‘Inhumanity’, Not ‘Sexting’, Is Anthony Weiner’s Real Problem
The real scandal surrounding Anthony Weiner is that he is bigoted against Palestinians and used to misuse his position in Congress to support punitive policies against them. Americans appear to be bored by policy, titillated by private peccadilloes [well, OK, years later it is clear that these are a mental problem, not just peccadilloes]. But it is the policies that are important. Mahatma Gandhi was once kicked out of a brothel in South Africa. No one judges him by his lapses.
Weiner, in contrast to Gandhi, has not worked for peace but has rather given knee-jerk support to the worst policies of the most far rightwing parties in Israel toward Palestinians. A social liberal in American terms, Weiner is so blinded by his allegiance to Israel and so studied in his ignorance of the Middle East that he . . . played a uniformly sinister role in that aspect of foreign policy [when he was in Congress] . . . And no one, not Chris Matthews or anyone else, ever called on him to leave public life for this inhumanity.
1. Called for Columbia University professor Joseph Massad to be fired for being critical of Israel; Weiner thus spearheaded a new McCarthyism.
2. On the Israeli attack, in international waters, on the Mavi Marmara relief ship, Weiner sputtered: “”If you want to instigate a conflict with the Israeli navy it isn’t hard to do. They were offered alternatives. Instead they chose to sail into the teeth of an internationally recognized blockade.” The blockade of Gaza civilians is a breach of international law; it is not internationally recognized and has on the contrary been condemned by almost every nation and human rights organization.
3. Alleged that the New York Times is anti-Israel: “Amnesty International in particular, has always had bias against Israel, and frankly I would argue that in many cases, the New York Times has, as well.”
4. Alleged that the Palestine Liberation Organization is still listed by the US as a terrorist organization. It was dropped from the list over 2 decades ago.
5. Tried to bar the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations from New York.
6. Alleged that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Authority, is not the head of the PLO. He is.
7. Refused to condemn the use by Israel of cluster bombs on the civilian farms of south Lebanon in 2006.
8. Alleged that the Israeli army does not occupy the West Bank and that there is no Israeli Army presence in the West Bank.
9. Called Israel’s war on Gaza a “humane” war. 400 children were killed.
10. Voted for Iraq War authorization in 2002, before later turning against the war.
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by Juan Cole
Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. He continues to study and write about contemporary Islamic movements, whether mainstream or radical, whether Sunni and Salafi or Shi`ite. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years.