Heated political debate — and accompanying propaganda — has always been a fixture of any political system that allows debate. Civility, while held up as an ideal, doesn’t usually prevail.
The recent poster displayed by a Republican group at the West Virginia statehouse is evidence enough. The poster, which has been widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans, links Rep. Ilhan Omar to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The message is intensely nativist: That electing a religious Muslim is a betrayal of the 2,996 innocent people who lost their lives that day.
The poster is repugnant. It invokes the hateful canard that all Muslims are terrorists.
Rep. Omar has herself in recent weeks been invoking canards — that pro-Israel Jews have “dual loyalties,” a classic anti-Semitic accusation, even saying that pro-Israel Americans push “allegiance to a foreign country.” As much as we condemn Rep. Omar’s ongoing use of anti-Semitic canards, we condemn the anti-Rep. Omar poster. Having a religious Muslim in Congress — growing the diversity of our representative bodies — should be celebrated, not vilified. That does not preclude criticizing any member of Congress, irrespective of their race, religion or gender, when it comes to their public statements and policy positions.
Copyright © 2019 by the Intermountain Jewish News