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Racial tropes aren’t “loose talk”

  • March 12, 2019

On Sunday morning March 10, The Denver Post ran the editorial cartoon pictured here on the back page of the Perspective section of the newspaper. In response, ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin submitted a letter to the editor of The Denver Post. In explaining why he felt the cartoon merited a response, Levin said:

I thought this was wrong on many, many levels, from the muzzling hand of Uncle Sam – the embodiment of the American government –  being controlled by the so-called AIPCC, the “American Israel Public Censorship Committee,” to labeling Rep. Omar’s criticism of US-Israel policy as mere loose talk that is wrongly being treated by those that support Israel as anti-Semitic.


The text of the letter follows below.


Racial tropes aren’t “loose talk”

Re: Drawn to the News RJ Matson editorial cartoon, March 10

RJ Matson’s editorial cartoon portrays the U.S. government, in the form of Uncle Sam, muzzling Rep. Ilhan Omar’s criticism of U.S.-Israel policy. By putting the initials “AIPCC” on Uncle Sam’s sleeve, it claims that our government is controlled by the so-called “American Israel Public Censorship Committee.” Finally, the cartoon asserts that Rep. Omar’s comments are merely “loose talk” that is being labeled by opponents as anti-Semitism.

To be clear, criticism of Israeli policies or the U.S.-Israel relationship is not in and of itself anti-Semitic; however, when such criticism employs classic canards that have been used to demean Jews for centuries, they do merit a response.

Whatever is in Rep. Omar’s heart, she has voiced a trifecta of tropes used against Jews for centuries. When she claims “Israel has hypnotized the world,” it is “all about the Benjamins” and there should not be “an allegiance to a foreign country,” she hearkens to canards about Jewish influence that have been used to question the loyalty of Jews to our country.

While Rep. Omar has thanked Jews for educating her about “the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” after three such incidents, one cannot honestly label her words “loose talk.” Congress is to be commended for responding to Omar by adopting a resolution that clearly condemns anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.

Scott L. LevinDenver
Editor’s note: Levin is the Mountain States regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.