Gun owners are pressuring the National Rifle Association to boot longtime board member Ted Nugent from the organization’s leadership ranks after the rock star’s social media outburst that depicted prominent American Jews as the men and women “really behind gun control.”
Nugent, an outspoken Second Amendment advocate, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this week calling Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), “Jew York City Mayor Mikey Bloomberg,” former senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, among many others, “punks” who would “deny us the basic human right to self defense and to keep and bear arms while many of them have paid hired armed security.”
The Israeli flag appears over or next to each of the 12 faces in the photo, which is the same one that has been shared many times in white supremacist circles, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The post prompted applause from anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups.
Nugent later posted a photo of Nazis rounding up Jews during the Holocaust and described gun-control advocates as “soulless sheep to slaughter.”
Nugent’s Facebook posts triggered cries of anti-Semitism and prompted gun-control activists and Second Amendment advocates alike to call for his removal from NRA’s board of directors; even several leading voices in the gun rights movement say they can no longer justify his “simple-minded” remarks.
The “Cat Scratch Fever” singer has served on the NRA board since 1995.
An NRA spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Wednesday that “individual board members do not speak for the NRA.”
Nugent’s comments have landed him in trouble in the past. He has targeted the Supreme Court, Trayvon Martin and Hillary Clinton. He once called President Obama a “sub-human mongrel” — and then apologized. (Even Nugent’s own brother said he had “clearly crossed a line.”)
But he has shown no remorse this time, even as other gun rights activists have taken to publicly criticizing him.
Amid the backlash, Nugent on Wednesday reposted his 2010 tribute to Aaron Zelman, who founded Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
“My hero, my American BloodBrother and an American Warrior legend, the great Aaron Zelman perfectly represented all free men who refuse to be controlled by others or denied our God given right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote at the time. “We stand repulsed by the ugly soullessness of unarmed helplessness.”
On Wednesday, Nugent pointed out that Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership recently criticized him for this week’s controversial comments.
“How tragic that the self inflicted scourge of political correctness can blind so many otherwise intelligent people!” he wrote on Facebook.
But Bob Owens, editor for BearingArms.com, wrote online this week that Nugent should have realized he “stepped in it” when “even-tempered pro-gun folks took issue” with his Facebook posts.
Instead, Nugent rehashed his point in another post — comparing Jewish gun-control advocates to Nazis.
“What sort of racist prejudiced POS could possibly not know that Jews for gun control are Nazis in disguise?” Nugent wrote.
Owens said many gun rights advocates are now “simply done with Nugent.”
“They’re tired of feeling that they have to defend his half-baked rhetoric and simple-minded outbursts,” Owens wrote on BearingArms.com. “Many people are calling for him to resign from the NRA Board and for him to have his membership stripped from him.
“While I think forcing him out of the NRA entirely is a bit much, I do think he owes the world a sincere apology. If he can’t find that sincerity in his heart, then he has no business being on the board of an inclusive organization such as the National Rifle Association.”
In fact, many gun owners who once supported Nugent seem to have changed their minds.
His recent Facebook posts are littered with negative comments suggesting that he may have gone too far.
One commenter called Nugent’s post “disgraceful.”
“Uncle Ted, I support (many) of your viewpoints, and have been a long term fan of your music,” the man wrote, “but this time you’ve gone way over the line.”
Another user told Nugent: “You sank low here.”
“I call total f—— b——- here,” he wrote. “I am a Jewish conservative gun owner. This is just f—— hate. I’ve always supported you, but f— you Ted.”
Debbie Schlussel, a conservative political commentator and columnist, called out Nugent for mocking Holocaust survivors.
“As a religious Jew who testified with you in the Michigan Senate for relaxing gun laws and strengthening the 2nd Amendment, I’m absolutely disgusted but not at all surprised that you are showing what I always suspected: that you are a Jew-hater and a piece of crap,” she wrote. “Ted Nugent Endorses Jews, then Announces He Hates Jews. Also, I’m sickened you invoke the slogan of Jewish Holocaust survivors, ‘Never Again’ in mockery.”
Robert Farago, publisher of the Truth About Guns, said that Nugent’s remarks “take it to the next, deeply disgusting level” and asked the NRA to act.
“Mr. Nugent should remove this post and ‘clarify’ his statement,” he wrote on his group’s website. “The NRA should distance itself from Mr. Nugent. They should revoke his membership and remove him from their Board.”
Anti-Defamation League Director Jonathan Greenblatt said Nugent’s comments were “nothing short of conspiratorial anti-Semitism.”
“Regardless of one’s views on gun control, this kind of scapegoating of an entire religious group is completely unacceptable and completely divorced from reality,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “It should go without saying that anti-Semitism has no place in the gun control debate.
“Nugent should be ashamed for promoting anti-Semitic content, and we hope that good people on both sides of the gun control debate will reject his tactics and his message.”
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, took aim at Nugent as well after being featured in the Facebook post.
“Ted Nugent’s latest comments go beyond being anti-Semitic — they are ignorant and do nothing but fuel hate,” Gross said in a statement. “Personally, I am repulsed — my brother was shot and seriously wounded in a religiously-motivated mass shooting on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Reasonable people on both sides of the debate recognize Mr. Nugent’s comments for what they are: hate speech and nothing more.”
Gross added that Nugent’s posts were “yet another clear sign of how out of touch NRA’s leadership and Board” are with the group’s members.
This story has been updated.