ADL: Antisemitism not motive in Arizona attack

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has dismissed speculation that the alleged Arizona gunman Jared Loughner was motivated by antisemitic or extremist views.

In the wake of the shooting a memo from the US Department of Homeland Security suggested a possible connection between the extremist organisation American Renaissance and the fact that one of the people targeted was Arizona’s first Jewish Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.

But American Jewry's main defence organisation said in a statement that examination of the 22-year-old’s “Internet footprint" had given more insight into his mindset.

The ADL said: “Loughner's often disjointed, rambling and semi-coherent writings suggest someone who probably is not associated with any particular extremist groups or movements, but has a generic distrust of government and a vague interest in conspiracy theories.

“They are indicative of an individual who has been exposed to a number of different ideas, from across the political spectrum.

“However, Loughner's writings do not provide any solid body of evidence or any patterns that would seem clearly to point to a particular ideology or belief system as a significant motivating factor.”

Doctors for Ms Giffords, who was shot in the head at close range, said she is making a strong recovery. Four days after the attack, she is still in intensive care and using a breathing tube, but has been able to breathe unaided for a brief period.

Last updated: 9:39am, January 12 2011