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The Ghost of McCarthy

March 5, 2011

So much for progress or learning from history.

The McCarthy hearings on “unamerican activities” became a foil for ruining the careers and in some cases imprisoning people whom the US government (and J. Edgar Hoover) didn’t agree with- many of the suspected Communists happened to be Jewish intellectuals and leftists so it was a great way to kill two birds with one stone- the hearings played into people’s fears that there were Bolsheviks hiding behind every corner and it played into people’s deeply entrenched anti-Semitism at the time.

Americans have found a new scapegoat and all it will do is distract us from the real problems this country faces, in addition to serving as a great propaganda tool for actual Islamic extremists throughout the world.

Rep. Peter King of NY will be holding hearings this week into the radicalization of the American Muslim community- he has stated that the hearings could take up to a year, which is very convenient given that will take us right up to the 2012 election. Many in law enforcement are concerned that these hearings will alienate those in the Muslim community whom they rely on to provide information about potentially dangerous extremist elements in the Muslim community. Rep. King would like everyone to believe that 80% of Mosque’s are run by extremist Imans, but there is no data to support this.

The level of Islamaphobia in this country has reached a fever pitch, thanks to the Cordoba House controversy, which was seized upon by the likes of the hateful Pamela Geller and other right wing extremists. There is nothing irrational about being afraid of terrorists, but there is something very irrational about fearing all Muslims and assuming they are all terrorists (or terrorism supporters) until they prove otherwise.

The irony of Peter King calling these hearings is rich indeed given he is a long time supporter of the Irish Republican Army– a group most of the world considers a terrorist group until they agreed to demilitarize. I guess whether one is a terrorist depends on a) the color of their skin, b) their religion and c) whether one personally identifies with the group doing the terrorizing. I think we can all see the problem with that- one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter- just ask Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, whose parents were Irgun terrorists but whom she describes as “freedom fighters.”

From Russel Simmons over at HuffPo:

here’s a lot not to like about next week’s Congressional hearings into “Islamic Radicalization,” but one of its most appalling aspects is the naked hypocrisy of the hearing’s chairman, Republican Peter King of New York.

Until now, Rep. King has been best known for his very public support of the Irish Republican Army, which of course was internationally recognized as a terrorist organization. Despite the IRA’s long history of murder, violence and intimidation, King argued (until breaking with the group over it’s failure to support the US invasion of Iraq) that the IRA represented the “the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland.”


…To Rep. King, a Muslim seems to equal terrorist (or at least terrorist sympathizer), no matter what a person’s background, political leanings or actions.


Having witnessed first hand how conversation between Sinn Féin and the British directly led to peace, Rep King more than anyone should know that the best resolutions are always reached through honest dialogue, not demonization and divisiveness.

The deep irony is that Rep. King has begun polluting our national conversation with his hypocritical hate mongering at just the moment that the Arab world’s secular revolution has created a unique opportunity for strengthened cultural ties. Maybe that’s not a coincidence. Politicians like Rep. King make a living playing on people’s fears and misconceptions. It makes their job easier when we view all Muslims as terrorists out for blood, instead of possible partners in a shared future.

Those wacky NY Congressmen!

It’s interesting that the only form of violent extremism Rep. King is concerned with is Muslim in nature- I guess bombing abortion clinics, murdering women’s health providers and violence directed at the federal government doesn’t count? Interesting, that.

Of course, none of this helps Obama and Secretary Clinton reach out to the Muslim world at a critical time. The Arab world is changing- in a very positive way- and what does the GOP do? Focus on the negative and provide a great propaganda opportunity for people like Al Qaeda and Hamas. It could hurt our already damaged reputation in the Muslim world. And then of course, there is the simple fact that such intolerance and overgeneralizing about an entire group of people is just un-American.

I think we can weed out potentially violent extremists in our midst without putting an entire religion on trial.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Bromo permalink
    March 5, 2011 11:58 am

    Excellent commentary. You’re talents are wasted here.

