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In early January, FrontPage Magazine’s story, ‘The Greatest Islamophobia Hoax in America Exposed’ about the “anti-Palestinian” hate crime in Burlington, VT that never was, went viral. It was picked up by Townhall, Newsbusters, Real Clear Investigations, Instapundit, HotAir, Legal Insurrection, as well as Larry Elder, and a twitter thread on it went viral.
NBC News, which I had specifically called out in my coverage, returned with a defensive interview with the three Muslim men who had been shot in a confrontation with a mentally unstable local organic farmer who, contrary to their narrative, hated America and was pro-Islam.
The Muslim activists at the center of this case once again tried to tie Israel’s campaign against Hamas terrorists to the incident. In reality, as a local news outlet already documented, James J. Eaton, the man who shot them, was an anti-American leftist who expressed support for Hamas.
After weeks and weeks of non-stop media coverage and claims by the Muslim men that the attack was a “hate crime” and had something to do with Israel and hatred of Muslims and ‘Palestinians’, not a single piece of supporting evidence turned up. Opposing evidence did.
Eaton, a Bernie Sanders supporter, had actually tweeted that “the notion that Hamas is ‘evil’ for defending their state from occupation is absurd. They are owed a state. Pay up” and “What if someone occupied your country? Wouldn’t you fight them?”
He commented on a video of a Muslim man, saying, “people of faith constantly impress me.”
Local accounts describe him as violent, unstable, “progressive” and a “hippie guy”. His LinkedIn bio stated that his causes included, “civil rights and social action” and he argued that, “we can build the world we want. First we need to redistribute wealth and income.”
Biden, Kamala, Bernie Sanders and various state officials were rushed into making statements denouncing “islamophobia” even though there’s zero evidence of any “hateful” motive.
“Anybody who steps out from a porch and attacks three random passerby, for whatever reason, is expressing a form of hate,” Police Chief Jon Murad argued.
That makes every random act of violence into a hate crime.
Murad however admits that the attack was random. And, bowing to pressure from Islamist groups like CAIR and local politicians, he’s redefining all crime as an act of hate. Or, as he told CNN, the difference between “a hateful act and a hate crime”. And the difference is evidence.
“Although we do not yet have evidence to support a hate crime enhancement, I do want to be clear that there is no question that this was a hateful act,” Susan George, a Soros DA, argued.
How can there be “no question” of something and also no evidence for that same thing?
While local authorities are backing away from the idea that Eaton, a leftist who supported Hamas, was motivated by hatred of Islam or the Hamas-Israel war, the media is doubling down.
NBC News had the men suggest that James J. Eaton, the man who shot them, “may have seen them before and was possibly waiting for them that day.”
How would Eaton have known when they would be coming home from a family birthday party?
Was he waiting on a porch with a gun for hours a day in the hopes that, in a 97% white city, three Muslim men would come walking down the street so he could go over and shoot them? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just go to a mosque if he wanted to shoot some Muslims?
Hisham Awartani, one of the Muslim men, told NBC News that “systemic dehumanization” of the Arab Muslims settlers in Israel who claim to be ‘Palestinians’ caused Eaton to shoot them.
“It’s something that, you know, has always been the case, like, in, Western discourse through the media. Like, the Palestinian is assumed by default to be terrorist,” Awartani argued. “And when he saw us, it was like — he just connected the dots.”
How would Eaton have even “connected the dots” that they were ‘Palestinians’?
The shooting took place at night on a small residential street with no streetlights. The Muslim men were walking on the other side of the street.
The NBC News story once again repeats the claims by the men that two of them “were wearing keffiyehs when they were shot and all three of them were speaking Arabic with occasional English words woven in.” Keffiyehs are worn by every other hipster and if Eaton were shooting anyone in Burlington wearing one of the terror scarves, he would have run out of bullets.
Eaton would have needed the night vision of an owl to spot their scarves from his porch across a dark street. He would have also needed excellent hearing to make out what language they were speaking from that same distance. And psychic powers to decide they were ‘Palestinians’.
In their account, as retold by NBC News, “as they walked they saw a man standing across the road come down the porch of a home, pull out a pistol and shoot them.” And all of this happened as he somehow managed to make out their scarves and recognize their Arabic.
Kinnan Abdalhamid, one of the Muslim men, told CNN, “We see this man on his porch essentially looking away from us. He turns around, looks at us, and without saying a word — it was almost surreal — he went down the steps, pulled out a pistol and shot my friend.”
So in reality, Eaton wasn’t watching for them or even facing in their direction.
The admission that Eaton did not say anything to them is important because the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee had falsely claimed that “a man shouted and harassed the victims, then proceeded to shoot them. We have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab.” In reality there were no words exchanged between them.
Despite this absurdity, Sen. Bernie Sanders (of whom the shooter was a fan) furiously fulminated that, “the idea that three young men walking down the street get shot, perhaps because of no other reason than they are Palestinian, is unspeakable. But I gotta tell you, this is not just a local phenomenon, this is happening all over the country.”
He did not list any cases where ‘Palestinians’ were being shot while walking down the street. Or explain how long Eaton intended to hang out on a porch with a gun until a ‘Palestinian’ came by.
“I don’t know why he’d have a loaded pistol and stand on the porch,” one of the Muslim men admitted.
The obvious answer is that it had nothing to do with them.
Eaton was the subject of 37 police reports in New York State. An ex-girlfriend had asked police to take his guns because she was afraid of what he might do. He had a history of mental illness, paranoid delusions and previously had guns taken away from him. None of this was political.
The gun he allegedly shot the Muslim men with was bought in April and long before the war.
The local police chief and Soros DA were eager to find some basis for calling it a hate crime. After getting access to everything Eaton ever wrote, they still have nothing. No hate crime enhancements were filed. And the authorities have been warning that the evidentiary requirements are too high to expect them to be filed since they do require actual evidence.
“Even as we speak, the ATF and FBI are investigating the tragic shooting of three men of Palestinian descent in Vermont. That investigation, including whether this is a hate crime, is ongoing,” Attorney General Merrick Garland promised back in November.
And, even as we speak, with the ATF and FBI on the case all this time, there’s still nothing.
The three Muslim men and the media keep pushing the claim that Eaton was motivated by hatred of Muslims or ‘Palestinians’, not because they care about holding him accountable, but because they want to use the incident to attack Israel and Jews.
“I don’t think too much about if there’s gonna be hate crime charges,” Hisham Artwani, one of the Muslim men, admitted to NBC News.
Kinnan Abdalhamid, another of the men, told NBC News that he didn’t just want to pin it on Eaton. “I think there’s been a lot of attempts for us to fully only demonize the guy, but we realize this is part of a larger systematic issue.”
Why this disinterest in holding the actual guy who shot them accountable?
Normal crime victims would care more about whether there are hate crime charges than creating the perception of a hate crime. And they would want to demonize the shooter.
Eaton was just a crazy guy with no politically convenient motive. No one wants to talk about him, instead the media and anti-Israel activists, including the men at the heart of the confrontation, want to talk about how evil Israel is. The NBC News interview, like all their previous ones, is littered with smears and false attacks over Israel’s war against terrorists.
Artawni rambles to NBC News that “what’s going on in Palestine, it’s still going on. And, like, that’s more on my mind right now.”
That much is true. The Muslim men would much rather exploit their encounter with a crazy guy, who loved Muslims and supported Hamas, to smear Israel, than talk about the actual shooter.
And the media would rather push the lies, myths and smears than finally tell the truth.