I am shocked and but again, should I really be? Yesterday the Illinois GOP issued a press release baselessly accusing CAIR, a respected civil rights Islamic organization, of being anti-Semitic. The Illinois GOP's open vilification of Muslims, and organizations that dare to have an independent opinion when it comes to Palestine and Israel, is frightening to say the least.
The Illinois GOP press release called on the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to expel the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) from its coalition due to "accusations of anti-Semitism". While I am all for denouncing all forms of anti-Semitism, I must remind the GOP that there are Jews too who criticize the Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. There are Jews too who lamented the massacre of Palestinian civilians during the Gaza war. As recently as Nov. 9, Joshua Stanton, blogging for On Faith, called on Muslims and Jews to unite against hatred.
To shed light on the Palestinian reality does not constitute a form of anti-Semitism. But wait, isn't this approach typical of the Bush "regime" which proclaimed that we Americans were "with them or against them." That we were not half as patriotic if we didn't nod in agreement when it came to the Iraq war. Ah ... ha. Not much has changed, I see. Same old scare tactics. Same old us versus them.
All faith groups, including many Illinois Jewish leaders, were united in criticizing the human right violations perpetrated by the Israeli army during the last Israeli war on Gaza, just as they criticized Palestinian extremists.
So I say:
Dear Republican leaders of Illinois: We, the 400,000 Muslims in IL, are not afraid. We will continue to strengthen our involvement in civic and political life. We stand united behind civil rights organizations such as CAIR-Chicago. We are offended by this ill-advised statement. So reckless is it that responsible leaders of the Republican Party in Illinois should be quick to distance themselves from it and retract the allegation.
Will they, won't they? Well, if you feel strongly, let those in power hear about it.
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