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On Marco Rubio “Standing Up” To Trump’s Islamophobia

Guest post by AJ

It’s cringe worthy to see Senator Rubio tackle Trump’s Islamophobia by mentioning the crescents in the Arlington Cemetery and thus trying to appear ‘Presidential’. Rubio’s record shows he has no genuine concern about Islamophobia. Take for example when he lambasted President Obama for his speech at a Baltimore mosque or the fact that Rubio’s largely Zionist neocon donors wouldn’t want Rubio to behave in any other way. These examples highlight that Rubio is neither Presidential or better than Trump. His criticisms of Trump fall off the mark as they just reinforce the reality that he is a politician who will say anything to the win the race.

via. Vox

At CNN’s Republican debate on Thursday, Marco Rubio appeared to do something very unusual for the GOP stage: He tried to take a stand against Islamophobia, particularly against Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.

Only Rubio did it in the worst possible way.

Rubio said, commenting on Trump’s comments that “a lot of” Muslims hate America:

I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says, because he says what people wish they could say. The problem is presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences — here and around the world.

And so let me give you one: Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who are on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It’s a very tough place to be a missionary. It’s Muslim. And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live alongside them — that may not convert but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America leading political figures are saying that America doesn’t like Muslims.

So this is a real impact. There is no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world.

I can also tell you that if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re gonna see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world, you’re going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims. And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America — no matter what their religious background may be.

Rubio’s answer isn’t that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because we should respect other people and their beliefs. It’s that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because it’s tactically advantageous to be polite, because we need Muslim allies in the Middle East, Muslims might convert to Christianity, and Muslim Americans could maybe join the military.

This is pretty weak. The problem with Islamophobia is, fundamentally, that it’s bigotry. While being nice to Muslims does happen to be tactically advantageous (as Hillary Clinton has also said), it shouldn’t be the primary reason for rejecting bigotry.

Not only that, but Rubio actually suggested that we should respect Muslims because they might stop being Muslims — by converting to Christianity…

Read the rest here.

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  • JD

    Let not be PC as the republican rightwing says. The truth is Muslim have to
    pick the lesser evil of 2 political party … ( republicans and
    Democrats) which are both the same. If you think the Democrats will protect you remember after
    9/11 that little program the DHS came up with to register Muslims.
    1 will tell you they hate you to your face and or like Marco a long over drawn speech about military America Church message is They hate us.

    1 does the same but behind closed doors but will kiss your ass to get elected and are ready to give up there beliefs if things get bad..

  • AJ

    I think the article sent him pretty bad vibes 🙂 Rubio has dropped out of the Presidential race after losing the primary in his home state. Yay!

  • Just_Stopping_By

    AJ,

    I actually agree with many of your statements and I have spoken out against various Israeli and Palestinian policies. But, for many, various other nations and groups in control of territory also need to learn how to behave. I have no problem with the idea of criticizing Israeli or other countries’ or groups’ policies and encourage everyone to continue to do so, but also to accept that policies they like may also be criticized.

    If you want to know my pet peeve, it’s people (and I’m not referring to you or anyone specifically) who apparently can only criticize but won’t help build. I have specifically sought out both Israeli and Palestinian products to support both economies (though not products from Israeli settlements in the areas assigned to Palestine in 1947 that were taken over by Israel in 1967) and I have supported charities working in Israel and Palestine. I’m not a fan of boycotts, but I find little sympathy for those who would only boycott but not also help support those they say they are fighting for.

  • Alyeth

    I came here to type 1st…

  • AJ

    JSB,
    Thank you. Existence of Israel or Israel being a country of the Jews doesn’t bother me. I support the existence of two nations. I am the one who would want Pakistan to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and accept its existence. However, what does bother me is when Israel keeps on building illegal settlements on occupied territory. What bothers me is that Israel wishes to gulp down Golan Heights and wishes that Obama/US accept Golan Heights as part of Israel since Syria is in no state to govern it. What bothers me is the fact the Israelis keep on electing politicians like BIBI Netanyahu and not the nice leftists ones. What bothers me is that Israel doesn’t have any intention to return the land it usurped in the 1967 war. What bothers me is that Israel wants to move the Druze to the land it snatched from the Palestinians. What bothers me are the calls BIBI gives to the Jews of the world to move to Israel. The implications: to steal more land from their neighbors and to settle more people coming in. In the end, what bothers me are snakes like the US Senator Marco Rubio who would petition the US Congress to cut off all aid to the Palestinians since they requested ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes for killing thousands. Israel is a wedge until it learns how to behave.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    It’s censorship. What good does it do that I can down-vote a comment if nobody, not even myself, gets to see it.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Hm. The number of people who convert from Islam to Christianity is, and has always been, quite small compared to the other way round.

