“When, after all, it was a Christian Arab who hated Israel” just doesn’t scan…
At the time, Sirhan Sirhan, Kennedy’s murderer, was usually called a “Jordanian” — there was minimal international awareness of the “Palestinians” as a factor in “the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Reporters mentioned that he was motivated by Kennedy’s support for Israel.
And the assassination occurred on the Six-Day War’s first anniversary. Nevertheless, the post-mortems emphasized the plague of violence in general, the availability of guns in particular, and the chaos that seemed to be threatening America. (…)
Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Christian Arab born in Jerusalem, who had immigrated with his family to the US when he was 12, said, when arrested, “I can explain it. I did it for my country.” In his notebooks, he had scribbled: “Kennedy must die by June 5th,” the Six-Day War anniversary. (…)
Sirhan’s ironically named Jewish defense attorney, Emile Zola Berman, argued diminished capacity, calling Sirhan an “immature, emotionally disturbed and mentally ill youth.” (…)
American faith in their own goodness and guiltlessness abroad led them to overlook the clear evidence that this Palestinian targeted Kennedy.
Simultaneously, a growing culture of guilt, whereby the media and intellectual culture of self-criticism degenerated into a culture of self-loathing, kicked in.
The hyper-critical discourse of the time made it easier to blame America’s flaws for the RFK assassination and to fit it into a narrative of Sixties dysfunction than to acknowledge that this history-altering crime was a foreign phenomenon imported into America by a deranged immigrant.