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Yesterday’s murder of two people near a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur fills our hearts with sadness and outrage. Our compassion goes out to the victims of this heinous act.

The news that the 27-year-old man arrested for the murders preceded his action with an anti-Semitic rant – including declaring that the Holocaust had never occurred and that Jews lay at the root of world problems – pushes to the fore once again that we are dealing with an epidemic of violence with roots in white and ethnic nationalism.

Like so many other recent attacks, the alleged shooter was also fueled by misogyny and xenophobia. During a 35-minute livestream of his murderous attack, he also railed against feminism and against immigrants. A manifesto linked to the shooter noted that he initially considered attacking a mosque or a site associated with antifa, but ultimately settled on a synagogue. His written aim was to “kill as many anti-Whites as possible, jews (sic) preferred.”

We are all potential targets of white nationalist rage.

While this murder took place across the Atlantic, we in the United States must take this as a signal to redouble efforts to counter white nationalism at home and abroad. The violent nationalism we are facing is international in scope, and has been for some time.

From the 1980s, as vanguardist ideas percolated in the emerging white nationalist movement, to the present, white terrorists in the United States have influenced and been influenced by nationalist movements abroad. William Pierce’s national socialist National Vanguard and the pseudo-religious Christian Identity movement held a special place in their vicious hearts for Germany and German nationalism. The confluence of these tendencies would produce the terrorist underground the Order in the mid-1980s.

In the 1990s, neo-Nazi Harold Covington – implicated in, but never held to account for, the 1979 Greensboro massacre – would offer his North Carolina Post Office Box as a stateside address for Combat 18, a British-based terror group modeled on Hitler’s Brownshirts.

In July 2011 U.S.-based American Freedom Party director and veteran anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald would praise Anders Brevik for his “good practical ideas on strategy” and for “characterizing multiculturalism as an ideology of hate.” The day before MacDonald penned that praise, Brevik massacred seventy-seven people at a Norwegian Labor Party Youth League summer camp. MacDonald would conclude that one result of Brevik’s actions might be that, “European elites will understand that the glorious multicultural future will not be attained without a great deal of bloodletting (including themselves and, as in this case, their children) and realize they will have to change their ways.”

The list could go on.

More recently, the white nationalist who murdered 22 people on August 3 in El Paso, Texas drew inspiration from the white nationalist-motivated murder of 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in March. The New Zealand murderer had, in turn, been inspired by Brevik’s depravity as well as white nationalist Dylann Roof’s murder of nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

Unless we come together and take action to halt white nationalism, this list will continue to grow.

As we find ourselves in a struggle over the heart and soul of who we are as a nation, we must recognize that our vision for justice cannot stop at the edge of U.S. borders. It must be international in scope and it must include making common cause with people of good will across borders to ensure that no country is ravaged by white nationalism and its genocidal endgame.

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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