own politics and ideology.

You don't need a Ph. D in psychology to know Jared Loughner is a deeply troubled, possibly crazy young man. Was he driven to that point by ideology – or did he latch on to scattered ideologies because of his mental collapse? I'm more inclined to believe the latter, although we still don't have a complete picture.

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