  • sasboy

    Vote Democratic. That is the best way to punish the Republicans for their bigotry.

    A number of the Democratic policies are deeply flawed and in some cases downright destructive but to give credit where it is due, the Democrats are NOT sectarian and do not use provocative language the way Republicans do.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “HP is more or less equating anti-zionism with antisemitism by foreclosing the notion they can be separate.”
    I don’t know the HP piece(s) in particular you are referring to, but I would disagree with equating the two concepts.

    “I find it bizarre when any Muslim isn’t anti-Zionist.”
    Perhaps they just a have a more nuanced, and I would argue correct, view of the concept than you do. 🙂

    “That most certainly does NOT mean I hate Jews or thinks antisemitism is okay.”
    That should go without saying. And, this should also not need to be said, but I certainly don’t think you hate Jews or thinks [sic!] antisemitism is okay.

  • HSkol

    I cannot remember the last time I thought I had a genuine choice in voting. My typical route is to vote by conscience, which all too often has excluded D and R. People call my votes “throw-away votes” – but, my conscience is clean – and, my one little vote amounts to absolutely nothing in the sea of the soccer hooligans’ votes anyhow.

  • mindy1

    I am sooo not looking forward to this election Dx

  • Some good points, but as for the last part, I’m not seeing a parallel.

    HP is more or less equating anti-zionism with antisemitism by foreclosing the notion they can be separate.

    Are we doing that to you? You fight antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry and identify as a Zionist. Regulars here know that. Yet they don’t say you are necessarily an anti-Muslim bigot because you aren’t allowed to untether anti-zionism from fighting anti-Muslim bigotry. You are allowed that nuance.

    I asked how being support for Israel can lead to support for Muslims. I didn’t say it wasn’t true. I do think support for Israel can also lead to being anti-Muslim and often does–just as support for Palestine can (and sometimes does) lead to antisemitism. These are undeniable intersections. The question is who is willing to make space for nuance and who isn’t?

    Also I think if you look back at apartheid South Africa, you could expect blacks to be united against the South African regime and white opinion to be mixed. But would you really expect black people to stand in solidarity with apartheid? I find it bizarre when any Muslim isn’t anti-Zionist. They have the right, but seems really weird since the whole idea behind it is land theft and dispossession of the Palestinian people. After Gaza 2014, any sympathy I ever had for Zionism evaporated, never to return.

    That most certainly does NOT mean I hate Jews or thinks antisemitism is okay.

  • Mehdi

    And succeeding 🙂

  • AJ

    Thanks. Just trying 🙂

  • AJ

    Thank you.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “How can support For Israel lead to support for Muslims?”

    Easily and frequently. I won’t suggest that that is a universal rule, but if you go past the very loud Islamophobes, I think it’s a majority position among American supporters of Israel for a number of reasons, including:

    1. Israel has a large (~20%) Muslim minority and supporters of Israel want to see Israel do good and do well by supporting and better integrating that minority. In fact, there were so many groups working on issues involving the Arab minority that they felt they had to coordinate better: http://www.iataskforce.org/ (Full disclosure: I do contribute to at least one of those, but I’m not making any recommendations.)

    2. In what is certainly frequently a paternalistic view, there is a lot of pride in how well individual Muslims do in Israel, whether being Head of Emergency Services at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, winning various reality show competitions, serving as ambassador, government minister, etc. There are obviously issues with promoting the successes of some individuals over differences in groups, but the storyline is very pro-Muslim when you read write-ups of these individuals in pro-Israel news sources.

