Wednesday, April 09, 2003

The Other Anti-Semitism: Ever since 9/11, I have seen a huge amount of anti-Arab talk from the Right. This is not simple criticism, but dances on the age of out and out bigotry. The Right has been quick to tar any criticism of Israel as anti-Semetic which is laughable. Saying that one disagrees with the policy of a government does not mean that you are tarring a whole people or their faith. But then again, the people saying this are the ones that take any criticism of American policy as being a traitor.

Last week on NPR, there was a story about a meeting of a group called Stand Up For Isarel, a group made up of fundamentalist Christians who believe that the Bible calls on them to support the modern state of Israel. Attorney General John Ashcroft spoke at the event. One speaker called the Palestinian Authority "evil" generating great applause.

There have been other examples of bashing. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, has denounced Islam as have other leaders inlcuding Jerry Fawell. Then there was the case of evagelical students protesting the fact that a university in North Carolina wanted it's students to read a book about Islam. Then there is the case that Graham and others are waiting in Jordan until they can enter Iraq with food and the Christian faith.

Then there are the neocons in the Bush administration. They have pushed Bush to disregard the Oslo accords which had brought some peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and want to see Israel reoccupy the territories and smash any hopes for Palestinain self-determination.

I have never heard anything from leading figures on the far Right that is good about Arabs or Islam. No mention of moderate leaders who are trying to bring democracy to their corner of the world. They are all a desparate lot that either need our help, or are going to blow us up.

Yes there are many "bad Arabs" out there like bin Laden. Yes the Palestinian Authority is corrupt and Yassir Arafat is not a good man. But the realist approach would see that living in a state of permanent war is not acceptable or tolerable. Arafat was the person that we have to deal with reagardless unless the Palestinians choose to remove him. The Senior Bush knew that. His administration knew that peace and stability in the Middle East came from resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict best they could. The current Bushies think they can solve this problem through brute force against recalcitrant Arabs.

I think we need to call this animosity what is: bigotry against Arabs and Islam. This is not about political correctness, but about hating people because of who they worship or their ethnicity. Just as we fought against bigotry against Jews, we need to fight against those who would paint an entire people with one wide brush.


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