We’re not the ones who brought up Judaism. It’s the media that, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, dreamed up the notion that Giffords was assassinated by an anti-Semitic White Nationalist. When we speculated that Loughner might be Jewish, we did so based on a solid lead from an interview in Mother Jones of his closest friend. It was very relevant, as his being Jewish would have disabled the media’s unprovoked attack on us.
Exactly right. I am certainly not wedded to the idea that Loughner was Jewish on his mother’s side. That’s why I had a question mark in the title of my blog.
JTA now has a blog by Ron Kampeas that goes through most of the genealogy, concluding with the suggestion that Loughner’s mother’s grandfather may have been Jewish. (In a previous blog, Kampeas had dismissed the Jewish connection because Totman is “an old English name.” By that logic, Jon Stewart couldn’t be Jewish because he has an old Scottish name.) In his most recent comments, Kampeas speculates that Loughner’s mother
might have mentioned her Jewish grandfather, beloved enough to live on in her brother’s name, with pride or interest. Under those circumstances Loughner, who sought “chaos” according to Tierney, might have sought to provoke his mother and his uncle by pretending to admire (or actually admiring) Adolph Hitler. He might have told Tierney that his mother was Jewish as a shorthand, or might have seen her as Jewish — like I said, not the most reliable reporter. Or he might have explained the lineage, and Tierney might understandably have conflated it as “mother Jewish.”
Pretty speculative but helpful in any case. As we wait for a definitive account, the LATimes published an article (“Experts see echoes of extremism in Loughner’s ramblings“) that shows that efforts to blame the “extreme right” continue unabated. The article quotes the $PLC’s notorious Mark Potok as an “expert.” Even after everyone with a brain is chalking it up to insanity, Potok writes, “I think you can find clues to some of the ideas that have influenced him, and I think many of them are clearly coming from the extreme right.”
Never waste an opportunity to vilify the right.