Apologize Howard Dean sign now

On Wednesday, July 26, Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean labeled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as an "anti-semite" for failing to criticize Hezbollah's part in the recent violence in Israel and Lebanon.





http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060727/ap_on_re_us/iraq_dean;_ylt=AiGfPbQgT3Ry6M.b7IaA5iZp24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--








However you feel about the conflict, it should obviously seem absurd and even harmful to equate disliking Israel with anti-semitism. Are we even allowed to critique any action of the Israeli state, as should be allowed by democracy and diplomacy, without being called the enemies of the Jewish people?





It isn't fair for Israel, Jews, or any other group or person. Howard Dean has implicitly stated that all Israelis are Jews, and indeed, that Israel is the ultimate representation of the Jewish people. In fact, that's all Israel is to Mr. Dean. Rather than defending the Israel as, according to his personal view, an allied nation fighting for its existence against a terrorist threat, Mr. Dean apparently just sees a group of Jews under attack, and to hold this state at any fault is tantamount to attacking Jews everywhere. How much more explaining does it take until the sheer insanity of his view becomes clear?





By associating Israel and Jews as one and the same, Mr. Dean is only aiding those radical groups which would seek to present the same view as propaganda to support their cause, convincing their followers that Israelis and Jews are one and the same. This confused mindset has led to an increase in actual anti-semitism over the past decade, where any Jew is immediately held responsible for the action of Israel, which many Jews may not even support.





It is true Israel's government and many of its citizens define the country as a "Jewish State." But half of the world's Jewish population lives outside of Israel - should they be held accountable for Israel's actions? Can we still support the region's only fully democratic state yet still criticize those actions which displease us without being thrown in the same historical category as Inquisitors and Nazis? "Anti-Semite" is a very loaded word, and when it becomes simply one who opposes certain actions by the state of Israel, that devalues a term full of the deepest bigotry and hate.





The US Government routinely criticizes the actions of Iran, a self proclaimed Islamic state - but never does it confuse this criticism with criticizing Persians, Shiites, or Muslims everywhere. The same goes even for US allies, such as Saudi Arabia, which also holds its Islam as a very important part of its character. The dominant religious identity of a nation should hold no bearing on criticizing intrinsically secular and temporal decisions made by said nation.





Mr. Maliki may well dislike Israel, or even hold a strong bias against the state. It is perfectly well within his rights to feel this way, and without disliking the Jewish people as a whole, just as it is within Mr. Dean's rights to criticize Mr. Maliki's stance as Iraqi Primi Minister vis a vis Israel. But for Mr. Dean to simply label Mr. Maliki as an "anti-semite" is incredibly thoughtless and does far more harm to the Jewish people than good.





Mr. Dean, as a public official of some influence, should apologize for his words. Doing so will not weaken his beliefs on Mr. Maliki at all, and will only serve to make Mr. Dean a more respectable, thoughtful, less crazy sounding politician.


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Erin BallardBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Howard Dean

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