The Other Kennedy Assassination: Media Narrative Avoids Palestinian Terrorist Motive in RFK MurderPosted: November 25, 2013
Oswald and Sirhan were troubled men of radical politics who wanted to murder their ideological enemies, Oswald on behalf of Castro and Sirhan on behalf of the Palestinian cause
Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein writes: While fifty years later, much of the MSM still refuses to acknowledge that JFK’s assassin was a Communist loser, somehow it’s also apparently not cricket to point out that his brother RFK was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
So let’s review. Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian refugee with Jordanian citizenship. He murdered Kennedy because the latter promised to send advanced fighter planes to Israel. The PLO terrorist group Black September demanded his release in exchange for hostages in 1973, recognizing that he was “one of theirs.”
Yet of 5755 hits for “Sirhan Sirhan” in the ALLNEWS database on Westlaw, only four of them refer to him as a “Palestinian terrorist” or “Palestinian extremist;” three of these sources are the Jerusalem Post, and one is the New York Jewish Week. In mainstream publications, you actually get phrases like this, “Black September terrorists who kidnapped the Western diplomats in a failed plot to free Palestinian terrorists in European jails and Sirhan Sirhan, the killer of Robert F. Kennedy,” as if Sirhan Sirhan, a terrorist and a Palestinian, on the same “trade of for hostages list” as other Palestinian terrorists, was somehow not a “Palestinian terrorist.” An even better one, from the Huffington Post: “[RFK] was gunned down in a hotel kitchen by a 24-year-old Palestinian whose motives have never been determined.” (Ironically, sources from the Arab world (e.g.,) seem more likely to acknowledge the real dynamic, though with the message that the U.S. and assumedly RFK got what was coming to it and him for supporting Israel).
As I was growing up, the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, were always portrayed as a resulting from a “culture of violence” and “hatred” that showed that America was going nuts in the 1960s, first because of the Cold War and civil rights, and then Vietnam and civil rights. It turns out that history is much less dramatic. Oswald and Sirhan were troubled men of radical politics who wanted to murder their ideological enemies, Oswald on behalf of Castro and Sirhan on behalf of the Palestinian cause. James Earl Ray was a two-bit criminal and racist with his own delusions of grandeur. It’s hard to see how these disparate figures, three of almost two hundred million people, can be boiled down to being the products of some unified culture of hate and violence, much less, as is often implied, a “right-wing” culture of hate and violence. And it’s not as though if these three individuals hadn’t existed, someone else would have inevitably killed any of their victims. But the history as portrayed in popular culture seems to have been useful politically to some, and perhaps that’s the only explanation for the distortions that we need.