US Congressman says racism is okay – against Palestinians
By Ray Hanania/Saudi Gazette May 13, 2012
Ever since the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, American politics has been moving further and further to the right.
The migration from moderation to extremism has been slower among Democrats but it has been an avalanche among Republicans where being conservative is not enough.
Just this week, Republican US Senator Richard Lugar, the longest serving member of the Senate, was ousted by Richard Mourdock, Indiana’s little known but loudmouth state treasurer.
Mourdock made the cornerstone of his campaign the charge that Lugar was “too moderate” and “too bipartisan”.
Most sane politicians recognize the terms “moderate” and “bipartisan” as good things for America. But not to the growing Republican fanaticism that has dubbed itself the “Tea Party.”
Many Republicans have recognized this growing extremism in their party and are not waiting to be steamrolled out of office by upstarts like Mourdock and the right-wing Tea Party movement.
So they are doing everything they possibly can to get in front of the Tea Party by rejecting moderation, eschewing bipartisanship, and embracing screaming rhetoric that only a few years ago would have been renounced as outright racism.
Last week, Republican Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois announced what he termed was a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
It was more like a “Final Solution”, in the sense that it borrows the same racism that fueled the Nazi war against Europe’s Jews during World War II.
Walsh published his ideas in a column in the Washington Times, an increasingly right-wing publication that is less about journalism and more about ideology.
In his “solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Walsh rejects the “two-state solution” and argues that racism against the Palestinians by Israel is a good thing. And if the Palestinians don’t like it, they can move to Jordan, which he implies is “the real Palestinian State”.
Walsh says far more, arguing that discrimination against Christian and Muslim Palestinians by Israel is justified and should continue.
“Those Palestinians who remain behind in Israel will maintain limited voting power but will be awarded all the economic and civil rights of Israeli citizens. They will be free to raise families, start businesses and live in peace, all of which are impossible under current Arab rule,” Walsh writes.
Limited voting power? It’s like calling “civil rights” a crime.
That is a shameful position for an American congressman to take considering that after the American Civil War ended and the slavery of African Americans and other minorities was abolished, the next 75 years were spent giving blacks and women the right to vote. It was called the “Civil Rights Movement”, Congressman Walsh.
Walsh has a tough election in November. He faced no challenger in the Republican primary in March — in American politics, political parties have a primary to determine who will represent their party in the general election.
Walsh will face Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs and much of the movement in her right arm while fighting to defend America against Al-Qaeda’s terrorism. Duckworth was injured when the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was struck by enemy fire.
Though Duckworth fought in Iraq, she spoke out against the war there saying what most Americans believed but feared expressing in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attack. Why are we fighting in Iraq? What did Iraq have to do with Al-Qaeda?
But Walsh must offset Duckworth’s military valor. Like many right-wing fanatics who scream “patriotism” and “love America or leave it,” Walsh never served in the military. Former President George W. Bush never served active duty either, taking a cushy position in the Army Reserves at the height of the Vietnam War.
What is it about right-wing Republicans and their aversion to fighting in conflict and putting their lives where their mouths are?
All Walsh can do is pander to anti-Muslim sentiment and wrap himself tightly with the Israeli flag.
Believe it or not, in America, Islamophobia and pandering to American Jewish voters and subservience to the foreign interests of Israel pay off at the election polls.
And racism is the fuel that makes all that possible.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist and radio talk show host. Reach him at www.RadioChicagoland.com.
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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