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Jewish Presence in The Gun Control Debate

From actor to victim, expect to see more of it

Adam Chandler
January 17, 2013
NRA's 'Stand and Fight' Ad(YouTube )
NRA's 'Stand and Fight' Ad(YouTube )

The National Rifle Association preempted President Barack Obama’s speech on gun control yesterday by releasing an ad earlier this week involving the President’s children and the choice phrase “just another elitist hypocrite.”

Who are the other elitist hypocrites? According to the NRA ad, Vice President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and NBC news anchor David Gregory, who asked NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre, some pointed questions on Meet The Press a few weeks ago.

I suppose if one were looking for it, the appearance of the President, the Vice President, and three Jewish leaders labeled on screen as elitist hypocrites might raise some eyebrows among those who worry that Jews are being scapegoated in the gun debate. (It certainly wouldn’t help that Bloomberg, Feinstein, and Gregory are shown flanking the President just an instant after an enormous pile of money appears on screen.)

Meanwhile, reporting on the President’s gun control address, CBS’s Bob Schieffer summed up the daunting challenge of overturning popular gun culture in the United States thusly:

We found Osama bin Laden. We tracked him down. We changed the way that we dealt with that problem. Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do; and before that, surely, defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby.

This statement prompted a chorus of acrimonious replies claiming that Schieffer had just morally equated the issue of gun control to the American triumph over the Nazis in World War II. The always rational Ann Coulter led the way, tweeting this to her 300,000 followers:

“CBS’s Bob Schieffer Likens Obama Taking on NRA to Defeating the Nazis.” No Bob, its more like the Nazis disarming the Jews.

This bogus historical linking has taken off again since the Sandy Hook massacre. For more, Michael Moynihan brilliantly handled the argument here.

Now that President Obama has thrown down the gauntlet on gun control, the public grace period of largely apolitical grief has come to a close and the policy debate begins. If the last 48 hours are any indication, we should expect to see more Jewish historical themes and political figures featured in the conversation ahead–whether we want them or not.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.