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The Problems With Peter King’s Hearing

And why the ADL objects to it, too

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Rep. Peter King at his hearing today.(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

There are two problems with Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearing into “Muslim American radicalization” (and no, neither is that King is a supporter of and apologist for the Irish Republican Army—hypocrisy is heinous, but it is not proof of wrongness).

The moral argument was nicely made by the Anti-Defamation League, which decided that this week it would indeed live up to its nearly century-old mission, “to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” “We strongly urge you and other Members of Congress to explore this serious issue without creating an atmosphere of blame and suspicion of the American Muslim community,” Abraham Foxman and the ADL’s chief counsel wrote King and other members of the Homeland Security Committee. “Congressional efforts to explore legitimate security concerns should not be overwhelmed by the kind of unfair stereotyping and prejudice that has too-frequently accompanied recent public debates. Singling out the Muslim American community for special scrutiny or suspicion would be discriminatory, offensive, ineffective and counterproductive.” (The Reform movement, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and J Street have also expressed reservations about the hearing.)

Then, the practical argument. “King risks helping to promote precisely the narrative Osama bin Laden and his sympathizers try to promote, namely dividing the world between Muslims and non-Muslims,” said a former top Pentagon counterterrorism expert. A number of folks, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have expressed concern that the panel could deter American Muslims from cooperating with law enforcement—a far more important counterterrorism tool than, y’know, a Congressional panel could ever be.

Anyway, your required reading today is Tablet Magazine columnist Michelle Goldberg’s review of King’s supremely self-aggrandizing novel, Vale of Tears. It is a romp (the review, not, apparently, the novel).

King Defends Domestic Terrorism Hearing [NYT]
ADL Letter to House Committee on Homeland Security [ADL]
Peter King, IRA Supporter and Enthusiastic Counter-Terrorism Advocate [WP]
Jewish Groups Criticize Hearing on Muslims [JTA]
King’s Muslim Probe Needs ‘Semantic’ Adjustment to Avoid Maligning Islam [Bloomberg]
Related: The ‘Hero’ of the War on Terror [The Nation]
Islamophobia or Reality? [Tablet Magazine]

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Incisive and concise first point: we née to oppose the hearing on it’s (lack of) merit, not king’ s hypocrisy

Deborah Harris says:

I can’t understand where the Jewish voices are to oppose these hearings? Is everyone under a rock? If you are not a radicalized Muslim these hearings might just make you one.

Yisrael says:

Since J Street is allegedly an Israel-related lobby, can somebody explain to me how in the hell this relates to their mandate. Again, Marc, rather than highlighting their frequent press releases — about half of which now have nothing to do with Israel — maybe you should consider using your “journalist” skills to write a piece on J Street’s ever more frequent forays into issues of no concern to the Jewish state. Is it a sign of their hobbled nature on Capitol Hill? Are the fundraisers now running the show and urging more red meat like this to their uberliberal base? Is this what the pro-Israel Jewish community in this country wants from their representatives to Capitol Hill?

Yisrael says:

“Law enforcement as a counterterroism tool”? Ha!

So if American Muslims refuse to cooperate in a law enforcement matter concerning a (presumably Islamist if they’re cooperation is requested) terrorist threat to this country, our chief law enforcment officer thinks the blame for that lies at the feet of a Congressional hearing, and not at the feet of the uncooperative ethnic group? Wow.

Asher says:

Who blew up the Twin Towers? Who stormed the Indian Parliament? Who committed the heinous Mumbai massacre? Who tried to blow up Times Square? Why does my shul need to have security guards; don’t remember that growing up. Oh yes, I forgot, Islam is a religion of peace, how silly of me. Maybe if we all sing kumbaya, the Muslim world will love us.

Garry says:

Time for Muslims to contribute to the ADL. Wonder if Muslims ever side with Jews on issues of concern to the Jewish community. For that matter, does any community ever side with Jews? In fact, Jews don’t even side with their own community(J Street & Co.) Oh well, Jewish organizations act as they always have. Self destructive liberalism remains their beacon.

rebscott says:

Yesterday, Sheriff Leroy Baca of Los Angeles made his points eloquently and forcefully about the high level of cooperation within the Muslim community with law enforcement. I have done a fair amount of research and I am hard-pressed to find more than a handful of examples of non-cooperation. I’ve read, in several places, how many of the recent (genuine) terrorist threats have been thwarted due to tips from the Muslim community.

It is instructive to note that Rep. King did not call Sheriff Baca, staff from the FBI or other law enforcement officials who could give more expert testimony about this matter. They could, I’m sure, much more effectively do their job in an atmosphere where individual Muslims don’t fear contact with law enforcement.

