WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jewish congressmen involved in hearings on the Waco raid have been hit by a volley of anti-Semitism.
In a swastika-emblazoned fax sent to a handful of Jewish members of Congress, an unidentified group called for a "purification of our society."
"We must return to our homogeneous roots and weed out the mongrels and parasites," said the fax, whose targets included Reps. Eliot Engel, Charles Schumer and Jerrold Nadler, all Jewish Democrats from New York.
"Final solution: Death to the Sambos and death to the Yids," the message said.
Another fax sent to Engel featured a fuzzy image of a stout man aiming a gun.
"If you want my gun, socialist, you will have to come and get it!" it said.
The assault comes as Democratic members of Congress are taking steps that extremist groups perceive as a threat to their agenda.
In a recent floor debate, for instance, Engel spoke out against an amendment limiting pay raises for officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Anti-government groups blame the federal agents from the bureau for the fiery death of 80 Branch Davidians in the failed 1993 raid at Waco, Texas.
Nadler has introduced legislation that would outlaw private militias.
Schumer, too, has been a perennial enemy of extremist groups, holding hearings to expose them. He has also defended the agents who operated in Waco while extremist groups have attacked them.
That the flurry of hate mail comes at a time when officials are trying to root out extremist groups highlights a strain of anti-Semitism running through these groups' philosophies.
"It's no coincidence that at the time we're having Waco hearings, at the time I made a speech to denounce militias, that this would happen," Engel said.
Engel also harshly criticized the perpetrators.
"They're basically cowards," Engel said. "It's really a shame that 50 years after the Holocaust, there's still anti-Semitism like this."
The greatest brunt of the attacks has been borne by Schumer, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee that is spearheading the investigation into the raid.
Since the Waco hearings began last week, Schumer has received as many as 300 pieces of hate mail and faxes, some of them containing direct threats, according to his office.
"You will suffer much physical pain and anguish before we transform you into something a little more useful. You will eventually be a lampshade or wallets or perhaps soap," read a fax from the United Federation of Aryan Nations, evoking images of the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Responding to the attacks, Schumer told the Washington Post, "This redoubles my efforts. The lessons of history have taught us that when you ignore these kinds of people they grow, but when they are exposed they wither."