Lisa wrote Monday about California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring issuing a verbal smackdown on those who’d used an anti-Semitic graphic to promote an anti-tax “tea party” in San Mateo last week. On Monday I’d tried to contact the organizer of the Meetup page (since then, made private and visible only to members) that had hosted the graphic; this morning, I received this reply:
Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Meetup Groups are formed by people who share interests or are simply fans of a particular person. Our Meetup Group is not officially associated with Dr. Paul, nor do we fully control the content on our pages. The “fans” drive the information on our Meetup sites without editorial oversight, and this promotes open discussions about complex issues without fear of harsh criticism.
Frankly, I am impressed to learn that Mr. Nehring is paying such close attention to meetup groups to have even found this. It shows a tremendous attention to detail which I admire. He then must have blown up this very small image quite large to have read the fine print, something I had not done. In retrospect I may have chosen a different graphic had I first scrutinized it more carefully.
With that said, no offense was intended by posting the image described in Mr. Nehring’s press release. While the image was provocative, it represents a point made by many people before: U.S. financial aid for the Israeli government which comes from U.S. taxpayers, funds the harsh handling, and sadly, the death of innocent Palestinians.
However Mr. Nehring’s putting the words “Ron Paul”, “fringe” and “anti-semitism” in his press release as his interpretation of this graphic’s message was unfortunate. It is important not to equate non-interventionism with anti-semitism.
The message of this graphic is non-interventionist. It begs each of us to ask ourself an important question, “Do I want my tax dollars spent on foreign wars?” I am not suggesting to anyone what their personal answer to that question should be; each person can decide that for himself. Honest and fair discourse should be fostered without fear of warrantless accusation.
Anti-semitism is too real, not to mention despicable, to be charged lightly, and Mr. Nehring’s reactionary charge is regrettable. It amounts to an unjustified smear of Dr. Paul and the people who support him.
One irony in this matter cannot be overlooked. A large, growing contingent of Ron Paul supporters has been elected to Republican County Central Committees throughout California. By indirectly smearing them, Mr. Nehring harms his own party.