Jewish Rep. Cohen Battles Antisemitism and Racism In Re-Election

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Shogun, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Shogun
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    If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait 'til you get a load of what's going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area's 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.

    "Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus," blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week.

    Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn't even in Cohen's district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to "see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election."

    Cohen's main opponent in the August 5 Democratic primary in his predominantly African-American district is Nikki Tinker, who is black. The Commercial Appeal wrote an editorial in Wednesday's paper condemning Tinker for not speaking out against the anti-Semitic literature.

    "What does Nikki Tinker think about anti-Semitic literature being circulated that might help her unseat 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary next August?" the editorial asked. "The question goes to the character of the woman who wants to represent the 9th District, and 9th District voters deserve an answer. But Tinker declined to return a phone call about the flier."

    The editorial also noted that last summer Cohen came under attack from black ministers who challenged the congressman's support for federal hate crimes legislation to protect gay rights. The paper wrote that the "real motive" behind the ministers' attacks was revealed later by Rev. Robert Poindexter who, according to the Commercial Appeal, said of Cohen: "He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

    Cohen tells the Sleuth it was "shocking" to receive the flier, "particularly coming from an African-American the week after Dr. King's birthday. This was just such an ignorant and racist and prejudiced type of flier -- it's hard to fathom we're in the 21st century," Cohen says.

    The first-term congressman hopes Barack Obama's success will trickle down. "Obama is showing us that Americans have gotten beyond race. He's gotten a good number of Caucasian votes, so I think we're making advances," says Cohen, who endorsed Obama.

    While he says he has plenty of support from the "old guard" African-American leaders in his district, Cohen is having difficultly wooing influential black colleagues from Congress to campaign on his behalf. He'll surely be looking for support from Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who is scheduled to be honored as this year's April 4th Foundation awards banquet in Memphis along with actor/singer Harry Belafonte - whose sister, Shirley Cooks, coincidentally, serves as Cohen's chief of staff.

    Cohen battled racial and religious innuendo in his 2006 campaign for Congress, but not anything as blunt as the flier he received last week. After winning, he tried unsuccessfully to become the first white member of the Congressional Black Caucus, leaving him decidedly white.

    "It's a chink in my armor," Cohen says. "I'm always going to be white. I don't have to always be Jewish -- but I am, and will be."

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/02/jewish_rep_cohen_battles_antis.html
     
  2. Shogun
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    consistency, it's whats for dinner.

    :cool:
     
  3. Shogun
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    I figured as much.

    :cool:
     

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