Combating bigotry and prejudice of any kind is not an issue that only concerns conservatives and liberals or Democrats and Republicans; it's a moral obligation for all human beings regardless of politics.
In the United States, we elect representatives to be our voices in government and we expect ethical behavior from our elected officials. Unfortunately, our leaders often become corrupted by power and doing what is right becomes secondary to what is politically beneficial.
Back in November the blog BentCorner.com revealed that Wal-Mart was selling a T-shirt that displayed the Nazi Totenkopf--the "death head" emblem, which was worn by Adolf Hitler's personal guards. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) sent a letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 21 representatives, to Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. asking the retail giant to remove the shirts immediately from store shelves.
"Everyone agreed that these shirts have to go, including Wal-Mart; it's just that they didn't do anything about it."
The congresswoman added,
"Either at the time they really weren't serious, or their capacity to do that is limited, which makes one wonder about recalls of potentially dangerous products."
Even though Wal-Mart did take immediate action, directing all stores to remove the shirts and deleting the item barcode from their computer system, about three dozen of their 3300 stores have not successfully removed all shirts.
A spokesman for Wal-Mart claimed the company was never aware of the history behind the symbol and
"never would have placed this T-shirt on our shelves had we known the origin and significance of this emblem."
Schakowsky and her colleagues were undoubtedly correct to bring this troubling matter to the attention of Wal-Mart. I hope that a lesson was learned by the retail giant to verify all symbols, pictures and words displayed on any item before placing it on their store shelves.
However, during a time in history when the President of Iran is threatening to cause a second Holocaust and hatred toward Jews is growing in epidemic proportions, why is congresswoman Schakowsky, who is Jewish and represents a large Jewish constituency, only fighting Wal-Mart? Why is it that whenever anti-Semitism shows it's ugly face amongst her political allies within the Democratic Party or Progressive movement, her voice is silent?
As a far-left Democrat, Wal-Mart is the perfect target for Schakowsky. She despises the fact that the retail chain is the largest employer in America and is non-union. Wal-Mart stores are cherished by the less affluent due to lower prices granting better buying power for the financially challenged, as well as for providing the entry-level jobs for poor communities. Progressive Democrats, such as Schakowsky, apparently do not believe in the free market and feel Wal-Mart exploits the poor with the wages and benefits they offer. Any opportunity to label Wal-Mart as anti-Semitic, or at minimum insensitive to the Jewish community, is a golden opportunity for a politician with an agenda such as hers.
Disdain for Wal-Mart is part of the Progressive movement. Unfortunately, combating the anti-Semitism of the left is not as high a priority and no one is guiltier than congressperson Schakowsky. In March 2003 fellow Democratic representative Jim Moran of Virginia used the old stereotype of Jewish control when he said,
"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this."
Moran also claimed that Jews had the power to stop the country from going to war. Later it was revealed that he was receiving political contributions from three Muslim men who were later accused of funneling money to terrorist groups such as Hamas.
Where were Schakowsky and her 21 signatures back then asking Moran to apologize for his anti-Semitic remarks as well as his resignation? Nowhere to be found.
The Illinois representative ignored blatant anti-Semitic attacks in her presence two years later when she attended a mock Judiciary Committee hearing. In plain view of a C-SPAN audience she sat behind Congressman Moran as he questioned former intelligence analyst Ray McGovern. The ex-intelligence analyst claimed that the U.S. went to war for oil, military bases and Israel. Moran thanked McGovern for his "candid answer," which also included comments claiming the war was conducted so the "U.S. and Israel could dominate that part of the world." Schakowsky just sat there and didn't raise an eyebrow. A large crowd watched the hearing at DNC Headquarters. During the broadcast, activists handed out documents that claimed an Israeli company had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. Once again her political allies unleashed anti-Jewish propaganda as she kept her head in the sand. Not until Washington Post Reporter, Dana Milbank, wrote an article exposing the event did any apology come from the DNC. Schakowsky never criticized her colleagues or personally apologized for the incident. Recently Jewish Leftists have acknowledged there is an anti-Semitic agenda among Progressives, one that has gained prominence within the anti-war movement. A conference was held in San Francisco to deal with the "New Anti-Semitism." No greater symbol for this cause is the media labeled "peace mom", Cindy Sheehan who lost her son Casey in Iraq. Sheehan has used her prominence not just to protest the war, but to show her disdain for Israel and Jews. "He (Casey) was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel," Sheehan said. "Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs, gangsters who lust after fortunes and power." Not only has Congresswoman Schakowsky been silent regarding these remarks. She is considered by many to be Sheehan's biggest advocate in congress. When former President Jimmy Carter insinuates Israel is an Apartheid state, Schakowsky is silent. When fellow Democrats, Rep. Charlie Rangel (NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (WA), Sen. Robert Byrd and her own Senator Dick Durbin (IL), downplay the horrors of the Holocaust, by comparing President Bush and U.S. troops to Nazi's, she falls off the face of the earth.
In the world of Jan Schakowsky, anti-Semitism is a matter of convenience. Wal-Mart is fair game, while her Progressive and Democrat colleagues escape notice.