THE ATLANTIC: In 1939, the German American Bund organized a rally of 20,000 Nazi supporters at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When Academy Award-nominated documentarian Marshall Curry stumbled upon footage of the event in historical archives, he was flabbergasted. Together with Field of Vision, he decided to present the footage as a cautionary tale to Americans. The short film, A Night at the Garden, premieres on The Atlantic today. MORE
RELATED: The apparent spark for the worst anti-Semitic massacre in American history was a racist hoax inflamed by a U.S. president seeking to help his party win a midterm election. There is no political gesture, no public statement, and no alteration in rhetoric or behavior that will change this fact. The shooter might have found a different reason to act on a different day. But he chose to act on Saturday, and he apparently chose to act in response to a political fiction that the president himself chose to spread, and that his followers chose to amplify.
As for those who aided the president in his propaganda campaign, who enabled him to prey on racist fears to fabricate a national emergency, those who said to themselves, “This is the play”? Every single one of them bears some responsibility for what followed. Their condemnations of antisemitism are meaningless. Their thoughts and prayers are worthless. Their condolences are irrelevant. They can never undo what they have done, and what they have done will never be forgotten. MORE
FRESH AIR: Journalist Eli Saslow says there’s a “straight line” between the suspect charged with 29 counts related to the deaths of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday and the views of the white nationalist movement.
In the “horrific hierarchy of white nationalist beliefs,” Jews are considered the “primary enemy,” Saslow says. “Throughout the history of the white nationalist movement, we’ve seen more attacks on synagogues, more bombing threats on Jewish schools than we have almost any other demographic group.”
Saslow’s most recent book, Rising Out of Hatred, chronicles the life of Derek Black, a young man who was once a leading voice in the white nationalist movement but has since denounced his views. Saslow says that he spoke to Black after the synagogue shooting, and that Black feels “heartbroken” by the incident.
“Every time something like this happens, [Black] feels in small ways culpable,” Saslow says. “He wonders how much of the messaging that he did in terms of white nationalism plays into incidents like this.”
For his part, Saslow was saddened — but not surprised — by the attack.
“It seems like there’s a certain kind of inevitability. … I don’t think that this will be the last one, and I think probably, like a lot of us, I sort of live in fear and with a sense of dread of when is when is the next horrible thing like this going to happen?,” Saslow says. MORE