On the other side of this question, i.e. “where the Jewish voices are”, please note that virtually across the spectrum, Jewish organizations such as the ADL and the Union for Reform Judaism, have spoken loudly and frequently about the pitfalls of these hearings. Frankly, this is the second side of the same coin as the rap against moderate Muslims i.e. that they don’t speak out. There are scores of examples of moderate Muslims doing so but when they (or Jewish organizations speaking out against these hearings) don’t get publicity or are willfully ignored when they do, we create a silence where, in fact, there is none.

JCarpenter says:

In agreement with rebscott—what is just a bit disconcerting about the hearings is that there doesn’t seem to be a line-up of expert testimony or opinion, research, etc, but a lot of anecdotal statements, perceptions, and stories.
I’m miffed, therefore, that I wasn’t called to give a statement to the committee: I work at a suburban community college in the Chicago area; I am a degreed tutor working with many Palestinian and Jordanian students, most of them Muslim; many of my fellow non-degreed tutors and co-workers are Muslim; I find them to be gentle, respectful, peace-loving people, grateful to be in a more-or-less tolerant America, away from repressive states and societies in the Middle East and North Africa. Many are second-generation immigrants.
Purely subjective and anecdotal—and most likely not helpful or relavent to a real purpose, which the Senate Committee hasn’t convinced me of either.

Bill Levy says:

Aren’t Jews tired of having the moral argument even if it means the destruction of the Jewish people? Jews should have disappeared thousands of years ago with the Romans, the Philistines, the Etruscans and other groups that are long gone. Only we linger on. Arnold Toynbee once called Jews a dinoseur religion. Do you know any dinoseurs? Long gone. The ADL is a relic that does nothing to protect Jews from its enemies. Instead they ask everyone to be nice such as the school in FL whose students held a “Kick a Jew Day” and the ADL suggested some courses on the Holocaust. Aren’t you ever tired of being a victim? I would have sued the school district, fired the principal, made the students and their parents apologize and threaten them with strong measures other than a course on Shoa.

Jews are the weakest most self-hating group in America. Mark Zuckerberg just donated 100 mil to black children in Linden, NJ but not one penny for Israel or Jews. Jews don’t have much of a future it seems to me.

Bill Levy

PS I lived in Israel for 12 years with my family, fought in the Yom Kippur War and am a very strong Jew. I don’t believe in sharing. I believe in keeping what is mine and what I worked for.

Dan Klein says:

@Bill: Tired of moral arguments? Never! And to be fair, the only person here who seems to hate American Jews is you.

George King says:

My ancestors came to America to miss a nazi party. They changed their name from keyser to King and changed religions and hid it in NY State for years. My sister and are embracing our Jewish heritage and I am in Temple almost every week. Peter King does not speak for this NYer, or this King. How can we seek peace for Israel with a politician with such a wicked agenda. Or peace in America at that!!!

Alter says:

The moral outrage expressed against the idiot King, is what will assure the existence of Israel. not the hatred towards other human beings. Dont get me wrong–whoever killed the settlers family while they slept should be killed, be he Palestinian or Jew.

Dorothy Wachsstock says:

J street represents a bunch of stupid Jews that have no idea of the Holocaust or lived under anti-semitism.They have been living too easy a life and either too rich or in non-profit org. that gives them large salaries.

They have no relationship with real Jews that work for a living and remember WWII and the Holocaust.

As for Abe Foxman, his organization is worthless as they defend Palestinians and other ethnics. Bet you were fooled and thought the ADL was only against discrimination against Jews. Nope. They defend more other ethnics and use the donations for special programs for minoritys. I found that out by calling Foxman one day and it was an accident they told me that there is just an office now that defends Jewish issues.

I am disappointed so much that I think the Digest tablet is one of those that belong to J street.

You fool us with some interesting articles but behind that is the stupid column that condemns Cong. Peter King instead of congratulating him.

All Muslims are not terrorists but you may have not lived in NY on 9/11 and do not know that reporters went to the Mosque in Westbury and instead of being upset what was done, the Imman refused to speak to the reporter. I heard all of this as I watched the television and listened to the radio at the same time in horror.

Ch.5 showed the Palestinians in New Jersey dancing in the streets and handing out candy. Go back into their archives and find those pictures. I do not know if Bill Mazer is still alive but am sure he was one of those on channel 5 that was reporting on this horror.

If you continue to write pro-Hate America..we might as well buy the Forward which we do not since it is more anti-Jewish as your magazine has turned out to be in between your interesting articles.

Not worth reading them if you are against the truth of who is teaching young Mulims to kill us. What are you all afraid of? The truth?

Most of Marc Tracy columns are against republicans and this country. Send him to Japan.


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The Problems With Peter King’s Hearing

And why the ADL objects to it, too

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