"A Florida doctor"
"A foot specialist"
These are just some of the ways that Robert Goldstein, 37, has been described by the mainstream media, from the New York Times to ABC News to CNN. He has not been called a "Jewish terrorist" or other similar terms for his plan to blow up 50 mosques and an Islamic education center in his native Florida.
Goldstein was arrested on Saturday at his home in Seminole and taken to Hillsborough County Jail. He has been charged with possessing a non-registered destructive device and attempting to use an explosive to destroy Islamic institutions.
Law enforcement officials found a list of about 50 mosques and Islamic centers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area and elsewhere in the state during a search of Goldstein’s home, as well as an 11-point plan for attacking an Islamic education center.
They also found hand grenades, a 5-gallon gasoline bomb with a timer and a wire attached, a cache of weapons,.50-caliber machine guns, and sniper rifles, among other terrorist paraphernalia which was enough, according to the police, to "deal with a small army" and to "blow up the whole 200 townhouse complex" where Goldstein lived.
Interestingly, Goldstein's religious background was not brought up by any major news organization except ABC News on its website, which mentioned, in the very last paragraph of its article that, (Detective Cal) "Dennie said he did not know if Goldstein is Jewish and other officials would not comment or did not return phone calls."
Of course, not one Jewish organization in America has condemned the actions of this person.
The benign treatment Goldstein is receiving at the hands of America's journalists and editors is unethical. Had the tables been turned and it was a Muslim perpetrator possessing this much firepower and planning to attack Christian and Jewish holy places, he would not be called "a smart guy" who had lost his marbles.
But the media isn't the only one treating Goldstein with kid gloves. Law enforcement officials are giving this case the brush off. It was, after all, Detective Cal Dennie who described Goldstein as "a smart guy" and said "he knew his stuff. It was just like a James Bond thing." Goldstein is being considered a psychiatric case, since he was placed in custody under a state law that allows involuntary commitment for psychiatric evaluation.
Had Goldstein been Muslim, he would be considered crazy, but not crazy enough to merit evaluation. Instead, he would be jailed in a maximum security facility, with secret evidence used against him or no access to attorneys. Goldstein is receiving far better treatment than the hundreds of individuals who have been arrested on small visa violations since 9/11 and deported still wearing shackles and handcuffs on 24- to 48-hour long flights back to their country of origin.
Local and federal authorities have also not informed Florida's Muslim community about what the police are doing to find possible accomplices in Goldstein's plot. In a note outlining his plans to attack the education center, Goldstein referred to accomplices, even naming one as "Mike" and offered this advice: "hand to hand is unlikely, but be prepared to liquidate (Muslims) up close."
If this was a planned attack against churches and synagogues, the police would not consider it a "James Bond thing". It would become part and parcel of the "war against terrorism". Perhaps this is why US Attorney General John Ashcroft has not made any statement condemning this incident or announced that law enforcement is looking for the other accomplice.
Could Robert Goldstein be tied to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), whose leaders were charged in December 2001 for attempting to bomb a mosque in Los Angeles and the office of Arab-American US Congressman Darrel Issa? Maybe. But given the mild treatment Goldstein and his planned terrorism are receiving by the media and law enforcement, it's unlikely either of these groups will bother trying to find out whether this is the beginning of a terror campaign against Muslims in America.
Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-060713-M-3312R-.jpg