  2. Thain permalink
    March 5, 2011 12:46 pm

    All the GOP has to offer is fear and hate- fear of women’s rights, fear of gays, fear of Muslims. It’s all a distraction from their enabling of corporate America and the selling out of the American worker. If you keep people afraid then they are easier to control.

    This will only hurt the US in the long run. We need the Muslim community to help fight extremism but we are throwing them all under the bus. I love how the people who wrap themselves in the flag are the very ones to destroy everything this country stands for while playing right into the hands of real terrorists.

  3. AmericanPatriot permalink
    March 5, 2011 2:15 pm

    Staceyx should be dragged before the committee for pushing Islamic propaganda.

    This country faces a threat and all this political correctness that says we can’t talk about Islam in a negative way is going to make us less safe. I applaud Rep. King for doing what we should have done a long time ago. Muslims should be afraid but only if they have something to hide.

    • Thain permalink
      March 5, 2011 4:14 pm

      Hey, don’t you have a ‘Stop the Islamization of America” rally to go to or something rather than being here? Go back to haunting Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugs where you can spew your nonsense.

      No one is saying we can’t talk about any negative aspects of Islam. In fact, just turn on Fox News and that’s pretty much all you’ll see, at least in between bashing unions, the Democrats and raising Sarah Palin up on a pedestal. No one denies that some practitioners of Islam are violent radicals. But to generalize to all Muslims, which is what many people are doing, is just pathetic. It isn’t right when Jews are the target, or when gays are the target or any other group so it’s not right to scapegoat Muslims.

      I bet it’s lost on you that you just prove the point stacy was making in her post.

    • March 5, 2011 5:08 pm

      Staceyx should be dragged before the committee for pushing Islamic propaganda.

      I think you overestimate my importance.

      This will not make us safer- if anything, it could hurt efforts by law enforcement to reach out to the Muslim community for information on extremism and reinforce the view of some in the Arab world that the U.S. is intolerant and is at war with Islam.

      Peter King is taking part in political grandstanding.

      For those who aren’t aware, Peter King wrote two fictional novels (Vale of Tears and Deliver Us From Evil) with the books hero loosely based on himself, where he thwarts the efforts of Muslims to essentially take over America. Here’s Amazon’s description of the book:

      In King’s fictional two track style of creating a fictional future and flashing back to actual events in history, he places Congressman Sean Cross at the center of international terrorism, this time coming from the radical Islam in cahoots with the Irish Republican Army.

      It’s like he’s trying to live out this fantasy of himself. The guy has entered into tin foil hat territory.

      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        March 5, 2011 7:35 pm

        Ok, I used to think he was just entertaining in a Homer Simpson kind of way, but this is pretty out there. He writes himself as the hero in his books and saves the world from muslims? That sets off the Weirdo Alert.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      March 5, 2011 6:16 pm

      I, for one, would love to see stacy take on Rep. King! But AP, you must have skipped over stacy’s observation that what’s truly un-American is the kind of bigotry you spout, condemning an entire group of people because of their chosen faith. Have you no sense of decency, sir?

  4. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    March 5, 2011 3:05 pm

    So is he planning to inntorgate every muslim in the US? What about those who don’t believe “muslim” = evil? Should we begin preparing our defense against the charge of not hating people simply for what they are? Honestly, what’s more unAmerican than a belief in equality?

  5. Tovah permalink
    March 5, 2011 4:17 pm

    Has the ADL spoken out against this? I tried to google that and nothing came back. I also searched the ADL website and found nothing. This seems like the sort of thing a group that purports to deal with defamation and prejudice, should denounce. But here’s the rub- King is an ardent member of the pro-Israel lobby so Abe Foxman generally shies away from denouncing anyone who isn’t critical of Israel. I used to really think the ADL did good work until I realized Foxman had taken it in a totally different direction- it’s now just an organization that defends Israel at all costs and defines anti-Semitism so broadly (ie. anyone who criticizes Israel) that it has no meaning.

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  1. Homegrown terror and the return of McCarthyism « Sky Dancing

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