Splenetic Thoughts for Dog Days
Cynthia McKinney, Earl Hilliard and the way US politics works
by Alexander Cockburn
August 21, 2002
One less brave soul in Congress unafraid to jump the traces of
political orthodoxy. Cynthia McKinney, five-term US rep from
Georgia's Fourth District, was beaten in Tuesday's Democratic primary
by Denise Majette, also black, a former judge, put in with the help
of lots of money from American-Jewish groups and by a hefty
Republican cross-over in Georgia's open primary.
Don't you think that if Arab-American groups or African-American
groups targeted an incumbent white liberal, maybe Jewish,
congressperson, and shipped in money by the truckload to oust the
incumbent, the rafters would shake with bellows of outrage.
Yet when a torrent of money from out of state American Jewish
organizations smashed Earl Hilliard, first elected black
congressperson in Alabama since Reconstruction, you could have heard
a mouse cough. Hilliard had made the fatal error of calling for some
measure of even-handedness in the Middle East. So he was targeted by
AIPAC and the others. Down he went, defeated in the Democratic
primary by Arthur Davis, a black lawyer who obediently sang for his
supper of the topic of Israel.
Then it was McKinney's turn. A terrific liberal black congresswoman.
Like Hilliard she wasn't cowed by the Israel right-or-wrong lobby and
called for real debate on the Middle East. And she called for a real
examination of the lead-up to 9/11. So the sky fell in on her.
Torrents of American Jewish money showered her opponent, a black
woman judge called Majette. Buckets of sewage were poured over
McKinney's head in the Washington Post and the Atlanta Constitution.
Here's how it worked. McKinney saw what happened to Hilliard, and
that American Jewish money was pumping up Majette's challenge. So she
went to Arab-American groups to try to raise money to fight back.
This allowed Tom Edsall to attack her in the Washington Post as being
in receipt of money from pro-terror Muslims. Lots of nasty looking
Arab/Muslim names suddenly filled Edsall's stories.
Now just suppose someone started looking at names in the pro-Israel
groups funding Majette who by mid-August had raised twice as much
money as McKinney. Aren't they aren't supporting and helping fund
terror that has US-made F-16s machine-gunning kids in Gaza? What's
the game here? It's the reiteration of the same message delivered to
politicians down the years, as when Senator Charles Percy went down.
Put your head over the parapet on the topic of Israel and the
Palestinians and we'll blow it off.
Oh, and when furious blacks start denouncing the role of outside
Jewish money in the onslaughts on Hilliard and McKinney, what then?
First stage: imply the money from Jewish-American groups came in
reaction to money from Arab-American groups, as with this typical AP
paragraph: "Middle East politics played an unlikely role in the race.
McKinney drew campaign financing from out of state, including money
from pro-Arab groups, while Jewish groups helped fund Majette's
campaign. The race echoed the Alabama primary this year that cost
Democratic Rep. Earl Hilliard his job. Hilliard received support from
Arab groups after supporting a Palestinian state, while his young
opponent had the backing of pro-Israel groups."
Then there'll be intricate articles with intricate exit poll
calculations promoting the conclusion that the money from the Jewish
groups "wasn't a factor".
Then there'll be an avalanche of hysterical columns about the ever-
present menace of black anti-Semitism.
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