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Tuesday, October 30, 2018
WND Demonized Refugee Agency That Synagogue Shooter Targeted
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Once again, we're seeing that right-wing rhetoric promoted by WorldNetDaily has found an echo in the perpetrator of a mass killing.

Robert Bowers' main target in the Pittsburgh synogogue shooting, in which he killed 11 people, was HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which has an affiliate in Pittsburgh. Before the massacre, he tweeted that ""HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."

As it so happens, WND has spent the past few years trying to demonize the agency for bringing in refugees.

In 2014, immigrant-hating, Muslim-hating reporter Leo Hohmann complained that HIAS said it was "unacceptable and un-American" for what he called "unaccompanied alien children" to navigate the U.S. legal system without a court-appointed lawyer, and that it "provide[d] a form letter on its website for supporters to send to members of Congress" that was "continuously pushing for more money to pay for higher levels of resettlement work." Another 2014 article by Hohmann listed HIAS among agencies that "often do the bidding of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees" and "push for more foreign refugees to be resettled in America, which results in more federal grants flowing into their coffers."

A May 2015 article by Hohmann detailed how HIAS issued a "field manual" on overcoming resistance to refugees in some commiunities, which Hohmann later described as "a strategy to deride and intimidate any politician or activist who opposes the refuge industry’s agenda to change the demographics of a town." Hohmann claimed the report was underwritten by "a wealthy New York family foundation," and complained that HIAS "is one of nine government contractors who do the resettlement work in more than 190 cities and towns across the U.S. These contractors subcontract with more than 350 smaller agencies and church groups to get the refugees settled into subsidized housing, get their children enrolled in school and families signed up for Medicaid."

Hohmann wrote that "Hebrew Immigrant Aid cited fear of terrorism as one of the primary concerns that residents have with Muslim refugees settling in their communities" and that "the report blames the backlash not on any failure of the government to properly vet refugees but on “anti-Muslim views” held by native-born Americans," then argued the anti-Muslim fear was wholly justified: "Since the report was written in February 2013, scores more Somali refugees have been arrested for providing material support for overseas Islamic terror groups such as al-Shabab. Still others have left the country to fight for ISIS and al-Shabab."

Hohmann also claimed of the "playbook" that "Among the recommendations given by HIAS was to monitor and research the backgrounds of 'resisters' and turn them in to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left 'watchdog' that has in recent years taken to branding mainline Christian organizations such as the Family Research Council as 'hate groups.'"

In July 2015, Hohmann wrote of an incident in which anti-refugee activists were exposed as intolerant, then quoted anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran ranting, "This kind of trashing of the First Amendment rights of average American citizens who speak out or even question the refugee program is right out of the playbook of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s document."

In September 2015, Hohmann claimed that HIAS "started out as a rescue mission for persecuted Jews but now relocates mostly Muslims to the U.S."

In 2016, Hohmann groused that a flood of Honduran refugees weren't actually fleeing violence, citing HIAS as among "religious groups [who] have also done their part to push the “migrants as refugees” narrative" and "have answered the call of the Obama administration, offering shelter, legal aid, advocacy and lobbying, and other mostly government-funded aid to the migrants."

Hohmann wrote in 2017 that HIAS was among "well-heeled resettlement agencies" who "certainly will file lawsuits against any Trump plan that drastically reduces or eliminates the number of refugees flowing into U.S. cities." Hohmann also accused HIAS of "secretly placing refugees into U.S. cities," later asserting that the group is "57 percent funded by taxpayers." One of Hohmann's final articles for WND was a January 2018 piece listing HIAS among resettlement agencies that allegedly "serve as virtual headhunters for these global conglomerates in search of cheap labor for their hotels and factories.

Hohmann wasn't the only WND writer fearmongering about HIAS. An August 2015 column by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller ranted that "The Democrats have made refugee resettlement a lucrative business for agencies like" HIAS, adding that it's "ironic how most of these agencies represent religions that are being persecuted and slaughtered by these very Muslim communities.

In its initial report on the Pittsburgh shooting, an anonymous WND writer noted Bowers' tweet attacking HIAS -- but it didn't note the years WND has spent demonizing the group.

Meanwhile, Hohmann -- who's now a freelancer -- hasn't written on his own site in nearly a month, so we don't know how he feels about Bowers' massacre and the role hatred for HIAS played in it.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:50 PM EDT

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