A week ago Second Amendment firebrand Ted Nugent posted an appalling graphic on his Facebook page, showing a dozen of America’s most famous gun grabbers with Israeli flags superimposed on their photos. The implication was clear – an obvious, disgusting claim that some kind of vast Jewish conspiracy was behind gun control efforts in the United States.
Fans of Ted’s music and his Second Amendment supporters were understandably upset. Was Ted implying that Jews were somehow responsible for the demise of our freedoms? Was he an anti-Semite? Is Ted prejudiced in some way against Jews? Has Ted become a liability to the gun rights movement?
Fast and furious calls for the NRA to cut ties with Ted. The National Review Online called Nugent a disgrace to the gun rights movement. The usual suspects – everyone from the Huffington Post to Mother Jones to the Southern Poverty Law Center to Media Matters – screeched about Ted’s alleged anti-Semitism. Even Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership – the organization from which this group sprang – immediately jumped into action to condemn Ted for his alleged Jew hatred.
You know what these reactionary outrageatrons didn’t do? No one in the mainstream media or any major gun rights organizations contacted Ted Nugent for a comment. They didn’t try to find out what was going on. They just assumed that a longtime friend and supporter of our freedoms, who never had an anti-Semitic bone in his body all of a sudden became a Jew hater, and they tripped all over themselves to condemn him.
You know how I know this? Because on behalf of the Zelman Partisans, I spent time on the phone with Ted Nugent – quite a bit of time – discussing this issue, and he told me so. “It’s not like my contact information is hard to find,” he told me. But no one called him to get a statement or to find out what was up.
“I can’t believe that knowing my history, knowing how much I love freedom, and how much I’ve fought to protect it, that no one thought to call me!” he said.
Now, what I’m about to tell you is not an excuse for the use of the graphic in any way. The graphic was originally found in 2013 on an anti-Semitic site called “the Jewish Problem” (and no, I’m not linking to that fascist crap – find it yourselves if you’re curious), according to a TinEye search I did when I first saw the Facebook post. There’s no doubt about what this thing is. Ted used it. There’s no way around it.
Ted is known for some pretty outrageous comments and his blunter than blunt delivery. He’s got energy and fire, and he doesn’t have a whole lot of time for political correctness. But the one thing he has never been is a racist or a bigot, so what happened? Why did a steadfast friend of freedom – regardless of color, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation – all of a sudden turn into an anti-Semitic jerk?
The answer is: he did NOT.
How do I know? Again, I asked him. Ted and I chatted on the phone first, texted, and then I asked him some questions via email. Apparently, that’s something every reactionary jackass who rushed to condemn him failed to do.
I simply asked, ” What happened? How did you wind up using this thing?”
“Can I say oy vey?” He replied. “I sincerely apologize for my irresponsible re-posting of such a nasty and offensive meme. In my rush between songwriting jams and musical recording frenzy, all I saw was the images of people dedicated to disarm us, I made no connection whatsoever to any religious affiliation. Everyone knows deep down that at 67 years of age I didn’t suddenly become anti-Semitic. That’s patently ridiculous, and those who rushed to such a mistaken condemning judgement should re-examine the system by which such equally irresponsible knee-jerk judgments are made.”
And you know what? Given his decades of commitment to freedom for every single person, regardless of race, color, or anything else, alarm bells should have gone off when Ted posted something so out of character. I was surprised to hear that no one, other than the Zelman Partisans (and one regional writer who put us in touch with Nugent), had made an attempt to contact him about the issue, and I asked him how he felt about supposed Second Amendment allies not bothering to contact him and clear the air.
“In a world of soulless political correctness and the dishonesty and denial that goes with it, I was not at all that surprised,” he told me. “The real tragedy is how many who claim to be on the side of freedom so viciously attacked me with zero effort to communicate with me directly as you so honorably did. For that I thank and salute you.”
I will say that as a former disc jockey for the American Forces Network, I blushed a bit at that. But you know what? That’s just good journalism, and I’m glad we got the chance to clear the air.
Ted Nugent’s real message that got lost in the outrage about the badly thought out use of that graphic? It was about Jewish people needing to defend their rights and freedoms, so that the horror of the Holocaust never happens again.
NEVER AGAIN! Plain and simple, the same powerful uniting message against freedom haters and gun banners that I have dedicated my entire adult life to in 1000s of concerts, numerous books, 1000s of articles, blogs, media interviews and constant speaking presentations. Period.
Oh, and our offer to Ted? He took us up on it. We’re sending him a Zelman Partisans membership packet, plus the yarmulke we promised, and he said he would wear the yarmulke on TV!