Sirhan Sirhan

An editorial in The Jewish Week is charging that the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan was the beginning of Palestinian terrorism for Americans.

The report by Associate Editor Jonathan Mark, prompted by the 40th anniversary of the assassination this month, decries the absence of media publicity over the fact that Sirhan was a “West Bank immigrant” who wanted “fair play” for Palestinians and was infuriated over Kennedy’s cozying up to the Jewish community during the election campaign campaign.

“Go through The New York Times archives, even the archives of most Jewish newspapers, and you’ll find more references to Yigal Amir (convicted of the assassination of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) being Orthodox than you will to Sirhan being Palestinian,” he wrote.

“Sirhan killed Kennedy on June 5, 1968, exactly the first anniversary of the Six-Day War, because Sirhan thought Kennedy was unsympathetic to the Final Solution plotted by eight Arab nations one June earlier,” Mark said. “And so, this Palestinian terrorist arranged a Final Solution for Kennedy.”

Kennedy was shot while going through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles to leave a campaign rally. He died the next day.

Mark reported, “Sirhan was not just anti-Zionist, he was anti-Semitic,” and claimed the last straw for the assassin was when a television report at the time showed Kennedy wearing a yarmulke outside a synagogue.

And yet analysts have been quoted affirming Sirhan “was a Middle Eastern version of Lee Harvey Oswald. He fit the profile of a lone gunman who wants to become famous by shooting a famous person rather than having a political ideology he wanted to advance.”

“When a political active leftist kills a Kennedy, we’re told the assassin was a ‘lone gunman,'” Mark wrote. “When a lone gunman kills Yitzhak Rabin, we’re told the assassin was Orthodox.”

“Amir was exposed to bitterness and threats against the prime minister from a rabbi or two, but no more so than [John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey] Oswald was exposed to bitterness and threats from Communists who bragged ‘we will bury you,’ and Sirhan from Arabs who declared Israel’s birth to be a satanic ‘catastrophe’ worthy of death,” Mark said.

Recent media citations have included references to the 1972 murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics by the Black September organization as “really the beginning of terrorism.”

“No, the killing of Kennedy by a Palestinian terrorist was ‘really the beginning of terrorism,’ for Americans, anyway, four years before Munich,” he said.

“Forty years later, and ‘scholars’ are only ‘beginning to see it’ for the Palestinian terrorism it was,” he said.

Even in the 2008 presidential race in the United States, when Democrat Hillary Clinton “raised the subject” of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, media outlets assumed the analogy concerned the safety of Democrat Barack Obama being targeted by “racists on the right.”

“The more precise analogy would be that an assassin in 2008, God forbid, could be a Sirhan-like terrorist who conceivably could be angered by anything from Obama’s distancing himself from his Islamic father, to Obama’s persistent attempts to prove to Jewish voters that he is not an isolationist when it comes to Israel’s security, and that he’d be thoroughly supportive of Israel,” Mark wrote.

“Kennedy spent considerable time with Jewish voters distancing himself from his own father, who was isolationist and pro-German prior to World War II, trying to convince Jewish voters that he was thoroughly supportive of Israel,” he said.

“Sirhan might have been the only gunman who shot Kennedy, but he was not a ‘lone gunman.’ He was the first Arab terrorist on American soil but hardly the last,” Mark said.


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