The social-media ravings of Mauricio Garcia, the man who murdered eight people earlier this month with an assault rifle at a mall in Allen, Texas, reveal an angry, embittered misanthrope who hated everything.
He hated his own Hispanic ethnicity. He hated anyone who looked different to him or possessed a different culture. He hated women for showing no interest in him.
His posts also reveal a progression from common prejudice into ever-deepening paranoia and conspiracy theories. He began to gravitate more and more toward Nazi iconography and ideology.
He tattooed large SS bolts on his arm and a swastika on his chest.
He acquired a “right-wing death squad” patch, began to openly praise Hitler and fell ever deeper into the world of the Nazi killing squads that carried out the genocide of the Jews.
Before long, all of Garcia’s disparate hatreds found a central focus, manifesting in a demented, time-worn narrative.
Garcia turned to the “Jewish Question,” he assailed Jews for controlling the government and he claimed that Jews had “engineered society so that men cannot mate with women.”
This was the final evolution in the thinking that had turned a young man from cruising right-wing sites and finding kitsch in military insignia, to committing mass murder.
There are many aspects of anti-Semitism that make it distinct from other forms of hatred.
Its transmission through well-honed mythology and conspiracies, its characterization of Jews as both inferior and malevolently superior.
But its capacity to shift from prejudice to an all-consuming quest must be its most distinct feature.
Hitler unleashed the most devastating war in history in pursuit of eradicating Jews.
Henry Ford, a man who had everything, would rave about Jews controlling the world around the campfire.
They controlled the banks, real estate, they caused the failures of the navy, they created jazz music, he would tell anyone willing to listen.
Ford used his immense wealth and creative genius to publish anti-Semitic rants in the newspaper he acquired in 1919, The Dearborn Independent, eventually packaging his favorite anti-Semitism screeds into a two-volume work titled “The International Jew.”
Ford deliberately did not copyright the book to enable its swift and easy distribution. It became a sensation in Germany. Hitler called Ford “his inspiration” and kept a portrait of him in his Munich office.
Garcia, possessing no such means or high intellect, used what he had, easy access to guns, to kill as many innocent people as he could.
Another aspect of anti-Semitism that makes it unique is its nostalgia for a purer, bygone age and the belief that the Jew is the agent of its corruption. Ford had it. Hitler had it.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) believes that the creation of the State of Israel in lands directly linked to Jews since before Roman times is a Nakba, an Arabic word denoting “catastrophe.”
One might consider the catastrophe to be the extermination of the European Jews which ended just three years prior to Israel’s independence.
Or the Arab violence and political blackmail that led to the British freezing out millions of Jews from Mandate-era Palestine, directly leading to their deaths.
Tlaib might consider the catastrophe to be rejection by the Arabs of two-state solutions in 1937 and 1947, which could have spared a lot of blood and tears.
Instead, Tlaib has blamed Holocaust survivors who found refuge in Israel for “wiping out” Palestinians. She has tried to purge supporters of Israel (virtually all Jews) from progressive spaces claiming that true progressives cannot be pro-Israel, and invoked chilling rhetoric about those ‘behind the curtain’ that ‘make money … to control and express people.” They do it from “Gaza to Detroit,” she said.
Equally disturbing is that despite his familiarity with Jewish history, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted an inflammatory event in the Senate on May 10 to mark 75 years of “Nakba” after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy cancelled Tlaib’s initial plan to hold it at the Capitol.
In doing so, Sanders effectively laundered her contemporary anti-Semitism into respectable “pro-Palestinianism” or “anti-Zionism.”
Another feature of anti-Semitism is that while it scars the Jewish people in every generation, it hurts the perpetrator more.
From Babylon and Rome to the Nazis themselves, the anti-Semites have disappeared while the Jews endure.
They outlive their tormentors not as a quirk of history but because by turning on this numerically minuscule nation — that gave the world its great religions and the ethics derived from them —they turn on a vital part of themselves and so suffer a mortal wound.
Tlaib and her patrons should remember this.
Alex Ryvchin is the author of the book “The Seven Deadly Myths – Antisemitism from the Time of Christ to Kanye West”