    3. Israel has not really had an anti-Muslim foreign policy as opposed to what may often be a foreign policy directed specifically at conflicts with its neighbors. It always
    tried cultivating relations with the Muslim “periphery” relative to
    Israel geographically, such as Turkey, Iran (think under the Shah),
    Egypt, and lots of Muslim-majority states in Africa. You can say that
    Israel has had conflicts with a lot of Muslim-majority countries, but
    due to its mix of relations with Muslim-majority countries, there was
    some balance that had not historically (pre-9/11) led to the type of Judeophobia found in some Muslim countries.

    I understand if people see countervailing forces as well, and I think those grew post-9/11. But, if someone doesn’t see how mainstream pro-Israel groups and individuals are often explicitly pro-Muslim because they are pro-Israel, then they’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to work with groups and individuals that would often be thrilled to work against Islamophobia.

    And if people still don’t believe that being pro-Israel can make one pro-Muslim, I’d say that I personally am pro-Hindu, pro-Buddhist, etc. in a generic and generally uninvolved way in the sense of just wanting everyone to do well, but being pro-Israel has made me more actively pro-Muslim.

  • HSkol

    Great to see you!

    Dang. When I first got on Disqus, I could see down vote counts – and I think user names too. I personally thought that was great fun. Oh, well …

  • Just_Stopping_By

    I haven’t seen the HP articles (or maybe I just don’t remember them).

    To be complete on the other side, LW retweeted this, https://twitter.com/DillyHussain88/status/662438671728136192, which I feel tries to deny me an interpretation in which I, along with various organizations, volunteers, and donors, can support Israel and Muslims. I don’t even see my view as a nuance, but rather one that is a completely harmonious pairing of complementary views. Others may disagree, but the sentiment in the tweet would probably exclude many, if not the majority of, American Jews, for whom support for Israel leads to support for Muslims.

  • HSkol

    Degrees in the Apparency of Bigotry – quite a potentially interesting topic with so much room for intricate little avenues of thought and fight. Hmm. I’ll be certain to ponder this. As a Middle Northerner, I witness more “hidden” bigotry than others, perhaps; so, I may be more sensitive to seeing it … maybe. Yet, again, hmm.

    [How can you see down votes? I haven’t been able to for a couple years. Do we all have rights to view down votes?]

    🙂

  • HSkol

    AJ, thumbs up.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Anti-Zionism is a wedge. Despite that, Jews and Muslims, have every reason, in my view, to be closely aligned against the “mirror image” bigotry both face.

  • Mehdi

    Thanks for posting this AJ, good stuff

  • Just_Stopping_By

    AJ:

    A very nice and thought-provoking piece. Congratulations!!!

    “It’s cringe worthy to see Senator Rubio tackle Trump’s Islamophobia by
    mentioning the crescents in the Arlington Cemetery and thus trying to
    appear ‘Presidential’.”

    Yes! Rubio’s comments do come across (at least to me) as more for show than heartfelt.

    In contrast, I like comments by Lesley Hazelton (sometimes featured here on LW), where you can practically feel the empathy, such as this piece, well worth reading in full (but I excerpt a part I like below):

    We have to be able to see that the anti-Semitic trope of “the Jews”
    trying to take over the world is exactly the same as the Islamophobic
    one of “the Muslims” trying to take over the world.

    We have to acknowledge that an Islamophobic Jew is thinking exactly
    like an anti-Semite. And that an anti-Semitic Muslim is thinking
    exactly like an Islamophobe.

    We have to realize that American Jews need to stand up with Muslims
    against Islamophobia just as American Muslims need to stand up with
    Jews against anti-Semitism.

    Because Islamophobia is, in essence, another form of anti-Semitism,
    and vice versa. And it’s in the direct interest of both Jews and
    Muslims — of all of us — to stand up and confront both forms of
    prejudice.

  • AJ

    I find Rubio to be quite a few notches more dubious and bigoted than Trump even though Trump is saying all the bad things.

  • Reynardine

    The truth is, pills though they are, one might hope that Rubio and Kasich do well in their home states tomorrow. If they don’t, we’re looking at Trump (and yes, Cruz would be even more gruesome).

    I have been aware of elections, their conduct, and their consequences, since I was twelve… six decades back. I have never seen anyone behave like Trump.

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